Jamaat desperately on the offensive→ Political Commentator
Jamaat-e-Islami is desperately on the offensive in politics nowadays and showing its real face through violent showdowns in the capital and elsewhere in the country.
According to sources, Jamaat is trying, in a planned way, to display its strength to secure a place in the front line of national politics and more importantly free the detained leaders of the party who are facing trial for alleged crimes against humanity during the War of Liberation in 1971.
Jamaat is reported to have become restless after reports appeared in the press recently that the trial of at least four of the seven top party leaders is likely to be concluded in the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) by December this year. The party has started violent showdowns to stop the trial and thus save the detained leaders from conviction and possible punishment.
Sources mention that Jamaat has been spending lavishly at home and abroad to stop the war crimes trial but is worried over the mounting public pressure and firm determination of the government to complete the trial.
A section of analysts maintain that Jamaat is trying to create anarchy and instability in the country to push the government to the brink of collapse so that it does not get time and strength to finish the trial of those who were involved in crimes against humanity in 1971.
At present seven detained Jamaat leaders – Ghulam Azam, Matiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahman Mohammad Mojaheed, Delwar Hossain Saidee, Abdul Kader Molla, Kamruzzaman and Mir Kashem Ali—are facing trial in the ICT along with BNP leaders Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Abdul Aleem.
It may be pointed out here that Jamaat staged fierce and violent showdowns in the streets attacking police forces and torching vehicles on Monday and Tuesday at different places. Subsequently around 6 thousand Jamaat-Shibir activists have been sued in 57 cases with a number of them being arrested for arson, vandalism and violence in the name of ‘democratic movement’.
According to sources, the main objective of Jamaat’s violent showdowns is to stop war crime trial and free their detained leaders, but there are some other motives too behind these. These motives include emerging as a formidable political force by keeping the government under pressure, spreading fear among the people and warning BNP of going alone if necessary.
The sources pointed out that although the pro-liberation group in the BNP is reportedly very happy with Begum Zia’s move to mend fences with India, the pro-Pakistan group in BNP is reportedly unhappy with not only the positive outcome, but also with Khaleda’s Delhi visit itself. Moreover, Begum Zia’s Delhi visit and BNP’s deviation from the longstanding anti-India stance have angered Jamaat very much.
It is a known fact that BNP’s deep relation with Jamaat is one of the main causes of the strains in the BNP-India relations as Jamaat is communal and a deadly anti-India political party. Jamaat is naturally unhappy at the BNP initiative to improve relations with India. And consequently, the agitation programmes launched by Jamaat on Monday and Tuesday was also a bid to display its strength and make BNP understand that Jamaat can go alone if necessary.
Speculations are rife in the political circles that BNP’s latest stance relating to India has created discord and distance between BNP and Jamaat. The leaders of Jamaat have already indicated that they are unwilling to take the responsibility of what Khaleda Zia had told the Indian leaders.
Observers think that the sudden violent actions of Jamaat might have been designed to protest against Khaleda’s move to improve relations with India and, more importantly, send a message to the government that the party would let loose total anarchy in the country if the war-crime trial was not stopped.
Published by Maynal Hossain Chowdhury on behalf of East West Media Group Limited, Plot No: 371/A, Block No: D, Bashundhara R/A, Baridhara, Dhaka -1229 and Printed at Plot No: C/52, Block-K, Bashundhara, Khilkhet, Badda, Dhaka.