Currently, about half the members of the platform are former district level leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, according to platform coordinator Monju
Newly formed political platform Jana Aakangkhar Bangladesh is already showing signs of becoming an updated version of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, as members eye for a group of pro-reformist Jamaat leaders to join its ranks.
Claiming to be an entirely different party, members insist that all people—irrespective of their political background, identity or religious beliefs—are contacting them to join the platform.
Jamaat insiders say although demands for reforms in the party are ongoing, a five-member committee has been formed to resolve the situation. However, a number of its top leaders may quit the party if they are not convinced with the reforms.
Top pro-reformist Jamaat leaders are frustrated as the committee, formed nearly two months ago, is yet to make any progress, claimed Jana Aakangkhar Bangladesh members.
Jamaat Ameer Maqbul Ahmad is heading the committee, confirmed its Nayeb-e-Ameer Mia Ghulam Parwar.
Launched on April 27 this year, former president of the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chhatra Shibir, Mojibur Rahman Monju, formed the party and is now serving as its spokesperson.
Jamaat-e-Islami, which lost its registration as a political party before the 11th general election, removed Monju as a member of its Dhaka metropolitan unit’s policymaking body, Majlis-e-Shura, on February 15 for his demands for reforms.
The party also suffered a major blow when its former assistant secretary general Barrister Abdur Razzaq quit on the same day. Razzaq had attributed his decision to the party’s failure in apologizing to the Bangladeshi people for its anti-independence role during the Liberation War.
A day after his resignation, Jamaat issued a nationwide emergency notice ordering its leaders and activists not to follow in the former assistant secretary general’s footsteps.
However, since February 15, at least six Jamaat leaders have stepped down, with Monju ousted from the party for seconding the demand in a Facebook post, hours after Razzak’s resignation.
In the wake of this situation, former Jamaat leaders—including those expelled for demanding reforms—announced forming the new platform Jana Aakangkhar Bangladesh (Bangladesh based on people's desire).
Currently, about half the members of the platform are former district level leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, according to platform coordinator Monju.
The platform is currently working on framing its constitution with a committee of 16 core members. After Eid, the committee members will finalize their manifesto, constitution, and the permanent name of the party.
Platform leaders are already contacting universities to form student wings across Bangladesh.
Wishing anonymity, a leader of the platform said: “Right now, we have a large number of student members from Dhaka University, including many former senior and mid-level leaders of different parties. They may join us shortly.”
A Jamaat off-shoot with a hint of BNP
Monju claimed: “It is a complete misconception that Jana Aakangkhar Bangladesh is an off-shoot of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Only two of our members, including me, were formerly involved with Jamaat's Dhaka metropolitan unit policymaking body—the Majlis-e-Shura.”
At least 30 former Jamaat leaders have already joined the party, while many pro-reformist BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) leaders have also shown interest.
Among others, former BNP minister Nazimuddin Al-Azad, Jamaat’s lawyer at the war crimes tribunal Tajul Islam, former Jamaat leader Maj (retd) Dr Abdul Wahab Minar, and former central Majlis-e-Shura member Salahuddin, are in the core committee.
“We will shortly form district committees with one convener and six executive members per district,” said platform coordinator Monju.
He claimed that the party now has members in 40 districts while many leaders of Jamaat, Chhatra Shibir, and pro-Jamaat professionals are waiting to join the party.
Will Barrister Razzaq be a part of it?
Jana Aakangkhar Bangladesh is expecting Barrister Abdur Razzaq's support for their platform.
“Razzaq did not explicitly state his intention of joining us, but he will advise us,” said Monju.
When contacted via e-mail, Barrister Razzaq said: “I have no intention of joining any political party. However, I understand that the new platform is interested in working for the enforcement of fundamental human rights and the general welfare of the country. This is no doubt a good initiative which deserves support and I wish them well.”