Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) - Resignation of some Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and talks about apologies for the party’s 1971 role are part of its plot to tackle local and international pressures, Information Minister Hasan Mahmud said Wednesday.
“Even if it apologises, the party can’t get impunity for opposing the Liberation War, committing genocide, arson and torture,” he told a programme at Begum Sufia Kamal Auditorium of the National Museum.
When Jamaat Assistant Secretary General Barrister Abdur Razzaq quit the party on February 15, he cited two reasons – the party’s failure to apologise for its role in 1971 and reform the organisation based on reality.
Another local leader of Jamaat resigned citing a similar reason.
Jamaat openly sided with Pakistani occupation forces and tried to thwart Bangalees’ struggle for freedom. Most of those found guilty of war crimes are from Jamaat, the largest Islamist party in Bangladesh.
The demand for an apology from the party has been growing. On Wednesday, BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan said Jamaat “should be ashamed of its anti-Liberation War role or should apologise for it.”
BNP, founded by Ziaur Rahman, has been a close ally of the Islamist party.
Minister Mahmud said the BNP does not deserve impunity since it joined hands with Jamaat.
“BNP should also apologise for sheltering Jamaat, forming an alliance with it and making the party part of the government,” he said.
Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) – Two BNP senior leaders -- Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Moudud Ahmed -- came under fire by the party rank and file at a discussion programme here on Wednesday for lack of action programmes to free its chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail.
They also voiced frustration over the thin presence of party leaders and activists at the programme.
BNP arranged the discussion programme at the Institution of Engineers’, Bangladesh, marking the Shaheed Day and International Mother Language Day.
As BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed was addressing the programme, a party junior leader stoop up saying, “Please talk about Khaleda Zia’s release”.
“Tell us when and how she’ll be freed. Why’s the hall room unfilled here?” the BNP leader said amid the slogans of party men.
At one stage, Moudud said, “We’ll surely come up with programme, but you’ll have to have patience.”
The BNP leader also said the movement is the only way to free Khaleda from jail. “Khaleda Zia won’t be freed through a legal battle. Her release will be our only agenda.”
At the last stage of the discussion, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam came to speak at the programme.
At one stage, party activists started shouting demanding action programmes to have Khaleda freed from jail.
In reply, Fakhrul said the programmes cannot be announced whimsically. “You’ll have to observe the programmes if we announce those.”
Dissatisfied with his reply, the party activist again started shouting saying either announce programmes or dissolve the party committee.
To pacify the aggrieved party men, Fakhrul urged them not to shout in the hall room and sit down.
As the situation turned normal, the BNP secretary general said, “I can realise your pain and anger. But you must keep it in mind that it’s not easy to succeed in a struggle of democratic forces against fascism. Why’re you thinking you’ve failed? You’ve neither failed nor defeated.”
He said BNP leaders and activists became successful in the December-30 polls as it has now exposed to people and the global community that Awami League is a fascist force though it talks about democracy.
Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) – Terming Awami League a fascist force, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday urged their party leaders and activists to get ready for making huge sacrifices imbued with the spirit of Amar Ekushey to face it.
“The December-30 election has demonstrated that Awami League is a fascist force, not a democratic one. We must strengthen our party to face such a fascist force. We’ll have to move forward upholding the spirit of the Amar Ekushey with a sacrificing mentality,” he said.
Speaking at discussion, the BNP leader further said, “Our leader (Khaleda) repeatedly asked us to carry out a movement organising people instead of getting upset. We must keep it in mind that we’ll have to make huge sacrifices to make our struggle a success. We’ll have to get ready for making such sacrifices.”
BNP arranged the programme at the Institution of Engineers’, Bangladesh marking the Shaheed Day and International Mother Language Day.
The nation is set to pay rich tributes to the martyrs of the 1952 historic Language Movement with the clock striking 00.01am on Thursday, marking 'Amar Ekushey’
Fakhrul claimed that a global sentiment is being created against the current ‘autocratic’ government formed through the 11th parliamentary election. “We must put up a strong resistance against it.”
He called upon his party colleagues not to be disappointed thinking that they have got defeated. “We’ll surely launch a struggle by organising all and move forward. We must come out successful.”
The BNP secretary general demanded the government ensure proper treatment for their chairperson Khaleda Zia after releasing her from jail.
