Govt to ban Jamaat on ‘consensus’

A national consensus may set off the government to ban Jamaat-e-Islami and its student front Islami Chhatra Shibir from politics, an Awami League leader said on Tuesday.

Joint General Secretary Mahbub-Ul Alam Hanif’s comment on the widely discussed topic that the political parties accused of war crimes during 1971 should be banned came during a press conference at his party President’s Dhanmondi office.

The government may step in to outlaw such the parties only if that is what the people want, he added.

“If demanded by the people of the country, the government has the right to implement the decision taken by the people.”

Hanif was replying to the question whether Jamaat could be banned for the spate of violence it has unleashed over the past few months.

“But, it requires a national consensus,” he added. “The country’s major opposition party, the BNP, is still patronising Jamaat and Shibir. There will be a lot of obstacles if such a decision is to be taken without national consensus under the circumstances.”

The International Crimes Tribunal in its first verdict recently said evidence proved Jamaat-e-Islami had assisted the Pakistan army by raising ‘armed forces’ during the War of Independence in the name of protecting Pakistan.

The verdict sentenced former Jamaat leader Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu Razakar to death for crimes against humanity.

Hanif castigated the BNP for forging alliance with Jamaat.

“The entire country is concerned after witnessing the violence the Jamaat and Shibir had unleashed (Monday). But we have not seen the BNP concerned at all.”

“Rather, the leader of the opposition sat in a meeting with them in the evening.”

Jamaat supporters resorted to violent demonstrations across the country once again on Monday after a pause of several days to force the government to release its top leaders standing trial at the ICT for alleged war crimes.

The demonstration includes sudden attacks on police that injured at least 21 in Dhaka, including the Motijheel Police Station’s Officer in-Charge Hayatuzzaman.

At least five vehicles were set alight only in the capital while more than 200 were vandalised countrywide as the violence raged.

Media reports suggest, while visiting an injured police officer at Rajarbagh Police Hospital, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Benazir Ahmed ordered police to shoot at Shibir activists on sight.

Asked why the Awami League was hesitant despite enjoying a two-thirds majority in Parliament, Hanif said, “Law cannot be passed all the time merely based on majority.”

Replying to a question whether the administration failed to prevent Jamaat and Shibir from running riot, Hanif said, “I think the law-enforcing agency is being patient in dealing with the situation. So I would not call it a failure.”

He, however, thought Jamaat and Shibir taking out processions and holding rallies in the areas banned for political activities amounts to some failure on the part of the law enforcers deployed there.

“The law-enforcing agencies have been ordered to resist any such violence in future with full force.”

Asked about the government’s plan of action against those financing the parties, he said, “Right at the moment the government is only concerned about execution of the war crimes trial. Stern action will be ensured gradually against the organsiations funding militancy.”

Janata Bank Chairman Abul Barakat recently suggested confiscating and nationalising all financial institutions tied to

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