M Ayub Munir
In a country which has a list of unresolved problems, this issue has provided electronic and print media with a topic of interest. After nabbing NP and JIBD central leaders, Hasina government has arrested Professor Ghulam Azam under same false pretext. If the human rights violations remain unchecked by international body, BD government may create many more problems for itself. It is a known reality that, outside India, Hasina wajed is a trustworthy ally to New Delhi, no matter in power or in opposition.
Awami League government nabbed Salahuddin Qadir Chaudhry and Abdulaleem alleging them of collaborating with Pakistan Army during 1970, later on Moteeur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojaheed were arrested under same charges.
Now, 89-year-old Professor Ghulam Azam has also been arrested to defend himself in front of the International Crimes Court. Would justice prevail, this is a question for the conscience of Bangladeshi people and ruling and opposition parties as Professor Ghulam Azam is a very important political leader in Bangladesh.
Highly revered by the Islam-loving people of the country, he has been the prime target of physical and intellectual assaults of the secular quarter of the society. He was the prime organiser of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh and one of the key players of most of the historic events of the nation including the Language Movement, movement for democracy in the 60s and 80s. He presented the caretaker government formula which became a foundation stone of our democracy.
He was born in November 7, 1922 at Lakxmi Bazar Shah Shaheb Bari in Dhaka, the house of his maternal grandfather, the late Shah Shaheb. He received his masters in political science from Dhaka University.
Professor Ghulam Azam played a leading role in the Language Movement of the country. In November 1948, he submitted a memorandum to the prime minister of Pakistan on behalf of the students of Dhaka University demanding the state language status for Bangla.
The movement continued, he was arrested in charge of the movement in 1952 and 1955, and, at a stage, the government had to declare Bangla as a state language of Pakistan.
Professor Ghulam Azam was a practicing Muslim from his childhood. He came in touch with the political and cultural thinking of Islam through a cultural organisation named 'Tamaddun Mozlish'. Being a teacher of Political Science in Rangpur Kermichle College, he established a branch of 'Tamaddun Majlish' in Rangpur in 1952.
His quest for leading the life of a complete Muslim took him to Tablig Jamaat. He was the chief of Tablig Jamaat of Rangpur for the period of 1951-1954. His separate experiences with 'Tamaddun Majlish' and 'Tablig Jamaat' increased his longing for an organisation that could cover both the spiritual and sociopolitical aspects of Islam, so he laid the foundation of Jamaat-e-Islami at last.
He became secretary general to Jamaat-e-Islami East Pakistan in 1957 and was jailed in 1964 by the military ruler Ayub Khan. He played a key role in the formation of Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) in 1967. It was all party democratic resistance movement against the military rule of Ayub Khan. He was the secretary general to the Executive Committee of PDM’s East Pakistan Wing. He became the chief of East Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami in 1969.
Like all other Islamic parties and groups, he did not support the Liberation War of Bangladesh. The reason for not supporting the Liberation War of 1971 was that he did not believe that independence from Pakistan would solve their problem.
He believed in self-rule or autonomy and continued to campaign in favour of that. He was against the Liberation War because, according to him, it was fully controlled by India and, therefore, gaining independence with India's support could have resulted in the country being indirectly ruled by India. He feared that India would become a bully and would do everything to dominate the politics and economy of the country.
Soon after the liberation, the new government started its campaign for uprooting Islam and democracy from Bangladesh. The government deleted the word 'Muslim' and 'Islam' from the names of educational institutes, banned Islam-based politics and arrested and tortured noted Islamic leaders and scholars. Professor Ghulam Azam's very citizenship was canceled and he had to spend his life in exile till 1978.
He was declared the Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1991. He was sent to jail in 1992 and later the court issued his release orders while the Supreme Court reinstated his citizenship in 1994.
He left active politics in 2000 and, currently, he was there to provide guidance to the Islamic thinker and politicians of Bangladesh.
Keeping Prof Azam’s clean political and social life in view and analysing his contribution to the prosperity and development of Bangladesh, it is needed that such a respectable and seasoned politician should be released.
Keeping in view the long detention of Nelson Mandela and Aan San Suchi, BD authorities should learn a lesson and should not open another Pandora Box by humiliating towering Bangladeshi personalities like Prof Ghulam Azam and Motiur Rahman Nizami.
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The State of Democracy and Political Freedom in Bangladesh [+]