Mahboob Ar Rahman
Election Commission in Bangladesh has declared December 23 as the election day, when the country is scheduled to elect a new government. The current Awami League (AL) led Islamist-socialist coalition government is in power since 2009. Major opposition, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotted the 2014 general election because of pressure from its coalition partner – Jamaat e Islami Bangladesh (JIB), a notoriously antisemitic and radical Islamic political party with the past track record of collaborating in genocide as well participating in terrorism. According to counter-terrorism experts, JIB is funded by Arab sources and has been spreading it’s radical Islamic agenda in Bangladesh as well as other nations, including the West for many years. In United States, JIB operates a number of organizations, which also are accused of preaching radical Islam and jihad. As per documents, Bangladesh Nationalist Party is known for its unconditional support towards terror outfits such as Hezbollah and Hamas, while it upholds anti-West and pro-Riyadh agenda.
Senior Vice Chairman of BNP, Tarique Rahman is living in self-exile in UK as he is wanted in a number of criminal cases in Bangladesh while he also had been convicted by the local courts in several cases. In personal life, Tarique is known as the most corrupt figure in Bangladesh, who has created a circle of friends comprising notorious criminals and corrupts. During BNP’s tenure (between 1991-1996 and 2001-2006), Tarique Rahman was seen as the defecto Prime Minister of Bangladesh, who was running a parallel office alongside his mother Khaleda Zia’s office. Tarique’s mother was the Prime Minister during those tenures. Although this party proclaims to be promoting democracy, in reality, BNP itself does not practice democracy within the party and it has – by and large – become a family venture of the Zia Dynasty.
Recently BNP has formed a new front named Jatiyo Oikya Prokkriya (National Unity Process) under the leadership of eminent jurist Dr. Kamal Hossain.
Biography of Dr. Kamal Hossain:
Born on April 20, 1937, Dr. Hossain is the founder and president of the Gano Forum political party and convener of the National Unity Process, a political initiative supported by most Bangladeshi opposition parties. A former academic, he has practiced international law. In 1981, The New York Times compared Hossain to Adlai Stevenson.
Educated at the University of Notre Dame in Bangladesh and the Oxford University, he was called to the bar of England and Wales in Lincoln’s Inn in 1959. Hossain enrolled as an advocate in the High Court of East Pakistan. He worked on cases with prominent Pakistani lawyers, including Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy and Mian Mahmud Ali Kasuri, early in his legal career.
Mian Mahmud Ali Kasuri, who also is the father-in-law of Dr. Kamal Hossain was a prominent Pakistani politician. He served in the Indian National Congress Party before Pakistan’s creation, as well as the All-India Muslim League; and subsequently formed the Azad Pakistan Party before becoming one of the founders of the National Awami Party (NAP), briefly serving as the party President. As a pro-Moscow and anti-US lawyer, Kasuri was a recipient of the Stalin Peace Prize as well as serving on the Russell Tribunal, created by Bertrand Russell for trying American war crimes in Vietnam.
Dr. Kamal Hossain often worked on habeas corpuscases during the Ayub Khan regime. Between 1961 and 1968, he taught law at Dhaka University. Hossain was the legal counsel of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Awami League during the Agartala Conspiracy Case, and was elected vice-chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council in 1970. In 1971, he was part of the Awami League’s negotiation team for the transfer of power after the 1970 general election. Hossain was imprisoned in West Pakistan with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during the Bangladesh Liberation War.
He served in Bangladesh’s first post-independence government from 1972 to 1975, initially as law minister and chairman of the drafting committee in the Constituent Assembly. Hossain led the process which produced the 1972 Constitution of Bangladesh. He then served as foreign minister, and led Bangladesh to join the United Nations in 1974. He was a research fellow and visiting fellow at Oxford University during the late 1970s.
