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Former leaders to float new party, Jamaat says ‘not worried’

  • Published at 12:47 am April 27th, 2019
File photo of Mojibur Rahman Monju Collected

Initially, the proposed organization will be called Jono Aakankhyar Bangladesh (Bangladesh of the people’s expectation), but will get another name later on

In an interesting turn of events, former leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami, including those expelled for demanding its reformation, are all set to float a new political party on Saturday.

Initially, the proposed organization will be called Jono Aakankhyar Bangladesh (Bangladesh of the people’s expectation), but will get another name later on.

Jamaat’s expelled leader Mojibur Rahman Monju, who will primarily remain at the front line of the party, will announce the move officially at a press briefing today morning in Dhaka.

Jamaat, which lost its registration as a political party before the 11th general election, removed Monju as a member of its Dhaka metropolitan unit’s policymaking body Majlis-e-Shura, on February 15, for demanding a reform within the party.

Monju, who will be the convener of the new party, said the party will be formed neither based on religion, nor on any ideology following a certain theory.

“We will clearly reveal our principles for the organization in the media briefing,” he told the Dhaka Tribune last evening.

He went on to say that the organization will have units all over the country, but did not disclose how many leaders and activists will be in the party at the outset.

Discussing the topic of Jamaat leaders and activists joining the new organization, he said: “We are in touch with only those who willingly contacted us.

“We are not voluntarily communicating with anybody.” 

Monju, however, said that they had heard complaints from former Jamaat leaders and activists that they were facing ‘pressure’ from Jamaat.

“But we are not worried about that,” concluded Monju, a former president of the Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat.

When contacted, Matiur Rahman Akand, organizing secretary of Jamaat, said they too were aware of the development, and believed that it will not affect the party.

“We came to know from media outlets that they (expelled and reformist leaders) are going to form a new organization - something anybody can do as per the constitution,” he said.

Replying to a query as to whether the new party will manage to rope in Jamaat leaders and activists, he brushed aside any such possibility.

“That is nothing to be worried about either,” said Akand, adding that Jamaat is committed to operating on its own ideology.

Hence, anybody opposing or failing to maintain that ideology can walk their own path, he said. 

On a separate note, he said Jamaat does not have any reformists, as the party itself believes in and wants reforms to take place.

Jamaat, which is accused of helping Pakistani occupation forces in the Liberation War, suffered a major blow when its former assistant secretary general Barrister Abdur Razzaq quit on February 15.

Razzaq had attributed his decision to the party’s failure to apologize to the Bangladeshi people for its anti-independence role during the Liberation War.

Jamaat failing to adopt successful models of reform that have been implemented in other Muslim majority countries was another reason for his resignation, he had claimed.

A day after his resignation, Jamaat issued a nationwide emergency notice ordering its leaders and activists not to follow in the former assistant secretary general’s footsteps.

The notice also announced that the Jamaat would form a new party with the aim of regaining its registration with the Election Commission.

Since February 15, at least six Jamaat leaders have stepped down, with Monju ousted from the party for seconding the demand in a Facebook post, hours after Razzak’s resignation.

Jamaat, the controversial party which lost its registration by a High Court order on October 29, 2018, obtained 693,077 votes in 22 constituencies in the December 30 polls, the lowest since the 7th parliamentary election in 1996.

The figure accounts for just around 0.87% of the total votes cast.

The party rejected the results of 11th general election held on December 30 alleging ‘massive vote rigging’ across the country. Jamaat Secretary General Dr Shafiqur Rahman announced the party’s decision during the voting hours.