Posted by Mirza Ghulam Rabbi
Along the main thoroughfare of Panthapath in central Dhaka, across the giant Infinity Mega Mall – where last Friday ambulances zipped by carrying those injured in clashes with the police – a billboard advertising the ATM services of the Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd carries a marker-scrawl at the bottom: ‘Bank of the rajakars’ referring to the collaborators with Pakistan in the 1971 liberation war.
There is no doubt that across the country, Jamaat-e-Islami leaders are scared. An overwhelming number of those under trial, accused of war crimes in 1971 are from this party and the Awami League government is only too happy to let ‘the people’ vent their collective ire against an important ally of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
Conflated with the Shahbagh protestors’ demand for a ban on the ‘Pakistani party’ and their leaders be punished with death for war crimes is their wish that Bangladesh be rid of religious fundamentalism. The past and the present combine in this demand to not become ‘another Pakistan’.
Over a plate brimming with rice and what seems like a nursery of hilsa cooked in mustard, I listen to Neamat Imam, playwright and author of The Black Coat, his forthcoming novel that deals with an ‘unpleasant truth’ of Bangladeshi history dealing with the rule of the country’s ‘founding father’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Imam is certainly no apologist of the Jamaat or religion-based politics. Pointing at his Chinese wife sitting next to him, he says, “I certainly don’t want her to be covered from head to toe in a hijab and looking out of a slit every time we come to Bangladesh!”
Jamat-i-Islami leaders and supporters should apply for Pakistani citizenship.
If they want Pakistan so bad, why not walk the talk and stop their futile effort to turn Bangladesh into Pakistan. They need to come to the understanding that Bangladesh wanted to be independent nation of secular democracy and gave sacrifice with her blood to turn that dream into a reality. Any traitors who have perpetrated crimes against innocent citizen of this nation should be met with exemplary punishment!