Razzaq, who represented Jamaat leaders accused of war crimes , resigned as the assistant secretary general on Friday, citing the party’s failure to apologize to the Bangladeshi people for its anti-independence role during the Liberation War
Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami has called the resignation of its senior leader, Barrister Abdur Razzaq, a great loss, but it contradicted the reasons he gave for leaving.
Razzaq, who represented Jamaat leaders accused of war crimes , resigned as the assistant secretary general on Friday, citing the party’s failure to apologize to the Bangladeshi people for its anti-independence role during the Liberation War.
Another reason that prompted him to decide Jamaat, was Jamaat’s failure to adopt the successful models of reform that have been implemented in other Muslim majority countries.
But the top brass of the party, which is accused of helping Pakistani occupation forces in the War of Independence, said that they do not support his position.
Jamaat Secretary Genera,l Dr Shafiqur Rahman, said: “I express my disappointment over his departure. I am disheartened. Every member of the party has the right to step down.”
Talking about the reasons which Razzaq cited, Shafiqur Rahman said: “He showed two major reasons: one of offering an apology to the people of Bangladesh and the other of reforms in the party.”
“But we do not agree with the grounds raised by Razzaq,” the Jamaat second-in-command said.
However, he did not elaborate on where the party stood on these matters.
In a statement issued immediately after Razzaq’s resignation, the party said: “Jamaat will always remember Barrister Abdur Razzaq’s sincere contribution to this movement.”
“I have been working for this organization along with Barrister Abdur Razzaq for years. He was a senior and designated leader of Jamaat-e-Islami. I am recalling his glorious contributions with due respect and honor,” the statement quoted Shafiqur Rahman as saying.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened at his resignation. It is the basic recognized right of a party member. We pray for him wherever he is, we pray for his safety, good reputation and healthy life,” the statement further said.
“We further hope that our friendly and brotherly relationship with him will continue in the coming days,” it concluded.
Describing Razzaq’s resignation as irreparable, Jamaat's Nayeb-e-Ameer, Mia Golam Parowar, said he had played an important role in the party, especially in fighting the cases filed for war crimes.
“Razzaq, who was the chief defence counsel at the International Crimes Tribunal, had also helped Jamaat bolster its diplomatic ties with foreign countries,” said Parwar, a former MP and an assistant secretary general of Jamaat.
Parwar went on to say that the reasons for Razzaq’s resignation were not valid.
“He had previously disagreed with the party high command on various important issues,” Parwar said.
Jamaat’s central working committee member, Motiur Rahman Akhond, said there will be no replacement for Razzaq.
“Finding an alternative to Razzaq will not be possible as he was something exceptional for the party,” Akhond said.
He refused to make further comments on the matter.
The barrister tendered his resignation through a letter sent to Bangladesh Jamaat Ameer, Maqbul Ahmed, from the UK on Friday.
“Despite its many positive contributions to Bangladesh society such as corruption free politics, intra party democracy, institution building, and creating a vast number of honest, competent, and dedicated citizens, Jamaat in the 21st century has not been successful in becoming an effective vehicle for realizing its goal of social justice based on Islamic values,” Abdur Razzaq said in the letter.
“Over the last two decades, I have been trying relentlessly to persuade Jamaat to have a frank discussion about the events of 1971, Jamaat’s role in those events, and why it decided to support Pakistan and to apologise for that decision… But all my efforts have been unsuccessful. My decades of advice had fallen on deaf ears.”
Furthermore, Abdur Razzaq said one of his main objectives when joining Jamaat was to reform it from within. Over the past 30 years, he has advocated structural reforms as well as the full and effective participation of women, among other measures to bring the party in line with successful and modern models implemented in other Muslim majority countries.
“I appealed to bring fundamental changes to Jamaat’s objectives, plans, and programs in view of the change in world politics, and particularly, the upheavals in Muslim countries. As usual, there was no response,” he said.
Abdur Razzaq held the position of assistant secretary general of Jamaat. He has also defended a number of top Jamaat leaders in court as chief defence council.