Dr. Kamal has been one of South Asia’s leading international lawyers, and was an arbitrator in the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, where he defended Iran. He served as the UN Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan from 1999 to 2003. Hossain has been a member of arbitration tribunals dealing with maritime disputes between Malaysia and Singapore and Guyana and Suriname, and was a two-term member of the UN Compensation Commission.
Relief inside BNP:
Most of the leaders, members, activists and supporters of Bangladesh Nationalist Party are privately expressing relief and delight seeing Dr. Kamal taking the de fecto leadership of the party under the umbrella of National Unity Process. For years, they have been extremely fed-up and even aggrieved at the rude behavior of Tarique Rahman, who has been regularly dictating the senior leaders of the party sitting in London. No one dared confronting such audacities of Tarique, because his mother Khaleda Zia had granted full authority to her son in running party affairs.
Top brasses in BNP see Tarique as an half-educated, senseless, arrogant, rude, corrupt and extremely greedy individual.
Ghosts of corruption coming out of the graves:
Since the beginning of 2018, most of the members of Tarique’s friend racket were becoming active sensing the party would return to power during the general election. Tarique’s business partner and ‘special friend’ Giasuddin al Mamun (who has been serving rigorous imprisonment on multiple corruption charges in Bangladesh) started extorting millions of Taka from various individuals promising ‘special favour’ once BNP returns to power. According to prison sources, Mamun has received over 120 million Taka from a single prisoner, who too has been in prison since 2012 on numerous charges of cheating local banks by withdrawing billions of Taka as loan. Sitting in jail, Giasuddin al Mamun has been regularly communicating with Tarique Rahman over phone and with Tarique’s nod, Mamun has been diverting the extorted amount of money to his (Mamun’s) daughter living in an African nation.
There are indecent scandals centering the private life of Tarique Rahman and Giasuddin al Mamun, which cannot be printed in any newspaper. People of Bangladesh are aware of such scandals. During the tenure of BNP, Tarique and Mamun built a pleasure house named Khwab (Dream) in Gazipur district, which is around 20 kilometers from Dhaka city. There are series of stories centering scandalous activities inside this infamous pleasure house.
Tarique aborted from BNP?
Legally, the constitution of Bangladesh Nationalist Party does not permit any convicted individual in holding any post in the party. As per this provision, already convicted leaders of BNP – Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman are no more having any post. They even cannot remain as a member of the party. This constitutional provision may only be dropped once BNP returns to power. But, there are rumors even inside BNP about Khaleda Zia’s unwillingness in keeping her son anymore in the party. She already has started realizing that her son is the main responsible behind party’s current position.
Who will be the next Prime Minister?
If the ruling Awami League wins a majority in the December 23 general election, current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will become the Prime Minister for the third-consecutive term making a record in the political history of Bangladesh. On the other hand, if Bangladesh Nationalist Party and National Unity Process coalition wins the majority, it is most likely that Dr. Kamal Hossain would become the Prime Minister.
Can Dr. Kamal really become the next Prime Minister?
Again it is a huge question as the veteran lawyer has multiple health issues, which may not permit him in becoming the Prime Minister. Moreover, he has series of preoccupations abroad with his international clients. Even top brasses of the National Unity Process are doubtful of Dr. Kamal’s premiership. In that case, it will be a challenging task for the policymakers of the National Unity Process in finding a befitting candidate as the next Prime Minister of the country.
What experts say about the possible election result?
According to public opinion, if the election is held in a free, fair and transparent manner, National Unity Process will bag at least 230 seats in the 300-seat parliament, thus emerging as the party winning over two-third majority. But there are skepticism about such election. Local media reports are portraying most of the members of the Election Commission as “partisan”. But, proving such media reports false, if the Election Commission finally holds a free, fair and transparent election, National Unity Process will win. In other words, BNP will return to power.
Analysts already are expressing grave concern on such outcome of the general election as BNP’s return to power may grant fresh life to notorious radical Islamic parties like Jamaat e Islami.
With all of such uncertainties and speculations, there is a big question in the minds of everyone – will the election be held finally?