In an interview with World Politics Review, Ali Riaz comments on the political context surrounding Bangladesh’s brutal anti-drug campaign. In the July 23 article titled  “Is Bangladesh’s Anti-Drug Crackdown a Message to the Political Opposition?” Riaz argues that while the drug problem has reached the level of a “national crisis,” the government’s actions are politically motivated rather than aimed at solving the crisis by making treatment more readily available.

He notes that “the use of force to display its zero-tolerance resolve ahead of upcoming elections is also intended to send a clear message to the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, in part by normalizing extrajudicial killings. In the past few years, coercion has become the principal mode of governance, and extrajudicial killings have become very common.”