The inevitable aftermath of politics devoid of ideals

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January 10, 2019

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By Mahmudur Rahman

My association with politics started from the year 2007. Any knowledgeable reader who has kept track of the activities of a simple person like me, might protest this statement, claiming that I am not telling the truth, since I got involved with the government by joining the National Investment Board as its Executive Chairman since November 2001. I would humbly like to state that I had joined the erstwhile government as a technocrat. My work was confined to the official economic sphere. Neither did the erstwhile Prime Minister Begun Khaleda Zia involve me with the proceedings of her political party the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), nor did she ask me any advice regarding any political matter. It was on the eve of the treacherous army takeover under the leadership of General Moin, and the ensuing danger to freedom of the country, that I entered politics as a means of protest. My stint as a writer also began from that point in time.

I am a disciple of Shaheed Zia’s ideology of Bangladeshi nationalism. From the time I joined politics, I have never strayed from following the path of that ideology, and neither have I sought to gain any favour from my association with it. Neither have I accepted any temporary or cheap alternative in its place. Upholding the belief, culture and virtue of a Bengali Musulman, I have many a time taken a position against the tide. The 1/11 government had been initially able to trick the people about its motives and had attained some measure of popularity. A majority of the BNP leadership at the time had stooped low and were running from door to door to beg for mercy from the military backed administration. Many had fled from the country. The so-called ‘Iron Lady’ Sheikh Hasina herself had fled to America and the UK at the time. Even at that dark time, I had written in Naya Diganta in protest against General Moin’s ‘Father of the Nation’ ideology, titled ‘Father of the Nation nationally and abroad’ (February, 2007). I had refused to accept Sheikh Mujib as the Father of the nation then, and I refuse to do so even now.

Through my columns at the Amar Desh newspaper, I continued to expose the true face of the Delhi-backed puppet government of Sheikh Hasina in Bangladesh, which had been installed in lieu of the collaboration of the military backed government with the Indian-American-Israeli lobby. I published news on the corruption of the anti-Islamic secular government within one year of their attaining power. Many senior leaders within the BNP at the time called me out as brash and foolhardy for my writings. They asked me what was the need of so much criticism of the government at the paper in its very first year? It was too much! In the beginning, I began by exposing, to the people, the true face of the corrupt and government-puppet high court. After a case was filed citing contempt of court, many BNP leaders, lawyers and policymakers had pressured me into seeking pardon for my comments, but I stood my ground and did not flinch from my moral position one bit. Despite facing inhuman torture at the hands of police, I stood my ground at the appeals court, and stated that I would not seek any pardon, since what I had said was perfectly true.

After information on the 2012 Skype scandal reached me, I did not hesitate one bit in publishing about it, after verifying the truth behind the information. I did not fear any threats or intimidations from the government, the judiciary, or from Delhi for that matter. In 2013, despite the uninhibited weight of national-international media behind the Delhi backed project-the Gonojagoron Moncho in Shahbag, Amar Desh (Mahmudur Rahman’s newspaper) challenged this project alone. Despite knowing that I would be subject to hatred from the Islam-hating city-based middle class, I still covered the events with the title – Footsteps of Fascism in Shahbag. The easy-going leaders in the BNP were enraged again. They had been planning to take Begum Zia to Shahbag at the time. They were then of the belief that without the blessings of India, they would be unable to come to the helm of power. Everyone was ready and united to throw the ideology of Shaheed Zia out of the window. They were thinking that Delhi would be happy if they joined Gonojagoron. The notions of a secular BNP began to take its roots within the party.

I attained freedom from jail on 23 November, 2016. In the meantime, the fake elections of 2014 had already passed, and BNP had failed to unseat the fascist government through the mass-movements of 2014 and 2015. In my second stint of jail term spanning four years, I had the opportunity to have political discussions with a lot of leaders and members of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami. I noted with alarm that a lot of the senior leadership of BNP were blaming Begum Zia for boycotting the farcical elections of 2014. Defending Begum Zia’s decision as being the right choice, I have tirelessly argued with them, and as a result have become undesirable in their eyes. From within the confines of the jail, I was beginning to clearly discern BNP’s unmistakable slide towards a pro-Indian position. After getting out of Kashempur (name of a prison in Dhaka), I understood that the pro-Indian group within the BNP had been successful in influencing even the senior most leadership within the party. My strong uncompromising stance against India at various seminars and discussion panels had made them restless. It came to a point where even Begum Zia began to indicate to me to be more restrained on speaking out on issues of Islam and India. It was alleged that India and the United States were becoming irritated against the BNP because of me. I have tried to convince Begum Zia that Delhi will never bring her to power in the place of Sheikh Hasina. The connections between the Sheikh family and the intelligence agencies of India and the Delhi establishment are deep and go back a long way right from the days of Pakistan. Whether BJP or Congress, whoever is in the seat of power in Delhi, the Sheikh family and Awami League are their allies. In light of the geopolitical realities of the 21st century, America will also not go against the wishes India in supporting any political party in Bangladesh. Moreover, in terms of Islamophobia, Sheikh Hasina, Hindutva India and the Zionist white supremacists are complement each other. BNP has to continue its fight by uniting the majority of Bangladesh under its aegis. It is mentionable that in the policymaking forums of BNP, my political stance has been labelled utopian and foolhardy. At one point of time, I observed that I was being kept out of the intellectual forum of the party. The opportunist and pro-Indian so-called intellectuals of 1/11 began to crowd around the Gulshan premises of the Chairperson. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Alamgir and Standing Committee member Amir Khusru Mahmud Chowdhury began to lead this new bloc of BNP intellectuals. This new bloc of intellectuals has put BNP on the track to elections in a premature fashion on the advice of India. Even though I knew the BNP leadership has ceased to listen to my advice, I nonetheless tried my utmost to bring them back to the track of Ziaur Rahman’s ideology. All my attempts have failed. In the meantime, the pro-Indian agent group within the BNP has already begun implementing the blue print set up to grant legitimacy to Sheikh Hasina’s illegitimate rule. By continuously propagating the hyped-up slogan that boycotting the 2014 elections was a wrong decision, they have even weakened Begum Zia’s resolve mentally and psychologically. I would like to share an incident from personal experience in this regard.

