Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Motiur Rahman Nizami

Motiur Rahman Nizami

Motiur Rahman Nizami
Leader of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami
Assumed office
Preceded byGhulam Azam
Minister of Agriculture
In office
10 October 2001 – 22 May 2003
Minister of Industries
In office
22 May 2003 – 28 October 2006
Member of Parliament
for Pabna-1
In office
1 October 2001 – 28 October 2006
Preceded byProfessor Abu Sayed
Succeeded byMd. Shamsul Haque
Majority135,982 (57.68%)
In office
27 February 1991 – 16 February 1996
Succeeded byProfessor Abu Sayed
Majority55,707 (36.85%)
Personal details
Born31 March 1943 (age 68)
Pabna, Bangladesh
Political partyJamaat-e-Islami
Spouse(s)Shamsunnahar Nizami
Alma materDhaka University
Motiur Rahman Nizami (Bengali: মতিউর রহমান নিজামী), (born 31 March 1943) is the current chief (Ameer) of the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, which is the largest Islamic political party in Bangladesh.

Jamaat and Al-Badr activist

Nizami rose in the ranks of the Jamaat-e-Islami in East Pakistan in the 1960s, after being a leader of a student organization, Islamic Chhatro Shango (now Islami Chhatro Shibir). During the liberation war of 1971, Nizami actively supported the cause of West Pakistan and formed the Al-Badr Force in which he acted as the supreme commander of the Al-Badr Militia.[1] As the leader of Al-Badr, Nizami advocated deadly violence against minority Hindus, and in an article in the Daily Sangram published in 14 November 1971, Nizami claimed, "It is our conviction that the day is not far off when, standing side by side with our armed forces, our youth will raise the victorious flag of Islam the world over by defeating the Hindu Army and finishing off Hindustan".[2][3]
On Nizamis orders, The Al-Badr militia took active part in rape, extortion, loot and specially capturing and killing of Bengalis who supported the liberation, including a pre-planned massacre on December 14, 1971, when the Al-Badr militia along with Pakistan Army rounded up hundreds of doctors, professors, writers, and other Bengali intellectuals, and executed them.[4][5][6] Al-Badar militia also helped Pakistany forces to fight against the Freedom Fighters of Bangladesh Liberation War.

 Political career

After taking over the rule of Bangladesh in 1975, Ziaur Rahman allowed democratic political parties to organise themselves, which had been banned since March of the same year. Under the rule of Ziaur Rahman, top Jamaat leaders such as Ghulam Azam and Nizami whose party were banned by the subsequent government after liberation, returned to Bangladesh in 1978 and revived the Jamaat party. Nizami emerged as a key leader of the Jamaat, organising the Islami Chhatra Shibir (Jammat Students Organisation), which serves as the youth wing of the Jamaat. In 1991, he was elected as a Member of Parliament, representing Jamaat-e-Islami for the constituency of Pabna-1, and was Jamaat's Parliamentary Party leader during until 1994.[7]
However, during the 1996 elections, he lost out to both the candidates for the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Awami League in his constituency, and Professor Abu Sayed of the Awami League replaced him. Nizami took over as the Ameer from Ghulam Azam in 2001.[8] In the same year, representing his party as part of a four-party alliance including BNP, he won in Pabna-1, receiving 57.68% of the votes.[9] Nizami served as the Industrial Minister from 2003 to 2006, after a two-year term as the Minister of Agriculture.
Nizami was defeated in the general election held on 29 December 2008 as a candidate of 4-party alliance, losing his seat for Pabna-1 to Md. Shamsul Haque by 8.2%. He received 45.6% of the votes, out of which 41.03% votes were from BNP supporters. His opponent representing the Awami League won, having 53.8%.


 War crimes

During the Bangladesh Liberation War, he is alleged to have acted as the supreme commander of the Al-Badr militia, which had allegedly taken part in various war crimes including killing of hundreds of intellectuals around the country. His misdoings were finally brought into attention in the year 2009, when the Awami League reopened the cases pending against him.[citation needed]

Allegations of corruption

The Anti-corruption Commission of Bangladesh indicted Nizami on the GATCO Corruption case, in which he along with several other politicians are alleged to have granted illegally a container-depot contract to the local firm GATCO.[10] A warrant was issued to arrest Nizami along with 12 others on May 15, 2008.
Nizami was accused of conspiring with 12 other politicians to award the contract to GATCO despite the fact that GATCO did not meed the conditions of the tender. The case filed by the Anti-corruption Commission of Bangladesh Govt. alleges that, the deal with GATCO caused a total loss of more than 100 million Bangladeshi Taka to the Government.[11] Nizami denied the charges, which he has said are politically motivated.[12] He was released after two months on bail.

 Hurting religious sentiments

Dhaka Jamaat chief Rafiqul Islam, in a public speech on March 17, 2010, compared the tortured life of the Prophet Muhammad of Islam propagating truth in the face of persecution with the life of Nizami, who was facing the same. On March 21, Bangladesh Tariqat Federation sued Rafiqul, Nizami and other Jamaat members for hurting Islamic sentiments of the masses by comparing Nizami with the Prophet[13].
Nizami, along with 3 other senior Jamaat leaders, were arrested on such accusations on March 29, 2010, and are still awaiting trial.[14]

 Arms smuggling case

Nizami is accused for aiding the smuggling of ten trucks of arms from the Chittagong port on 1 April 2004,[15] supposedly supplied by Pakistan to the ULFA insurgents in Assam, India. Nizami was the Industries Minister during that time.
He is currently in prison, and has been shown arrested for the smuggling, along with other crimes described above. His recent bail petition on 7 September 2011 was denied.[15]

See also

Bangladesh slaps travel ban on war crime suspects

Moulana Motiur Rahman Nizami, chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami, waves to his supporters during a rally in Dhaka February 11, 2006. REUTERS/Rafiqur Rahman/Files
DHAKA | Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:54pm IST
(Reuters) - Bangladesh imposed a travel ban on Monday on 40 people, mostly leaders of the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party, over alleged war crimes during the country's war of independence four decades ago.
The party has denied charges that it collaborated with the Pakistani army during the 1971 war, and has accused the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of concocting war crimes charges to try to undermine it.
Jamaat is the main ally of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party of former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia, and the country's largest Islamic political party.
Those banned from leaving the country included Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami, his deputy Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, and another key leader, Delwar Hossain Saidee, who were arrested last month on charges ranging from obstructing police to sedition.
Immigration officials at Dhaka's Hazrat Shah Jalal international airport said they had received a list of 40 people with photographs, along with instructions from the government not to allow them to leave the country.
Police said the same list was also posted at other international airports, seaports and border transit points.
The government plans to begin war crimes trials soon, and police said some suspects including former Jamaat chief Golam Azam, had been preparing to flee the country.
Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, won independence with India's help in December 1971 following a nine-month war against Pakistan. Around 3 million people were killed and thousands of women raped.
Authorities also filed charges on Monday against more than 800 paramilitary troops accused of involvement in a mutiny last year. The charges include murder, torture and concealing the corpses of those killed, an investigating officer said.
The mutineers killed 74 people including 57 army officers commanding the paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles in a dispute over wages and the command structure.
The mutiny occurred less than two months after Hasina returned to power in January 2009 after polls that ended two years of rule by an army-backed interim authority. One of her election pledges was putting war criminals on trial.
The mutiny threatened to undermine Hasina's government and some thought it might lead the military to try to take back power. But the authorities ended the rebellion within two days through negotiations. More than 2,300 paramilitary soldiers were detained in Dhaka, of whom 801 were charged on Monday.

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