Saturday, August 19, 2006

Social and Political Rehabilitation of the Collaborators of Pakistani Army in Bangladesh

On December 31, 1975, the Army regime of General Ziaur Rahman repealed the Collaborators Order (P.O.8 of 1972), which had been enacted to punish those who had collaborated with the Pakistani army during the war of liberation. Repeal of this law combined with the provision for an amnesty, a large number of those who had already been convicted, around 20,000 for treasons, rape, killing, arsons, looting and destruction of properties] were released from jail. “These strengthened the hands of the rightist forces who were pro-lslamic and anit-Indian by conviction.” (Moudud Ahmed, Democracy and the Challenge of Development p. 43). Again, on May 4, 1976, army regime issued another Martial Law Promulgation obliterating the proviso of Article 38, 1972 [proviso of Article 38, 1972 had, previously, banned all kinds of political activism based on religion], thereby, successfully, opening up the venue for communal politics in Bangladesh. In 1978, General Zia formed his first political platform, Jatiyo Gonotantric Dal (JAGO DAL) with the support from three different extreme political believers: (a) the religious rightists who actively opposed the liberation war; (b) extreme leftist; and (c) the rightist elements of Awami League. In 1971, pro-china leftists were divided into two groups, one actively opposed the liberation war and the other while had always been obsessed with vehement anti-Indian stand actively/passively supported the national independence. And the rightist elements of Awami League included those who either allegedly involved in the assassination of Sheikh Mujib and his family members or supported and joined Mustaq’s cabinet after the assassination of the father of the nation.

Under Zia’s military rule, first parliamentary election was held on February 18, 1979 and session convened on April 1, 1979. On April 6, 1979, constitution was amended (referred to as 5th amendment) to ratify and confirm (legalize) all Martial Law Proclamations, Orders, Regulations, and laws enacted between the period of August 15, 1975 and the first week of April 1979, including the annulment of Collaborator Act of 1972, proviso of Article 38, 1972. The 5th amendment also replaced one of core philosophies of the liberation war Secularism with “absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah."

General Zia, first, by repealing the Collaborator Act of 1972 and second, uplifting the ban on activism of religious rightist as well as radical left political parties helped, both socially and politically, rehabilitate these extreme religious and political groups. Thus, General Zia was the first one to sow the seed of politics of religious extremism in Bangladesh. Later, during general Ershad regime, in 1988 parliamentary session, constitution was amended to include Islam as the state religion of Bangladesh. The consequences of all of these constitutional changes had been three major atrocities occurred, respectively in 1990, 1992 and 2001 against the religious minorities in Bangladesh.

And, General Zia, for his contribution to the social and political rehabilitation of collaborators, is still revered as the savior by the members/ideologues/followers/sympathizers of extreme lefts and the religious rights in Bangladesh.

Source: Moudud Ahmed, Democracy and the Challenge of Development: A Study of Politics and Military Interventions in Bangladesh

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Nizami-Khaleda Govt.’s Earnings (Top 25)

The present government will finish its tenure this October. Meantime,names of most corrupt ministers are already coming in circulation, with figures of cash they minted during the five-year term of the BNP government since 2001. The corrupt ministers are:

