Jamaat reformists to announce new political initiative

Staff Correspondent . Dhaka | Update:

Pro-reform leaders within Jamaat-e-Islami will announce their fresh political initiative on 27 April and have finalised a declaration in this regard. Meanwhile, central leaders of the party are taking measures to ensure no one from the main party or from its student front Chhatra Shibir join the programme.

Those involved in the new initiative have said they are not directly going to announce a new party at the moment. They will not follow Islam or religion-based parties in their new initiative, but will place importance more on equality and human rights.

It has been learnt that Mujibur Rahman (Manju), recently expelled from Jamaat-e-Islami, is at the forefront of this process. He had at one time been the central president of Islami Chhatra Shibir and later a member of Jamaat’s central majlis-e-sura.

Mujibur Rahman is to announce the new political initiative at a press conference to also be attended by eminent persons as guests or observers.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Mujibur Rahman said, “I envisage new politics of people’s aspirations, good governance and people’s rights. This will reflect the mindset and thoughts of the new generation.”

The reformists say that Jamaat leaders at various levels are going all out to thwart their initiative. They are keeping a sharp watch to ensure the party leaders and activists do not join this process and are ready to take disciplinary action if they do so. They have already summoned at least 50 leaders and members of Jamaat and Shibir in Dhaka, Chittagong. Sylhet and Rajshahi and have warned them in this regard. Some among these leaders are reportedly joining the reform process.

Jamaat sources have said that the party’s central secretary general Shafiqur Rahman has gone to London via Malaysia in an effort to prevent the reformists from forming a new party. There are large number of Jamaat leaders, workers and supporters in these two countries who are in favour of reforms. Shafiqur Rahman travelled to Malaysia last week in this regard where he addressed several informal meetings and spoke against the reformists. He is presently in London. Incidentally, Abdus Razzak, the leader who recently resigned from Jamaat, has been residing in London from beforehand.

Prior to his Malaysia trip, Shafiqur Rahman had been in Saudia Arabia. He met with party leaders there too and cautioned them against the reformists. After he returned, pro-reformist Jamaat leader Shahjahan Chowdhury then went to Saudi Arabia too. He has reportedly long been pushed to one side in the party.

Concerning his sudden London trip, Shafiqur Rahman told Prothom Alo that he is in London on a visit. When asked if he was there to prevent the reformists’ move, he said, “That’s the first time I have heard about this.”

Differences have cropped up within Jamaat in recent times over reforms and also over whether or not to apologise to the nation for opposing the liberation war. This led to the party’s influential leader and senior assistant secretary general Abdur Razzak resigning from the party and also the expulsion of Mujibur Rahman.

Jamaat’s senior leadership is wary of Abdur Razzak and Mujibur Rahman.

A special programme was arranged in London on 12 April to celebrate Abdur Razzak’s 40 years in the legal profession. Directives were issued barring anyone one from the party to join the event. Prior to that, on 25 March, Mujibur Rahman was part of a programme at the national press club honouring those killed in the terrorist attack on the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. There, too, Jamaat leaders were asked not to attend. 

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