He also urged the government to free several thousand arrested BNP leaders and activists from jail withdrawing false cases filed against them.
“We’ll wage a movement to free our leader and force the government hold a fresh election annulling the results of the parliamentary polls under a natural government and new Election Commission,” he said.
Fakhrul said Khaleda Zia could not appear before the court today (Wednesday) due to her serious illness.
He alleged that Khaleda has been deprived of proper treatment over the last one year in jail. “She has been kept in solitary confinement inside the jail which is against the human rights. We would like to clearly say they (govt) must face trial for violating the human rights and keeping Khaleda Zia in solitary confinement.”
BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said the current government has destroyed the spirit of the Amar Ekushey by destroying democracy. “They don’t want the existence of opposition party in the country.”
He alleged that the government has set an example of political ‘criminalisation’ through forming a government with vote frauds. “They’re ruling the country stealing people’s votes.”
Moudud said their party’s huge popularity among people is not enough to get rid of the current situation in the country. “It was proved through the national election that popularity is useless without a strong organisation. So, we must strengthen the party through a overhauling.”
He said their party should be reorganised by bringing the young leaders to the frontline and evaluating those who made immense sacrifices and subjected to repressive acts over the last 10 years. “Our party will be capable of facing any situation if we can strengthen our organisation properly.”
The BNP leader also said their party will have to work out well-planned programmes to have Khaleda Zia freed from jail.
BNP standing committee member Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan called upon Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal leaders and activists to come forward to free Khaleda from jail through a strong street movement.
Another party standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan said Khaleda will surely be released from jail if all the party leaders and activists get united and take to the streets.
Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) – The Election Commission on Wednesday announced schedule for holding election to 122 upazila parishads of 16 districts in the fourth phase on March 31.
According to the election schedule, the deadline for submission of nomination papers is March 4, while the date for scrutiny of nomination papers is March 6 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is March 13.
EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed declared the schedule for the 4th phase of the 5th countrywide upazila election at a press conference at the Nirbachon Bhaban in the city.
The 122 upazilas include 7 upazilas in Patuakhali district, 6 in Bhola, 5 in Barguna, 7 in Pirojpur, 8 in Jashore, 9 in Khulna, 9 in Bagerhat, 12 in Mymensingh, 6 in Munshiganj, 3 in Narayanganj, 5 in Dhaka, 12 in Tangail, 13 in Cumilla, 7 in Noakhali, 7 in Brahmanbaria and 6 upazilas in Feni district.
Earlier, the EC announced the election schedules for the first three phases.
According to the schedules, 87 upazilas will go to the polls on March 10 in the first phase, while 129 upazilas on March 18 in the second phase and 127 upazilas on March 24 in the third phase.
Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) – BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan on Wednesday said Jamaat-e-Islami should apologise to the nation for its anti-liberation war role in 1971.
Talking to reporters after placing a wreath at BNP founder Ziaur Rahman’s grave, he also said their party wants the trial and punishment of all the anti-liberation war elements.
“Offering apology by Jamaat is now a demand of all. Jamaat should be ashamed of its anti-liberation war role or should apologise for it. It’s a logical demand,” the BNP leader said.
Nazrul, also the coordinator of the BNP-led 20-party alliance, further said, “We surely want the punishment and trial of those involved in anti-liberation acts.”
He also said those who destroyed democracy, the greatest outcome of the independence, in Bangladesh should also apologise to the nation.
“We think those who committed offences should offer apology. We also should apologise to people if we’ve involvement in any wrongdoing. Unfortunately, such culture is absent in our country,” the BNP leader observed.
Sought his comment over the media report that Jamaat formed a committee to launch a new party, Nazrul said it is an internal matter of Jamaat.
Replying to another question, he said Jamaat is still with the 20-party alliance. “Jamaat never told us that they don’t want to remain with the 20-party.”
The BNP leader also said Jamaat, as a political party, has the right to take a decision to quit the alliance.
About the Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda’s comment that the upazila election will be a competitive one, he said people have no confidence in him. “People across the country consider him as an incompetent person and they accuse him of ruining the country’s election system with his biased role in favour of a party.”
Earlier, Nazrul together with leaders and activists of Jatiyatabadi Tanti Dal paid homage to Zia by placing a wreath at his grave Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the city, marking the 39th founding anniversary of the organisation.
They also offered a munajat seeking eternal peace of Zia’s departed soul.