01. Barrister Nazmul Huda, amount earned - US$ 0.5 billion
02. Mirza Abbas, amount earned - US$ 43 million
03. Begum Khurshid Jahan Haque (sister of PM), amount earned - US$ 40 million
04. Tariqul Islam, amount earned - US$ 38 million
05. Abdul Mannan Buiyan, amount earned - US$ 35 million
06. Salahuddin Ahmed, amount earned - US$ 32 million
07. Barrister Aminul Huq, amount earned - US$ 31 million
08. Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf, amount earned - US$ 30 million
09. Altaf Hussain Chowdhury, amount earned - US$ 28 million
10. Iqbal Hassan Mahmood Tuku, amount earned - US$ 26 million
11. Dr. Khandekar Musharraf Hussain, amount earned - US$ 25 million
12. Barkatulla Bulu, amount earned - US$ 24 million
13. Abdullah Al Noman, amount earned - US$ 23 million
14. Lt.Col Akber Hussain, amount earned - US$ 22 million
15. Major (Retired) Qamrul Islam, amount earned - US$ 21 million
16. Shajahan Siraj, amount earned - US$ 20 million
17. Advocate Gautam Chakracarty, amount earned - US$ 17 million
18. Amanullah Aman, amount earned - US$ 15 million
19. Ziaul Haque Zia, amount earned - US$ 14 million
20. Jafrul Islam Chowdhury, amount earned - US$ 13 million
21. ANM Ehsanul Haque Milon,amount earned - US$ 11 million
22. Asadul Habib Dulu, amount earned - US$ 10 million
23. Fazlur Rahman Patal, amount earned - US$ 9 million
24. Advocate Ruhul Quddus Talikder Dulu, amount earned - US$ 8 million
25. Lutfur Rahman Khan Azad, amount earned - US$ 6 million

Something that concern me the most

I know I am being cursed probably by some as they read this but hear me out.I know people talk about escalating cost of living, Tarique Zia, corruption of ministers, no power/electricity etc but I worry about BNP-Jamaat for another reason.As long as this alliance stays in power, Bangladesh will continue to move to the right.

Does that mean every BNP supporter is a fundamentalist? Offcourse not. In the long run, this government's close ties with Pakistan and middle-eastern sheikhs and their oil money is bad news for the moderate muslims in Bangladesh.Sufism, to which most of us belong, is under threat from its radical offshoot.Bangladeshi's are mostly Sufis. That's a very spiritual form, very differrent from the clerical-based system. With BNP-Jamaat, what is being imported into Bangladesh is the more radical deobandism from India-Pakistan and Wahabism from the middle-east.

As gas prices go up, the oil-rich middle eastern countries get richer and more money flows into promoting these radical forms of Islam in countries like Bangladesh. They find a close freind in BNP-Jamaat.Some of my closest freinds are BNP supporters and we have a blast urguing politically. What scares me to death is the continous dose of radical Islam that is tied to the bundle of money that flows into Bangladesh from the middle-east and Pakistan in the name of investment.This to me is the real fight ahead for our generation.

-A conscious citizen

Friday, April 14, 2006

TIME Sells Lies for Money


Dear Editor:

Recently Mr. Alex Perry wrote a cover news on TIME magazine titled"Rescue Mission" about the current situation in Bangladesh[]. I am a Bangladeshi studying in the USA. Although it felt good to see my country on the cover of a prestigious magazine like the Time, the article itself shocked me as it was full of lies and propaganda. Furthermore, it is reported that the Bangladesh government paid a sumof $1 million to Time for this story[]. It may be noted here that Mr. Perry wrote another story on Bangladeshonly two years ago that portrayed a more realistic picture of what is going on in Bangladesh[,8599,364423,00.html] As a Bangladeshi it saddens and scares me that our government is supporting terrorists. But as a progressive person, I feel the conscience of the open world like yourself should come forward to create awareness about such issues. And a respected magazine like Time should know better than to 'sell' its stories for money! Would you please look into this issue?

A conscious citizen

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Proclamation of Independence- 'BNP-Jamaat govt violates constitution'

