BNP too should apologize

BNP too should apologize

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 22 Jun 2019, 02:17 pm
A senior Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdur Razzaq who held the post of Assistant Secretary General in the party, resigned recently after “failing to persuade his party to apologise for its anti-liberation role”.

 The demand for an apology from the party has been growing ever since. After Razzaq’s resignation few other leaders also tendered their resignation,  mentioning that the resignation of Abdur Razzaq has opened up their eyes to understand that Jamaat is an anti-liberation force. Political analysts, however, believe that Razzaq’s resignation could be a ploy to regain Jamaat’s registration with the Election Commission. Otherwise what could possibly have prompted them to ask for forgiveness 48 years after liberation.


The partners in the BNP-led 20-party alliance think that the Jamaat, a major partner in the coalition, should apologise to the nation for its controversial role during Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in 1971. Recently, senior BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan said Jamaat “should be ashamed of its anti-Liberation War role and should apologise for it.”


So-called resignation of some Jamaat leaders and their apologies to the nation for the party’s 1971 role are a part of its plot to local and international pressure. Even if Jamaat begs apology for its role in 1971 war it should not get impunity from the charges of massacre, arson attacks and repression on women carried out during the Liberation War. Jamaat formed a coalition with BNP and did politics together. Hence BNP too lost its eligibility to getting impunity. BNP should also seek apology for sheltering Jamaat and making ties with the party to form government.


Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was killed along with most of his family members on August 15, 1975. After the tragedy, BNP’s founder and the country’s first military dictator Gen Ziaur Rahman became the centre of power in Bangladesh.  He was the immediate beneficiary of the killing of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as he was elevated to the post of Army chief instantly. Ziaur Rahman adorned the killers of Bangabandhu with various rewards and sent them as ambassadors to different countries. It was he who passed the Indemnity Ordinance to give immunity from legal action to the persons involved in the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.


Ziaur Rahman rehabilitated the Jamaat  war criminals and gave them the opportunity to do politics. His wife Khaleda Zia made the war criminals ministers and members of parliament and it was Khaleda Zia who allowed the national flag of Bangladesh to be flown on the cars of the enemies of independence and war criminals. It was indeed shameful and something that never happened in any civilized country in the world.


Returning to power in 1996 after 21 years of the assassination of Bangabandhu, the Awami League led by Sheikh Hasinna repealed the Indemnity Ordinance. The BNP called a general strike on the day the verdict regarding repeal of the Indemnity Act was to be announced so that the judge cannot reach the court. BNP came to power again and the court verdict could not be implemented after the BNP’s return to power in 2001.


BNP has powerful links with Pakistan, especially the ISI of Pakistan. Ziaur Rahman who had never hesitated to physically eliminate his opponents, was responsible for political rehabilitation of hated anti-liberation elements like Ghulam Azam and other top leaders of Jamaat and Muslim League. After he assumed power, he lifted the ban on Jamaat and religious politics, removed secularism and declared religion-based nationalism as one of the state principles.


Religious minorities such as Hindus are suspicious of the BNP which has targeted them in the past. The BNP-led alliance which was infested with fundamentalist and communalist forces came to power following the general elections held on 1st October 2001. The range of human rights violations that the alliance government under the stewardship of Khaleda Zia and Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami committed in Bangladesh since its assumption of power is inconceivable in any sovereign and independent state. The alliance government was successful in setting examples of torturing and killing members of minority religious and ethnic communities, leaders, activists and sympathisers of opposition political parties, intellectuals and professionals subscribing to secular ideals.


Two senior leaders of the then opposition Awami League, one a former finance minister, were assassinated, and a 2004 grenade attack on an Awami League rally  aimed at wiping out the party’s entire leadership left 23 persons dead. Former Prime Minister and BNP chief Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman were involved in the attack on Awami League rally. They tried to kill Sheikh Hasina through the grenade attack to perpetuate their hold on power and make Awami League leaderless. They even destroyed all clues and evidence of the gruesome attack and staged the ‘Joj Mia drama’.


Calling for an election boycott on 5 January 2014, BNP and Jamaat activists attacked and killed people who refused to honour blockades, and also the law enforcers and members of the Awami League. Tensions were further heightened after execution of Abdul Quader Molla, a senior leader of the Jamaat for war crimes committed during Bangladesh's liberation war in 1971.


Jamaat also was disqualified then from participating in the 2014 polls after the Supreme Court and the Election Commission ruled that its charter violated the Constitution. During the vote itself on January 5, BNP and Jamaat activists targeted election officials and attacked schools and other buildings serving as polling places. The minority Hindu community were also singled out for attacks.


Human Rights Watch (HRW) termed this situation as ‘tumbled backward on human rights’. In its report, HRW said a harsh crackdown on the media, various civil society organizations  and political opposition groups, all of which had been protesting the recent election, as well as an ongoing war crimes tribunal, had led to violent street protests in 2013, killing almost 200 people and injuring thousands across the country. During the elections earlier in January 2014, armed gangs attacked minority communities, mostly in the south western and northern districts. International aid agencies estimated as many as 5,000 families were affected. Another study shows that the war crimes trial and the elections to the tenth national parliament gave rise to extreme violence.


In a judicial review of a BNP leader’s asylum case, a Canadian court has recently observed that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the BNP is a terrorist organisation. It also observed that the BNP conducted terrorist acts in Bangladesh by calling hartals which created significant economic disruption as well as incidents of violence. BNP's major mistake is its alliance with Jamaat which has destroyed its democratic image and its association with Jamaat's terror tactics has affected BNP’s popularity and brought the party to its present condition.