Motiur Rahman Nizami
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|Motiur Rahman Nizami|
|Leader of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami|
|Preceded by||Ghulam Azam|
|Minister of Agriculture|
10 October 2001 – 22 May 2003
|Minister of Industries|
22 May 2003 – 28 October 2006
|Member of Parliament
1 October 2001 – 28 October 2006
|Preceded by||Professor Abu Sayed|
|Succeeded by||Md. Shamsul Haque|
27 February 1991 – 16 February 1996
|Succeeded by||Professor Abu Sayed|
31 March 1943 |
|Alma mater||Dhaka University|
Motiur Rahman Nizami (Bengali: মতিউর রহমান নিজামী), (born 31 March 1943) is the current chief (Ameer) of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, which is the largest Islamic political party in Bangladesh. He is being held as a suspect while standing trial for war crimes in 1971 at the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh. He was the supreme commander of the militia group Al-Badr during the Bangladesh Liberation War.
While human rights groups and various political entities have welcomed the trials, in November 2011 Human Rights Watch criticized the government for aspects of their progress, lack of transparency, and reported harassment of defense lawyers and witnesses representing the accused.
Nizami rose in the ranks of the East Pakistan branch of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan in the 1960s, having led the student organization, Islamic Chhatro Shango (ICS) (now Islami Chhatro Shibir). He has been alleged to have participated with other students in paramilitary forces that collaborated with the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh liberation war of 1971; the Al-Badar was the militant arm of the ICS.
After the independence of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first president, banned Jamaat from political participation as it had opposed the liberation, and many of its members collaborated with the Pakistan Army during the conflict. Nizami and some other top leaders left the country.
He permitted top Jamaat leaders, such as Ghulam Azam and Nizami, to return to Bangladesh in 1978; they revived the Jamaat party, which became the largest Islamist party in the country.
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.
During the 1996 elections, he lost to the candidates of both the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), an ally of Jamaat, and the Awami League in his constituency. Professor Abu Sayed of the Awami League gained his seat.
Nizami took over as the Ameer of Jamaat from Ghulam Azam in 2001. In the same year, representing his party as part of a four-party alliance including BNP, Nizami won a seat in Parliament in Pabna-1, receiving 57.68% of the votes. From 2001-2003, he served as the Minister of Agriculture, followed by three years as the Industrial Minister (2003 to 2006).
Nizami was defeated in the December 2008 general election as a candidate of the Four-Party Alliance, losing his seat for Pabna-1 to Md. Shamsul Haque of the Awami League. Nizami received 45.6% of the votes. The Awami League took two-thirds of the seats in Parliament.
Allegations of corruption
In May 2008, the Anti-corruption Commission of Bangladesh indicted Nizami in the GATCO Corruption case, in which he along with several other politicians are alleged to have illegally granted a container-depot contract to the local firm GATCO. A warrant was issued to arrest Nizami along with 12 others on May 15, 2008.
Nizami was charged with conspiring with 12 other politicians to award the contract to GATCO although the company did not meet the conditions of the tender. The prosecution alleged that the deal with GATCO caused a total loss of more than 100 million Bangladeshi Taka to the Government. Nizami denied the charges and said they were politically motivated. He was released after two months on bail.
In a public speech on March 17, 2010, the Dhaka Jamaat chief, Rafiqul Islam, compared Nizami's life to that of the Prophet Muhammad, persisting in the face of persecution. On March 21, the Bangladesh Tariqat Federation sued Rafiqul, Nizami and other Jamaat members "for hurting Islamic sentiments of the masses by comparing Nizami with the Prophet",.
Nizami, along with three other senior Jamaat leaders, was arrested on charges on March 29, 2010. He secured bail the next day and appealed for dismissal of the case on February 14, 2011. The High Court adjourned the case for four months in March 2011.
International Crimes Tribunal
In 2009, the Awami League-led Bangladesh government established a tribunal in Bangladesh to investigate those suspected of committing atrocities during Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Nizami and eight other leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami were charged with war crimes by the prosecution, as were two leaders of the Bangladesh National Party. Opposition parties and human rights groups alleged political interference in the trial, given that all the accused were leading opposition politicians.
In late 2012, the ICT was the centre of a controversy after Skype conversations and e-mails between the head judge, Nizamul Huq and Ahmed Ziauddin, a Brussels-based lawyer were leaked. According to the Economist, the recordings and emails suggested that the Bangladesh Government pressured and attempted to intervene in the International Crimes Tribunal in order to speed proceedings up. The neutrality and independence of Huq was also called into question, as Ziauddin appeared to help him to prepare documents for the tribunal and make detailed recommendations for Huq, and informed Huq about how the prosecutors may develop their case while in contact with the prosecution. A petition seeking retrial was filed on behalf of Nizami and other defendants at the ICT. On January 3, the defendants' applications for retrials were rejected.
- Karlekar, Hiranmay (13). Bangladesh: The Next Afghanistan?. Sage. p. 152. ISBN 978-0761934011.
- Adams, Brad (18 May 2011). "Letter to the Bangladesh Prime Minister regarding the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act". Human Rights Watch.
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- Ghafour, Abdul (31, October 2012). "International community urged to stop ‘summary executions’ in Bangladesh". Arab News.
- Biography, Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh.
- "Prof. Ghulam Azam Retires", Islamic Voice, December 2006.
- "Online Election Results for Pabna-1", BD Needs.
- Bangladesh orders arrest of Islamist party chief, Reuters, May 15, 2008.
- "12 'fugitives' face arrest order", The Daily Independent, Bangladesh, 16 May 2008
- "Bangladeshi religious leader held", BBC News, May 19, 2008.
- , The Daily Star
- RELIGIOUS SENTIMENT: "Proceeding against Nizami, Mojaheed put off", BDNews 24
- "Court asks for Nizami’s arrest", The Independent (Bangladesh), 5 May 2011
- "Nizami denied bail". bdnews24.com. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
- "Bangladesh War-Crime Tribunal Bogs Down". The Wall Street Journal. 2012-12-20. Retrieved 2013-04-18.
- "The trial of the birth of a nation". The Economist. December 15, 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-10.
- ">"Nizami, Sayedee seek retrial". Priyo News. 2012-12-23. Retrieved 2013-04-18.
- "Martyred Intellectuals: Murdered History: Raising Hopes Only to be Betrayed", New Age, 15 Dec 2005
- AsiaMedia report, University of California Los Angeles
|Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh
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