Speakers at a discussion said those who don't recognise Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the proclaimer of independence and the proclamation by the Mujibnagar government should be considered as 'seditionists'.
The Proclamation of Independence made by the Mujibnagar government on April 10 in 1971 is now part of the constitution, they said, adding that those who disregard it is virtually ignoring the constitution and that they should be charged with sedition.
The Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee (Forum for Secular Bangladesh) organised the discussion at the BILIA auditorium in the city to mark the 35 anniversary of the proclamation.
Acting President of the committee Shahriar Kabir said the BNP-Jamaat alliance government have been violating the constitution, although they vowed to uphold it while taking office.
They are violating many rights of the people enshrined in the constitution, he said, adding that flouting the articles related to independence and sovereignty of the country is tantamount to 'sedition'.
President of the advisory committee of the organisation Prof Kabir Chowdhury presided over the discussion. President of Supreme Court Bar Association Barrister M Amir-Ul Islam, Director of BILIA Waliur Rahman, Barrister Sara Hossain and Prof Muntasir Mamoon also spoke.
Recalling the memories of Mujibnagar government, Barrister Amir-Ul Islam, also the author of the Proclamation of Independence, underscored the need for projecting the complete history and the role of national leaders in the War of Liberation to the young generation.
The speakers also said the day of proclamation was never celebrated in a befitting manner. Rather, a vested quarter has always tried to distort the history and even changed the constitution for political gains, they added.
Tanjim Ahmed Sohel MP, son of prime minister of the Mujibnagar government Tajuddin Ahmed, Joint General Secretary of Awami League Syed Ashraful Islam, son of Syed Nazrul Islam, then acting president, and former home minister Mohammad Nasim, son of Captain (Retd.) M Mansur Ali, also spoke.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

US$ 1 Million for TIME Magazine Cover Story

Released on April 6, 2006, 4:20 am

Press Release Author Christipher Walmoor

Press Release Summary "There is an inside story on how Bangladesh government managed the TIME Magazine cover story."

Alex Perry, who published a cover story on Bangladesh titled 'Deadly Cargo', a few years back, projecting the rise of Islamist militancy and corruption in the country, has finally published another cover story titled 'Rebuilding Bangladesh' on the April 10th issue of TIME Magazine. In this huge report, Alex Perry widely appreciated efforts of Khaleda Zia's government giving a few examples of success stories in nabbing Islamist militancy. Perry was invited by the government a few weeks back, while he was accorded'royal' hospitality and it is told that the government went into an under hand deal with the prestigious magazine with an amount of US$ 1 Million for publication of the story, with the objective of improving the image of the ruling coalition government when the next election is just at the door.

It is further reported that the man behind managing such report is Shafiq Rehman, a former broadcaster and now owner of a vernacular weekly, Jaijaidin. Shafiq received enormous support and patronization from the government including a multi-million dollar worth property at capital's main industrial zone, to house his forthcoming daily newspaper. Shafiq close aide and reporter of Jaijaidin, Chhoton gets regular patronization of the government in getting large number of business deals, cashing a few hundred millions of dollar in past five years.

As part of Bangladesh government's image building effort, their ambassador in Washington Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury organized a press conference at Washington Press Club on 3rd April, which did not get attention of the leading press in the US. Shamsher spent handsome amount of cash in 'managing' the US media in favor of his government.Although Alex Perry projected Bangladesh in a positive way, the hard reality prevailing in the country is, there is serious up rise of Islamist militancy along side endless corruption, repression of press, oppression of religious minority and many other issues. TIME Magazine should feel ashamed of publishing cover story on Bangladesh in exchange of money, which will definitely spoil the good image of this journal.

A letter of protest to the Time Magazine

The Editor
Time Magazine, Asia

It is to our great dismay we have noticed that Time Magazine has made a cover story on the recent development on Islamic Militancy issue in Bangladesh where Mr. Alex Perry has given all the credit to the incumbent Government and its Prime Minister Ms. Khaleda Zia for capturing the militant leaders. The fact of the matter is when the oppositions in the parliament and the civil society, the secularists and progressives of Bangladesh sensed the rise of fundamentalism and militancy; and wanted to bring the issue in front of the Government, the existence of fundamentalism was completely denied.

It was further exposed that some part of the Government led by Ms. Khaleda Zia were in active collaboration with the militant organization which in turn gave the militancy a boost in the sacred soil of Bangladesh. When the explosives attacks were taking place the incumbent Government and Khaleda Zia herself were disseminating slanderous allegations and were accusing the opposition political parties as well as the secularists-progressive forces of Bangladesh, most of whose positions are strongly anti-militancy.

