A citizen platform sees the ‘shadow of 1/11’ in Dr Kamal Hossain-led new coalition with the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami, and has vowed “to foil any conspiracy”. In a discussion in Dhaka on Monday under the platform of ‘Citizens for Responsible Democracy’, they termed his alliance with BNP, Jamaat “shameful”.
“We conscious citizens will never allow (Dr Kamal) to succeed in executing any brief from London,” Mohammed Farashuddin, former governor of Bangladesh Bank, said, referring to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zias son Tarique Rahman who is living in London and convicted in Dhaka.
Politicians, think tank, doctors, teachers, lawyers, journalists and cultural activists convened under the platform to discuss the ongoing political situation, particularly against the backdrop of the recently formed Jatiya Oikya Front led by Dr Kamal ahead of the elections.
They also questioned his role during the 1971 Liberation War and also after the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975 when he was foreign minister.
The term 1/11 is a popular reference to Jan 11, 2007 takeover by a military-backed interim government which was installed forestalling the general elections.
Economist Ashikur Rahman, coordinator of the platform, said Jatiya Oikya Front came into being just two days after the verdict of the August 21, 2004 grenade attack. Tarique was sentenced to life term for his involvement in the gruesome attack on then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina.
He said Dr Kamal forged the alliance without making any statement about this unfortunate incident.
“They have no observation on that. Sweeping this under the carpet, they want to establish rule of law and governance. This is double-standards,” he said.
“Dr Kamal said he has no link with Jamaat or Tarique Rahman, but he made alliance with BNP and Jamaat. He tried to depoliticise the country after the 1/11 changeover.
"He said BNP and Awami League are just two sides of the coin. Now he is trying to bring BNP and Jamaat to power through the back door.
“Its shameful. Its a conspiracy against democracy,” Ashikur continued. “The BNP rehabilitated war criminals Ghulam Azam and Shah Azizur Rahman into politics. Dr Kamal with his new alliance is rehabilitating BNP in politics after the Aug 21 grenade attack verdict.”
“Pro-independence force will never accept this," he thundered.
Ekattor TV Chief Editor Mozammel Haque Babu said what Dr Kamal is doing now is the brief from London. “In fact he is holding a brief since 1970. Where was he after March 25 in 1971? And from where he emerged on Jan 10 in 1972,” he asked.
Justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik, referring to a write-up of a Pakistani military general in Bangladesh Defence Journal in its April 2008 edition. said he was in Pakistan in his in-laws residence.
“We have to unmask his true face,” he said, adding that after the fateful night of Aug 15, 1975, even Hasina could not make him issue a statement to the world as a foreign minister about what is happening in Bangladesh.
Farashuddin hailed the prime minister for accepting the dialogue proposal of the Oikyo Front and said the people will “foil all conspiracies and stop Dr Kamal from successfully execute his brief.”
“Dr Kamal is far off from the political parties who play in the premier league in Bangladeshs politics,” he said, drawing an analogy from football “He is not even C team or B team (in Bangladesh politics). He is a hired (player).”
He asked Dr Kamal how he can demand the release of Khaleda Zia who is in jail for corruption. “By which law?” he asked, adding that the BNP chiefs corruption story is not new.
“Even in 2007 she and her finance minister M Saifur Rahman whitened their black money by paying the penalty fines.”
He said Dr Kamal formed the alliance knowing full well that the BNP and Jamaat will lose in the upcoming elections. “They want to foil the elections. But we will not allow that. We will remain vigilant. The election preparations will go on as usual.”
Editor of Bhorer Kagoj Shyamal Dutta, Chief of GTV Syed Ishtiaq Reza, Dhaka University teachers AJM Shafiul Alam Bhuiyan, and Salim Mahmud, Suchinta Foundation founder Mohammad Arafat, liver specialist Mamum-al Mahtab Swapnil, Center for Research and Information analyst Shah Ali Farhad, President of Youth Bangla Cultural Forum Sufi Faruq, and actress Tareen Jahan also spoke at the discussion, among others.