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‘BNP’s alliance with Jamaat is an impediment to a total ban’

  • Published at 12:08 am March 7th, 2019
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud speaks at a workshop on the 'Use of Right to Information Act in Investigative Journalism' on Wednesday Dhaka Tribune

The minister was speaking at  a workshop on the “Use of Right to Information Act in Investigative Journalism” on Wednesday

BNP has been the main obstacle to banning Jamaat-e-Islami from politics– a religion based political party, according to Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud.

The minister was speaking at  a workshop on the “Use of Right to Information Act in Investigative Journalism” on Wednesday.

“When the Bangladesh Awami League has been working to ban Jamaat as well as it’s activities from the politics of Bangladesh, BNP, a major political party, is actively pro-Jamaat.

“BNP’s support and their alliance with Jamaat is an obstacles in the process of banning the party from Bangladeshi politics,” he said at the workshop  organized by the Information Commission at the capital’s Agargaon office.

On October 28 last year, Jamaat was stripped of the right to contest in the 11th parliamentary election through a  gazette by the Election Commission. The commission was executing an order, five years after the High Court ruled that Jamaat’s status as a political party was  revoked.  

When the 11th parliament began their sessions, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Jamaat’s a case of being banned is pending with the court. “We cannot do anything here until the court delivers the judgment in the case.”

The prime minister hoped that the Jamaat will be banned as soon as the court passes its judgment.

She also said: “However Jamaat candidates ran with the ‘sheaf of paddy’ in the last general election being united with the BNP.”

US Congressman Jim Banks on February 28,  introduced a resolution "Expressing concern about the threat posed to democracy and human rights by theocratic groups operating in South Asia" which has been referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs that urges the BNP and all political parties to unequivocally distance themselves from the Jamaat and other extremist organizations.

The resolution also called upon the governments of Bangladesh and Pakistan to deny, disrupt, and dismantle the ability of Jamaat, and its affiliates, from posing an immediate and ongoing threat to religious freedom and regional stability. It additionally urged the BNP to sever all ties with Jamaat, among other things.

In response the to US Congressional resolution, the information minister said the BNP should cut all ties with the Jamaat immediately.

Right to information

At the event, the information minister launched the online tracking system for Right to Information Act (RTI).

“The online tracking system of getting information is a significant progress towards digital Bangladesh. According to the law, the RTI Act was initiated to ensure the people's right to know any information at any given time,” said the minister.

Chief Information Commissioner Martuza Ahmed said that the RTI works as a safeguard for investigative journalism. “We have arranged this workshop to encourage journalists to do more investigative reporting by using the Right to Information Act,” he added.

Senior journalists, chief reporters and editors of different print and electronic media participated in the day-long workshop.

Dr Golam Rahman, former Information Commissioner, Abdul Malek, secretary of Information ministry also spoke at the event among others.

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