Dhaka, Aug 1 (PTI):¬†Bangladesh’s biggest right-wing party Jamaat-e-Islami was today banned from contesting future polls by a court here which cancelled its registration in a landmark ruling, leaving the once-most powerful fundamentalist party with an uncertain future.
The bench of justices M Moazzam Husain, M Enayetur Rahim, and Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque passed the judgement accepting a writ petition that challenged the legality of Jamaat-e-Islami’s registration as a political party.
Bangladesh Tariqat Federation’s Secretary General Rezaul Haque Chandpuri and 24 others had filed the writ petition on January 25, 2009.
Today’s verdict comes at a time when the demand for outlawing the party, blamed for war crimes during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan, was mounting.
Several top Jamaat leaders, including its 91-year-old supremo Ghulam Azam, were recently sentenced either to death or to long jail terms for masterminding atrocities during the war.
Law minister Shafique Ahmed said Jamaat is likely to challenge the High Court verdict and the government would await the highest court’s judgment and then might “take a decision if the party should be banned”.
Today’s verdict comes amid intensified demands for outlawing the Jamaat, blamed for “crimes against humanity” during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan.
The left-leaning and youth groups opposed the party, saying it does not believe in the very emergence of Bangladesh while its leaders and activists carried out massive atrocities siding with Pakistani troops in the 1971 war.
A high-powered special tribunal earlier this month called Jamaat a “criminal organisation” as it delivered verdict against the party’s then East Pakistan wing chief Ghulam Azam on war crimes charges.