Sep 04

Prayer for Bangladesh – between hope and fear #WeAreMirQuasemAli

Ajmal Masroor

September 3, 2016

I am traveling at the moment and it is said that the prayer of a traveler is readily accepted by God so I am about to pray for the oppressed and desperate people of the world. Bangladesh, a country of my birth is on the list for my prayers to God especially on these auspicious days leading up to Hajj, the annual single biggest gathering of millions of Muslims. While I am preparing to make my supplication the news of another politically motivated and state sponsored execution in Bangladesh has come to my attention.

Mir Quasem Ali, who has been sentenced to death by Bangladesh’s kangaroo court, also called International Crimes Tribunal, for his alleged role in the 1971 war of independence. The prosecution has failed to provide sufficient evidence for which the Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha criticised the attorney general, prosecutor and investigators during the trail. However the judges, did not fail to find him guilty and sentenced him to death despite the serious lack of evidence. This judgment were written by the judges’ political masters even before the trail had commenced.

Mir Qausem Ali has served as a central executive committee member of Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami party but he is more popularly known for being a very high spirited and creative entrepreneur. He is also known for his public services and philanthropic projects. He help set up numerous successful businesses including hospitals, schools, banks, TV stations, newspapers and many other well established businesses that have provided opportunities for many unemployed to find employment, many extremely poor people to find good medical treatment, many uneducated to be given education and voiceless people to find a platform to share their voices and thoughts. He was known for his industrialist outlook and extremely humble persona. He combined material and spiritual endeavours very successfully.

As I write this piece his death sentence probably would have been carried out as he has refused to seek clemency from the head of state of Bangladesh. That would have been his last attempt to seek a reprieve from the impending death by hanging. In a written statement he wrote that he expects the head of state of Bangladesh to apologise to him and ask him for forgiveness. As the state has failed to apply a judicial process based on due process, fair hearing, impartial judiciary and justice in his case.

According to the international human rights watch the trail process has been marred by irregularities. “It is critical that the Bangladesh government ensures justice for the awful crimes against civilians in 1971, but that requires it to uphold international fair trial standards,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “If there’s even a shadow of doubt about fairness, as in Quasem Ali’s case, the authorities should set aside the death penalty.”

Bangladeshi government, especially its autocratic and vengeful Prime Minister Hasina, also known as Lady Hitler, is determined to exterminate all the senior Jamaat-e-Islami leaders for their alleged role in the independence war with or without due process in a legitimate court of law. It has already executed by hanging four of its leaders. In each and every one of their cases the state has miserably failed to establish their guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt but they were still hanged.

In fact the state has not only executed people wrongfully but it has premeditatedly orchestrated the kidnap and disappearance of Mir Quasem Ali’s son. They have not acknowledged that they have him in their custody, they have not tried him in any court and they did not even have an arrest warrant for him when they picked him up from him house and have remained totally silent about his whereabouts.

Mir Ahmed, the son of Mir Quasem Ali, who acts as his father’s legal counsel, was detained late at night by men in plainclothes who told family members that they were government security forces. The most tragic part of it all is that this young lawyer has committed no crime and was not even born when the independence war took place in 1971. If he is accused of any crime surely judicial process should always be transparent, why kidnap him in the darkness of the night? If the government is not involved in his disappearance why have they done nothing to find him? Who is behind the kidnap and disappearance of so many children of opposition political leaders?

In fact kidnap and disappearance of the sons of political opposition leaders is a well known tool used by the government of Bangladesh. They recently kidnapped and vanished the late. Professor Gulam Azom’s son who was a decorated senior army officer in Bangladesh. Again the state has done nothing to locate him or acknowledge that he is in their custody.

Anyone with an ounce of brain in his or her head would see that these trails are politically motivated and the end game is to eliminate opposition so that Awami League can rule the country forever and unchallenged. They are systematically dismantling the civil society and democratic institutions in Bangladesh.

It is interesting that none of those opposition politicians of Jamaat-e-Islami, who have been wrongfully executed by the state have amassed any fortune or even left any money in any off shore bank accounts or even own any properties in the UK, Europe Canada or USA. However the number of current governing party MPs, their sons, daughters and relatives who own properties across the globe and who possess off shore accounts is staggering. Even the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s children and relatives have looted the country of its wealth and resources. Many of these Awami League MPs run mafia style gangs who terrorise, kidnap and kill opposition members or even ordinary public yet they never face the courts. Security agencies of Bangladesh offer protection to these MPs and their criminal gangs for a few worthless pennies.

War criminals must be tried but the process of trial must be fair and just. Taking a life is easy but once the person is dead there is nothing that can be done to bring them back to life if the person has been executed due to miscarriage of justice. That is why death penalty should only be available to the judiciary for exceptional cases where the guilt of the accused has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt and only for crimes of the most heinous nature.

Mir Quasem Ali’s guilt has not been proven according to many international bodies and objective legal experts and observers. Kidnap of his son and the silence of the state cast a serious doubt over the entire motive of the state. I don’t believe a word of what Hasina and her cronies say. They are covered from head to toe in corruption and only motivated by politics of vengeance. They have run a state of terror and treated Bangladesh like their families fiefdom. The sooner Hasina and her Awami League bootlickers fall off this planet earth the sooner Bangladesh will find relief and freedom. The country truly needs to exorcise the Awami League demons that has possessed the country and its people for the last four decades.

The future of Bangladesh does not depends on the old guards with nasty narratives of hate, dishonest history and twisted politics. It depends on a new generation of young people who are prepared to rise above the politics of hate, retribution and corruption. They are prepared to empower the masses with education, freedom of movement, opportunities for economic prosperity and equality of all people. Bangladesh needs to change its political culture urgently otherwise it will remain a laughingstock of the world and economic basket case forever.

During the 1st blessed day of Dhul Hijja today and while I am traveling my prayers for Bangladesh and its people are as follows:

O God! Help the people of Bangladesh so that they could free themselves from the shackles of the tyrants and have governments of people’s choice.

O God! Inspire the people of Bangladesh to improve their own condition through education and hard work so that they are not dependent on anyone’s favours or charity.

O God! Remove from Bangladesh all the evil politicians, leaders and security personnel and replace them with decent, honest and conscientious people who can run the country for the best interest and well being of the people.

O God! Help heal the hearts of people of Bangladesh so that they can move on from the constant haunting ghost of 1971 and help the people of this country find peace and justice.

O God! Help the people of Bangladesh to restore in Bangladesh peace and stability. Guide their hearts so that they can abandon the ways of evil and corruption.

O God! Relieve the people of Bangladesh from poverty. Help them to make their own country economically prosperous and help them to share their natural resources equitably between all it’s people.

O God! Help people of Bangladesh so that their lives, property, intellect, faith, family, honour and human rights are protected. Fill their hearts with hope and love.

O God! Cleanse Bangladesh of the evil of corrupt political parties and unite the hearts of the people to work for justice, excellence and compassion.

O God! Save Bangladesh from the grip of selfish and unfair neighbouring countries and help the people of Bangladesh become resilient at times of difficultly, patient at times of hardship and forbearing at times of troubles and turmoils.

O God! Life and death is decided by you. So I will not ask you to prolong or shorten anyone’s life but please do not let the murder of any innocent people go in vein. Let there rise hope and beacon of light from their deaths. Let Bangladesh become a country of magnanimity and brilliance.

O God! Restore on this earth justice, peace, decency and most importantly balance and include all of us amongst those who are truly successful.