I was forced to journey throughout the length and breadth of Bangladesh for appearing at court due to my numerous old and new 125 court cases. In one such court appearance, I had gone to Dinajpur. At the court, I ran into Akhtaruzzaman, a BNP ex-parliamentary member from one of the parliamentary seats at Dinajpur. A gentleman, he always tries to keep abreast of the BNP leaders-members of his area. At one point of discussing about politics, he said that Begun Zia had committed a huge mistake in boycotting the 2014 elections, and that if BNP were to boycott the 2018 elections as well, it would spell the end of the BNP. I tried my best to convince him that Sheikh Hasina should not be given legitimacy. It was useless. He forcefully stated that the BNP Secretary General and all the election candidates were for participating in the elections. On that day, I became convinced that suicidal politics within the BNP had festered and become untreatable. The morally corrupt opportunistic bloc within BNP had successfully confused the rank and file of the party. I do not know if Akhtaruzzaman had attained candidacy in this farcical election, or whether, if he has attained candidacy, he has been able to save his election deposit money by garnering enough votes. I do not even have the desire to want to know such news. I just wonder about the huge loss to the party and the country due the faulty beliefs of experienced and root level politicians like Akhtaruzzaman. I imagine that it is not just Aktaruzzaman who has single handedly set foot into this quicksand trap through the faulty decision to take part in the elections, many leaders at various levels in the BNP have made the same mistake. And it is not just the BNP, but Jamaat-e-Islami is living in the same fool’s paradise. That participation in the election is a must, this madness has trumped all considerations within Jamaat, resulting in a grab for election participation under the paddy sheaf symbol of the BNP, despite Jamaat itself having no electoral registration. The simple truth that Delhi and Sheikh Hasina will not even give Jamaat one seat has eluded the leadership of Jamaat. What should I call this strategy – foolhardiness, opportunistic, or simply stupidity?

The lack of self-confidence within the BNP leadership is clear from the recruitment of leaders from outside BNP. Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul expended a lot of effort in bringing in former Awami League leaders into the Oikyo Front coalition and went to contest elections under the leadership of Dr. Kamal Hossain. I have tried to find the reason behind why the BNP required the likes of Dr. Kamal, Kader Siddiqui, ASM Rob, Mahmudur Rahman Manna, etc. The BNP, in order to please the Indo-American nexus, tried as much as possible to shed their imagined Islamic garb. I believe that this move may also explain why the BNP tried to recruit one time Awami League leaders. Nor is there any reason to doubt that the initiative by the BNP Secretary General received complete support from Begum Zia and Tareq Rahman. It is interesting to note that the policymaking body of BNP is full of those who are highly secular in their personal lives. Unfortunately, the reason behind the sticking of the Islamic label on their backs was due to the founding ideology of Bangladeshi nationalism by the party founder, and the BNP’s electoral alliance with Jamaat-e-Islami. It is surprising to note that although the party leadership did not sever its ties with Jamaat-e-Islami, the same leadership did not hesitate to abandon Ziaur Rahman. The name of Ziaur Rahman did not once escape Dr. Kamal’s lips, not before the election, and neither after it. Seating Mirza Fakhrul beside him, he readily praised the first killer of democracy in Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. While outside the country, I heard that the policymaking body of the BNP had heatedly debated whether to keep ‘Bismillahir Rahmanur Rahim’ (In the name of God, the Merciful, the Benevolent) in the text of the election manifesto. The Islam-hating nature of the Awami League is well known and goes back quite a long way. Sheikh Hasina can readily work to remove “Absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah” from the constitution on a mere whim. However, it is difficult to conceive that, following her example, the BNP leadership is having a dilemma with the name of Allah.