Records show that many of the civil society members, i.e. writers, columnists, university professors, ex civil-servants and opposition political party members were implicated in false charges and were put into prison cell for explosive attacks which were actually carried out by the Islamic militant.

If the militancy is cornered in Bangladesh at this moment, it is because of the pressure came from the different quarters. Under the growing consensus and rage among the people as well as pressure from the development partners from the west against the Islamic militancy, the incumbent 4 party alliance Government was forced to apprehend Shaikh Abdur Rahman, Bangla Bhai and few other leading members of Jamiatul Mujahidin. The apprehension of Shaikh Rahman-Bangla Bhai-Mufti Hannan et al evidences the falsification of the claims by the Government, especially by the Amir of Jamat-e-Islami and minister of commerce & industry Motiur Rahman Nizami about the existence of the afore-said Islamic militant network as imaginary and creation of media.

Time Magazine’s report on the latest development on the militancy issue in Bangladesh by Alex Perry is completely misrepresentation of facts and far from the truth. It is imperative to note for the sake of upholding the truth, Bangladesh has been mishandled by an inefficient Government and hence was fallen into such militancy problem. If any development has taken place in this area the credit should go to the opposition parties and the progressive forces of Bangladesh.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Compensation for the victims of Islamic militancy and for those arrested on false charges

Under the growing consensus and rage among the people as well as pressure from the development partners from the west against the Islamic militancy, the incumbent 4 party alliance Government was forced to apprehend Shaikh Abdur Rahman, Bangla Bhai and few other leading members of Jamiatul Mujahidin, Harkatul Jihad and Jagroto Muslim Jonota and to ban the activities of four militant organization. The apprehension of Shaikh Rahman-Bangla Bhai-Mufti Hannan et al evidences the falsification of the claims by the Government, especially by the Amir of Jamat-e-Islami and minister of commerce & industry Motiur Rahman Nizami about the existence of the afore-said Islamic militant network as imaginary and creation of media.

The country acknowledged for the first time about the existence of a big Islamic militant network in 1999 when few members of Harkatul Zihad were apprehended in an attempt to murder the eminent poet Shamsur Rahman. It was published in a leading news paper that Harkatul Zihad recruited around 25000 militants all over the country. The involvement of Jamaat-e-Islami and some members of the incumbent Government in a series of actions i.e. installing explosive in the then prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s meeting, bomb attack in Udichi congregation, Chayanot gathering, Church, CPB meeting, Cinema theatre and later grenade attack in Sheikh Hasina’s meeting in August 21st, grenade attack and killing of Ex finance minister and Awami League leader Dr. Kibria, attack and killing of Dr. Humayun Azad, Mohammod Yunus and so on and so forth was claimed and was endeavored to bring into Government’s notice. Instead Government always put the blame onto the Awami League, India and the secularist, progressive, pro 71 ( pro Liberation War) intellectuals.

Shaihk Abdur Rahman has admitted the responsibility of attacks on poet Shamsur Rahman, Professor Humayun Azad and Professor Mohammad Younus. He also admitted the responsibility of the other attacks on Cinema, Theatre, Mazar (Shrine/Sacred tomb) and other places. He admitted that on approval of Jamaat-e-Islami they started the explosive attack all over the country. Shaikh Rahman mentioned the name of three cabinet members of BNP, the mayor of the Rajshahi city corporation, members of the parliament and few other Government officials who have cooperated with them. He also mentioned about their alliance with other India, Pakistan and Afghanistan based militant organizations.

During the interrogation Shaikh Rahman also informed about the involvement of Islamic Bank in their monetary transaction. Evidences have been found in support of Shaikh’s statement after the investigation in different branches of Islamic Bank taken place. In 14th march Islamic Bank, which is conducted by Jamat-e-Islami has been show caused by the Bangladesh Bank for their alleged involvement in monetary transaction with Islamic militancy.

