Jamaat ban plea in HC cause list

An old petition seeking cancellation of Jamaat-e-Islami’s registration, two of whose leaders have already been convicted by the war crimes tribunals for their role in the 1971 Liberation War, has been added to the High Court’s cause list.

The plea appeared in the cause list of the bench headed by Justice M Moazzam Husain Thursday.

On Jan 27 2009, the High Court issued a rule following filing of a petition jointly by 25 people, including Bangladesh Tariqat Federation’s Secretary General Syed Rezaul Haque Chandpuri, Jaker Party’s Secretary General Munshi Abdul Latif and Sammilita Islami Jote’s President Maulana Ziaul Hasan.

It asked the Election Commission to explain why the party’s registration should not be declared illegal and in violation of the law.

The court rule specifically mentioned sections 90 B(1) and B(2), and 90(C) of the Representation of the People’s Order (RPO).

Jamaat’s chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed and the Election Commission Secretary were given six weeks to reply to the rule.

Later, the rule was shifted to the bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudury but after partial hearing, the bench’s authority to hear the matter further was altered.

Barrister Tania Ameer, representing the plaintiffs, confirmed bdnews24.com that their petition had been added to the court’s cause list.

“There were no court proceedings today (Thursday). It will be known on the next working day as to when the court will start hearing the matter,” she said.

Responding to a query, she said the defendants had not yet filed a reply to the rule since it was issued in 2009. During the hearing of the petition, Khandaker Mahbub Hossain and Barrister Abdur Razzaq had filed power of attorney on behalf of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Ameer said.

The petition argues on four points why the Islamist party’s registration must be cancelled.

The first argument is that the Jamaat in principle does not recognise people as the source of all powers as well as the undisputed power of the people’s representatives to make laws.

Secondly, the RPO prohibits registration of communal parties, and ‘it is clear from the acts and beliefs of the Jamaat that it is a communal party’.

Thirdly, the party discriminates on grounds of religion or gender. Jamaat’s charter does not allow any woman or non-Muslim to hold its top post.

And fourthly, no party is allowed to have its main organisation abroad. But the Jamaat is a unit of a foreign organisation. They claim their birth was in India and that they have units all over the world.

“The chief of Jamaat-e-Islami’s Indonesia unit has been sentenced to death in connection with the Bali bombing, and Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan is also involved with various terrorist activities,” Ameer alleged.

In the wake of recent public outcry seeking a ban on the Islamist party, the plaintiffs took their plea forward for hearing. Ameer said the Chief Justice later fixed a bench to hear the matter.

She said there were remote possibilities that the party would be banned as a result of their petition, but a verdict in favour would be considered as ‘progress’ towards the ultimate goal to ban the Jamaat. The barrister said the core matter of their plea was that the party was not worthy of getting licence.

“Apart from these, the Jamaat is also guilty of other offences,” she claimed.

The lawyer said the International Crimes Tribunals of Bangladesh should take measures against the party for crimes committed during the nation’s War of Liberation. She said steps could be taken against the party under the Anti-Terrorism Act for its acts of terror.

The government recently amended the Act, under which the war crimes trials were being conducted, to incorporate a provision allowing trial of parties or organisations for their role in the Liberation War. bdnews24.com

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