Four people sitting down on chairs during a book launch.
Dr. Ali Riaz’s book launch.

Distinguished Professor Dr. Ali Riaz’s new book, More Than Meets the Eye was launched in Dhaka, Bangladesh on July 23. The book is published by University Press Limited (UPL). The book comprises nine essays on Bangladeshi politics. These essays document the pathway of the past decades and contextualize them within the broad trends since the independence of the country 50 years ago. The book argues that Bangladeshi politics has undergone a dramatic shift in the past decade and witnessed a serious decline in democracy. Various aspects of the book were discussed at the event by Professor Saeed Ferdous of Jahangirnagar University; editor and writer Nurul Kabir; and Professor Asif M. Shahan of the University of Dhaka, who is the managing director of UPL, while Mahrukh Mohiuddin moderated the discussion.

Riaz argued in his book that in the past decade a new ‘political settlement,’ that is an unwritten understanding, has emerged between the coercive apparatuses of the state and the bureaucracy, which has marginalized the politicians. This new settlement has undermined democracy and is pushing the country towards an authoritarian system. Speaking at the launching ceremony, Riaz underscored that this new political settlement has emerged since 2014; two controversial elections in 2014 and 2018 bear the mark of this arrangement.