Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury yesterday in parliament blasted the US Embassy in Dhaka for what she called the mission’s siding with the Jamaat-e-Islami by urging the government for a dialogue with the anti-liberation force.
Terming the Jamaat an anti-Liberation War organisation and attackers of police across the country, Matia said: “I strongly protest against and criticise those who urge us to sit with the attackers of police.”
Immediately after Matia, another senior Awami League leader Tofail Ahmed, MP, criticised the US Embassy’s call for a dialogue. The embassy on November 15 expressed deep concern over the recent countrywide violence and urged a dialogue to resolve the differences.
Speaking on a point of order, Tofail said: “I was surprised how the country [the USA] that launches drone attacks to kill militants and terrorists in Pakistan could urge [the government] to sit with a militant organisation like the Jamaat.”
Launching a blistering attack on US Ambassador Dan W Mozena, Matia during the unscheduled discussion said: “Would his [Mozena’s] country sit for a ‘love talk’ with a force had it attacked their law enforcers?
“This is nothing but hypocrisy. Urging a dialogue with the attackers will only inspire them,” an indignant Matia said amid a thumping of desks by lawmakers.
She also said it was impossible to make anyone agree to do anything by dint of power. “They [the US] observed this once in 1971 and will see it again at present.”
Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu and a host of other ruling alliance lawmakers, including Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon and AL MP Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, also came down heavily on the recent spate of violent attacks on police by Jamaat-Shibir men.
They also demanded that the government ban the Jamaat and its student front Islami Chhatra Shibir’s religion-based violent politics.
They alleged that the Jamaat-Shibir’s recent “commando” attacks on police were aimed at foiling the war crimes trial as verdicts against some accused Jamaat leaders were drawing closer.
They also blamed the opposition BNP for “siding with” the Jamaat in their recent violent activities in the country.
In response, Speaker Abdul Hamid, who was presiding over the sitting, said: “You all belong to the ruling alliance government. Therefore, you can hold discussion on this matter and come to a decision.”
During the unscheduled discussion Menon and the lone independent MP Fazlul Azim enquired about the prime minister’s recent comment that her government would try the attackers of police under Sharia law, if need be.
“Sharia law contradicts our Constitution. Will the government go into amending the Constitution and introduce sharia law?” said Menon.
The Workers Party chief said he was also confused to hear the premier’s speech on Sharia.
Hasina, also leader of the House and president of ruling AL, was not present at that time.
During the discussion, Matia however said the Jamaat always spoke about ‘rule of Allah and rule of good people’. “But we have seen ‘rule of good people’ during the past BNP-Jamaat tenure and recently we saw their attacks on police in the name of rule of Allah.
“That’s what the prime minister meant — let’s apply that law [Sharia],” Matia added.