‘BNP not with Jamaat on ICT repeal demand’

A senior BNP leader says that his party does not support Jamaat-e-Islami’s demand to repeal the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), set up to try the suspected war criminals of 1971.

Tariqul Islam, the acting spokesperson of the main opposition party, told a press briefing on Monday, “I want to clearly state that BNP is not connected on principal to Jamaat’s demand for abolishing the ICT as well as its campaign for an end to the trial of war criminals. Being at one with that demand is out of the question.”

The BNP leader, however, pointed out that the main opposition party believes that the ongoing trials are not being conducted in a ‘transparent’ manner.

The activists of the islamist party and it’s student wing Chhatra Shibir have been staging violent attacks on law enforcers across the country, and taking part in various acts of vandalism for several months. They are demanding that the war crimes tribunals be abolished and their top leaders who are currently facing war crime charges be released. They enforced the latest countrywide shutdown on 31st January with these demands and the BNP had supported the strike.

Clarifying the party’s stance on supporting the strike called by Jamaat, Islam said, “We supported the strike since Jamaat-e-Islami was not allowed to stage programmes. BNP believes that a political party has the democratic and constitutional rights to stage rallies and carry out programmes.”

When his attention was drawn to that fact that Jamaat enforced the strike in demand of repealing the war crimes trials and the release of those who are held because of the trial he said, “That is not correct. We said in our statement the reasons why we supported the shutdown. Joint General Secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced the statement.”

“BNP wants the trial of war criminals,” he added.

He said the trials will have to meet the international standards and “cannot just be an implementation of the ruling party’s agenda”.

“International organisation the Human Rights Watch said these trials are controversial. We also demanded that the trials be made transparent and accountable. We are emphasising on transparency since they are not being held transparently”, Islam told journalists at the party’s headquarters in Naya Paltan on Monday.

‘Conspiracy to crack coalition’

He said, BNP has been staging campaigns ahead of the general elections. BNP was in state power three times before and also wants to come to power this time. So the party is making preparations for the elections alongside the campaigns.

The BNP leader acknowledged that there were fears that the government might have intentions to break the opposition alliance ahead of the next general election, but he was confident that “no damage can be done”.

He said, “BNP will not suffer if one or two constituents are taken away from the 18-party alliance. BNP will not suffer just like the Bay of Bengal does not suffer when two or four buckets of water gets taken away.”

“Jamaat-e-Islami is part of the 18-party alliance and will remain one”, Tariqul said.

He said: “It is also possible for the ruling coalition to break. Two or three political parties may choose to get out of it. Time will tell.”

He said there were rumours of the BNP splitting during Ershad’s rule in 1986 and also during caretaker government’s tenure in 2007, “Nothing can be gained by means of conspiracies. BNP is made stronger by them.” Bdnews24.com

Leave a Reply