Though the apprehended leading members of JBM along with Shaikh Rahman admitted the responsibility of all the explosives attack in the past time and revealed the information about their domestic and international network, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia is still accusing Awami League and India in her speeches in public meetings for the militancy. We believe such dissemination of lies stemming from the Prime Minister herself may hinder the overall investigation process. We also suspect that if the patrons (names that came out from the apprehended JMB leaders) of the Islamic militancy within the Government are not arrested, they might try to destroy the evidences/proofs of their involvement and thereby impede the normal investigation process. We were informed from different news papers and several other sources that the remnant of the JMB cadres are still dominating and intimidating the general people in different parts in North Bengal. The victims of JBM cadres are still at their mercy and are greatly susceptible to their future potential attack.
Dears Friends,
Information that we have received about the statements of Shaikh Rahman and other leading JMB members in the interrogation through news media this is quite evident that,

(A) The investigation process would not be uninterrupted and transparent unless the chief patrons of JBM are not arrested
(B) As long as the financial sponsor of the Militant organization such as Islamic Bank and other Islamic NGOs are operational the militant situation will remain as it is.
(C) If the militant organizations from the neighboring country continue to pour money and ammunitions into Bangladesh, the strength of Islamic militancy in Bangladesh will keep rising.

The victims of the Islamic militancy and their family members are present in today’s press conference. The journalists, politicians, professors, those of whom were deliberately blamed and were falsely implicated in several incidents and tortured by the Government out of their vengeance are also present here.

On behalf of all of the conscious citizen of this country we would like to demand to the Government the followings:

(1) The patrons and collaborators of the militants; ministers, members of the parliament, district level leaders of the BNP-Jamaat alliance, those who are yet not arrested need to be arrested soon.
(2) The Government has banned only four militant organizations. We have got to know from the reports of the leading news papers that at least 98 of different sizes militant organizations are active in Bangladesh. Among all these Hizbut Tahrir is the biggest one. They claim that the circumference of their net work permeate in around hundred countries. Though their activities are banned in Middle East and even in Pakistan, they are well organized in Bangladesh and running their activities without any hindrances. The arrested militant leaders also admitted the involvement of Ahle-Hadith with them. We demand the ban of all the activities of Hizbut Tahrir and Ahle-Hadith and other militant organization. At the same time we demand the ban of communal politics of Jamaat-Shibir, the originator of militancy in Bangladesh.
(3) We demand the ban of all the banks including sharia based Islamic bank run by Islamic fundamentalists and militant organizations. The officials of those banks who were involved in monetary transactions with the militant group will have to be brought into justice. At the same time the activities of all the Islamic NGOs who extend financial support to the militant group will have to shut down.
(4) The Madrassas that were used as recruiting and training camp of the militants, the teachers and the directors of those Madrassas should also be brought into justice. The Madrassa education system needs reform in its structure and needs to be rearranged in such a way so that they are not used as factories to produce militants any more.
(5) Those who were the victim of the explosive attack and those who were tortured and assaulted by the Government putting into jails under false implication will have to be compensated and should be sought pardon by the Government.
(6) If the Government is truly eager to investigate the militant issue and to ensure the transparency then the interrogation of the apprehended militant leaders should be dealt under the supervision of the United Nation’s International Investigation Team.

To uproot the regional net work of the militant organizations we believe a regional consortium should be created among Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Myanmar.

We hope that the Government through meeting our demands will prove that they are not the patron of the militant and are sincere to eradicate the militancy in Bangladesh.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Nizami-Khaleda Buys Foreign "Damage Control"

The Nizami-Khaleda government has now made a contract with two US lobbying firms and an individual to help cover up its atrocities over the last five years. In other words, the Nizami-Khaleda government is trying to do damage control by hiring a public relations firm.

The government will be spending seven crore taka (about $1m) on this from the people's tax revenues.

Read the Daily Janakantha report HERE.

Read The Daily Star report HERE.