In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges Gowher Rizvi, the International Affairs advisor to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, on the state of the country’s democracy and whether it is heading towards authoritarianism.
Once one of the poorest countries in the region, Bangladesh’s economy has been booming over the last decade, with economic growth faster than its neighbours, India and Pakistan. It also boasts lower infant mortality and longer life expectancy than its peers.
However, human rights groups warn that the country is becoming increasingly autocratic, accusing the government of clamping down on any form of dissent and hounding and locking up its political rivals.
In recent elections Bangladesh’s ruling party, the Awami League, reasserted its power following a landslide general election victory. The opposition rejected the results, amid violence which saw 17 killed and allegations of vote-rigging and intimidation.
Our guest on Head to Head is Gowher Rizvi, close ally of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and advisor on international affairs. Mr Rizvi is also a renowned historian and former Oxford University scholar.