Jamaat politics under iftar cover against war crimes trial

Rakib Hasnet Suman/The Daily Star August 4, 2012

Jamaat-e-Islami now appears to go on with a revised strategy to take advantage of the month of Ramadan to conduct a countrywide campaign against the government and also the ongoing war crimes trial.

The party opted for organising iftar parties-discussion meetings following its failed bid to launch street agitation in the name of “welcoming holy Ramadan”, sources in the political arena said.

Jamaat and its associated bodies will hold at least 500 such iftar parties across the country till the end of Ramadan where party central leaders will speak as chief guest, according to Jamaat insiders.

Pro-Jamaat student body Islami Chhatra Shibir had earlier tried to bring out processions in different areas of the country on July 19 welcoming the advent of Ramadan that began on July 21. Party leaders alleged that police intercepted the processions everywhere.

Jamaat then revised its strategy and took up the present programme considering it the best way to strengthen the party and to step up the campaign against the government, and detention and trial of its top leaders.

Party leaders including Ghulam Azam, Motiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed are now in jail and are being tried on charges of war crimes.

Asked about the iftar parties-discussion meetings, Jamaat leader and lawmaker Hamidur Rahman Azad, however, said these are routine activities of the party and all its units. “We always organise such programmes during Ramadan,” he added.

The party started its present programme by holding an iftar party in honour of the foreign diplomats in Dhaka on July 22, the second day of Ramadan.

Jamaat’s Nayeb-e-Ameer AKM Nazir Ahmad made a brief speech before the diplomats, saying that the party’s top leaders were detained and put on trial under a black law, and they were being tortured.

“Everything the government is doing in the name of trial of war criminals is against international rules and regulations,” he said.

Asked to explain, Nazir advised this correspondent to talk to Azad, and said, “Brother I am a sick person. Sometimes I attend a few programmes, nothing else.”

And Islami Chhatra Shibir organised an iftar party a few days ago at a city hotel.

Taking part in the discussion there, Jamaat and Shibir leaders bitterly criticised the government “for failing to run the country.”