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20 February, 2019 12:52:16 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 20 February, 2019 11:20:50 AM
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Young Turks work on floating new party

Jamaat in jeopardy
RAFIQUL ISLAM AZAD, Dhaka
Young Turks work on floating new party

The young Turks in the Jamaat-e-Islami are likely to float a new party soon, keeping out the party’s old guard, most of whom are accused of opposing Bangladesh’s War of Liberation, according to insiders. Barrister Abdur Razzaq, who resigned from the Islamist party on Friday, is likely to lead the new party, while a respected Islamic scholar is likely to be made its chief.

The young leaders, most of them having been members of the Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of the Jamaat, are expected to play a key role in the central committee of the proposed party, said the insiders.

If Razzaq, who is now in London, does not agree to hold a key post of the proposed party, former Shibir president Syed Abdullah Mohammed Taher is likely to be made president. Another former Shibir president, Mojibur Rahman Monju, is likely to be made secretary general of the new organisation, said a Jamaat leader.

He also said many Jamaat leaders may quit the party within a few days before floating the new party.

A number of former presidents and secretaries general of the Chhatra Shibir are holding meetings from time to time to float the new party, the name of which is yet been finalised. The leaders who have taken the initiative are working to fill the new organisation with fresh blood.  

An announcement is likely to be made in this regard within

a week, said a senior leader of party.  He also said the move is intended to free the new generation of Islamists in Bangladesh from the stigma of opposing the 1971 War of Liberation. The resignation of Razzaq, a veteran lawyer, and the expulsion of city leader Mojibur Rahman Monju are reflections of the move of reformist groups within the party, added the leader.

He further said that Jamaat leaders are divided into three groups—some want to carry out party activities with the existing name of the Jamaat, others are in favour of changing the name by merging with a registered political party, and the young Turks want to float a new party with fresh blood in the leadership.

Asked to comment about the international conflict in the party, a central leader, preferring anonymity, said: “Everything is at the discussion stage. No decision has yet been taken. We will let you know if any decision is taken.”

On Friday, barrister Abdur Razzaq resigned from the party, citing the party’s failure to seek apology for its activities against the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. He sent the resignation letter (email) from London where he is currently residing.

Before his execution for war crimes in 2015, central Jamaat leader Muhammed Quamaruzzaman, in an open letter, called upon the party rank and file to reform the party in the light of other Muslim majority countries across world.

The young leaders think the Jamaat should seek apology for its controversial role during the War of Liberation.

Razzaq made the suggestion to the party leadership to do so.

In a interview to a vernacular daily, Razzaq said the Jamaat did not get acceptance in Bangladesh. It has rather turned into a hated party. No party can sustain itself by opposing independence and cannot lead the country, he added.

The Jamaat, which lost its registration and party symbol through court verdicts, has been passing through its worst-ever period in recent times following the execution of its top leaders, and it is not allowed to carry out any political activity publicly.

Some of the party leaders, however, took part in the December 30 parliamentary polls on the “sheaf of paddy” symbol of the BNP, but none of them won.

The erstwhile Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan had strongly opposed the independence of Bangladesh and the break-up of Pakistan. It collaborated with the Pakistani army in its operations against Bengali nationalists and pro-Liberation intellectuals during the War of Liberation.

At least five top leaders, including party ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami and secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mojaheed, have already been executed for crimes against humanity.

The Jamaat emerged as a political party in Bangladesh after the ban on Islamic parties was lifted in 1976. The party won 18 seats in the parliamentary elections in 1991. Their seat strength was reduced to three during the 1996 elections and the party won only two seats in the 2008 polls.

IK

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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