The bankruptcy of current BNP politics during election time was clear from the interview given by Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul to an Indian newspaper. He admitted with ease that BNP had eagerly tried to sit in a meeting at Bangkok with the Secretary General of current ruling party in India, the Hindutva BJP, but had failed due to indifference from the other side. Moreover, it is said that even the people at the embassy of India in Dhaka refuse to give any importance to the BNP. Earlier, Humayun Kabir, personal aide to Tareq Rahman, Standing Committee member Amir Khusru and Vice Chairman Abdul Awwal Mintu had gone to India, and openly criticized the politics of Begun Zia and Ziaur Rahman in a shameless attempt at gaining the favour of Delhi. It is expected that a party lacking morals and self-respect would not receive respect anywhere, nationally or internationally.

As per information from the online news outlets, Sheikha Hasina has granted a total of 7 constituencies to the BNP and Gonoforum as charity. Among those attaining these constituencies as charity, there is Mirza Fakhrul Alamgir too. However, instead of being granted his home ground seat in Thakurgaon, he was declared as the winner from Begum Zia’s constituency in Bogura. I had earlier, more than once, warned of the fate of those who would be participating in the elections under Sheikh Hasina’s government- the number of constituencies and who would win from the opposition party would be decided together by Sheikh Hasina and Indian intelligence agency RAW. My fears have turned into reality. Regarding the seven seats given to the opposition, two old facts come to mind. The history of farcical elections in Bangladesh began in 1973. Sheikh Mujib, the father of BNP-legitimized fascist Sheikh Hasina, had similarly given 7 seats to the opposition while showing the Awami League winners in the remaining 293 seats. In that election, Oikyo Front’s Dr. Kamal had also won a constituency on the ticket of Awami League. The daughter of Sheikh Mujib has fulfilled the ideology of her father word by word. Here, the number of seats, seven, is not a coincidence, but deliberate. Questions have risen among the people as to whether the BNP Jamaat leadership have the ability to face such fearful fascism. The second incident is from 1991. In an interview given to an Indian newspaper before the elections, Sheikh Hasina predicted that she would become the Prime Minister and Jatiya Party’s General Ershad would be in the second position. Her opinion on the BNP was that the party would merely receive about ten seats. I believe that Sheikh Hasina clearly remembers these words of hers. She has kept her word. In the farcical elections of the 30th of December, Jatiya Party has come second with 22 constituencies. And BNP hasn’t attained 10 seats, even after recruiting Dr. Kamal. The process which the Bangladesh military started in 2007 through sacrificing the country’s freedom to India, has been completed by Sheikh Hasina on 30th December 2018, with help from BNP-Jamaat. The patriotic army, like during the Plassey tragedy, continued to watch motionless as the seal was stamped on the document of subservience. It had taken 190 years to reclaim the independence of Bengal and India. I will perhaps not live long enough to see how many years it will take us to attain our independence. But I still dream of reclaiming independence and want to live out my life with this dream. I reiterate what I have said many times in the past to the people of Bangladesh. No one willingly gives you your freedom or right. It is only won after a lot of struggle, and at the cost of a lot of lives. I pray to the Almighty Allah that subservience does not turn into a habit of the people of this land.

On a different note: Since the afternoon before the day of election, two government leaning TV channels, Shomoy and DBC, without any relevance whatsoever, unleashed an information war against me. They broadcast a minute or so long audio claiming that I had met some ISI agent while performing Umrah in 2017. The Indian-puppet regime and the TV authorities can best explain why this one-year old incident had suddenly become relevant now.

I listened to the audio. A person called Mehmud had called me to get an appointment with me. In response I said that I would leave Medina the next day. So, he must come that very day if he still wanted to meet me. If anyone listens to the audio s/he will understand that I didn’t know this Mehmud person and I had never met him before. Now, what is the proof that this person named Mehmud wasn’t an agent of Indian intelligence RAW or CIA? I had met countless people in Mecca and Medina. All of them are Muslims by default since only Muslims are allowed to enter into those two sacred cities. People know me at home and abroad and I enjoy being in people’s company. Talking to them is a learning and inspiring experience to me. I never object to meet with anyone visiting me. If that unknown gentleman’s name was Modi instead of Mehmud I would still have met him with same eagerness. In no way could I know who is the agent of whom.

A more interesting note is that the news outlets claimed that I met that Mehmud person on behalf of BNP permanent committee member Khandokar Mosharraf. Dude, although Khadokar Mosharraf and I both hail from Comilla’s Daudkandi, it is well known to Begum Khaleda Zia and many others within BNP that we don’t see eye to eye. During the 2001-06 tenure of BNP, Khandokar Mosharraf had complained to Begum Zia against me. We exchanged uncomfortable exchanges between us. An even bigger fact is that I am extremely independent minded, and a stubborn person. It is not characteristic of me that I would talk to a foreign agent on behalf of someone else. By now my countrymen have known me enough to clearly understand this much about me. Thus, it is better if the concerned people refrain from such fake propaganda.

Lastly, I heard Bangladesh has enacted some digital security law. Are such fake phone conversation leaks deemed a criminal offense under the digital law? I wonder what the fate of these channel authorities will be when this authoritarian regime will collapse. You people cannot stop me from my struggle against fascism and Indian hegemony by unleashing such campaigns based on fake news. The real patriotic people of Bangladesh will always be on my side insha Allah.

1 January 2019

Editor, The Daily Amar Desh