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Dhaka Tribune

Exclusive: Are Maqbul and Makbool the same?

Update : 17 Nov 2016, 07:32 PM
A copy of a 45-year-old letter obtained by the Dhaka Tribune has shed new light on the murky past of the new Jamaat-e-Islami ameer, Maqbul Ahmed. In the letter dated August 10, 1971, an individual named Makbool Ahamed writes to Fazlul Hoque, duty officer-in-charge of Radio Pakistan in Chittagong, telling him that prominent leftist leader Maulana Waiz Uddin had left for Chittagong that week.
Also Read- Analysis: Is he a war criminal?
Makbool is identified in the memo as Jamaat-e-Islami’s Feni sub-division chief. He orders his men to locate Waiz Uddin, described as an informer of the “so-called Mukti Bahini” who had just returned to Feni from India a week before and who had become the “main helper of Mukti Bahini in Ctg Sector”. Finding this concerning, Makbool issues instructions to Fazlul Hoque to "take necessary action", including soliciting help from the Pakistan Army and the “Spl Cadet [Commander] Shahjalal and Nowsher”. Makbool also pledged to send other men from Feni to help out.The letter in question in official Jamaat-e-Islami letterhead The letter in question in official Jamaat-e-Islami letterhead Dhaka TribuneWaiz Uddin was abducted seven days later, allegedly by collaborators, never to be found again. The letter - printed by the Bangla newspaper Nayajug in 1977 - adds credibility to the recent claims of freedom fighters and other critics that the new Jamaat-e-Islami chief, Maqbul Ahmed, is indeed a war criminal. It makes clear that a certain Makbool Ahamed was head of the Jamaat's Feni unit in 1971 and was complicit in war crimes and atrocities. The question now, is whether that Makbool Ahamed and this Maqbul Ahmed are the same person.
Also Read- Maqbul Ahmed takes oath as Jamaat chief
Maqbul Ahmed was sworn in as the new Jamaat chief on October 17, 2016, He began his first message to the people by recalling the sacrifice of freedom fighters and the role of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Little was known officially about the new ameer: the Jamaat-e-Islami website as well as Jamaat-leaning news outlets, including the party's mouthpiece Sangram, remained silent about his background and there was not even a biography of the new Jamaat chief available anywhere, including in Jamaat offices. Despite repeated attempts to verify the background of Jamaat’s new chief, nothing was forthcoming.
Also Read- New Jamaat chief ‘recalls’ freedom fighters during oath
Jamaat responded to mounting speculation that their new chief might be a war criminal by issuing a press release on November 14, stating Maqbul Ahmed was a teacher at a famous school in Feni during the Liberation War and had no involvement in war crimes. But a freedom fighter from Feni, wishing to remain anonymous, said that although he was away in a war field, he had heard that the schoolteacher Maqbul had become the head of Jamaat’s Feni unit. “This was the same person who is now the chief of Jamaat,” the freedom fighter said. Moreover, locals from Feni say that there was only one Maqbul involved with Jamaat during the nine-month long Liberation War, and that the new Jamaat chief, Maqbul Ahmed, is the same man as the notorious head of war-time Feni Jamaat, Makbool Ahamed. The letter now unearthed by the Dhaka Tribune appears to confirm both accounts.
Also Read- Jamaat chief Maqbul’s 1971 role under scanner
In addition, the 1977 newspaper article accompanying the published letter states that it was upon Makbool’s orders that members of al-Badr and Razakar, two of the vigilante militia groups, perpetrated widespread atrocities on civilians amounting to war crimes. Witness accounts stated that Waiz Uddin had been abducted by three collaborators in Chittagong and taken away blindfolded in a car bearing a number plate: CTG KA 2467.The news item, published in 1977, based on the letter in question Dhaka Tribune The news item, published in 1977, based on the letter in question Dhaka TribuneThe recent Jamaat press release protesting allegations made against Maqbul categorically denies any involvement of its ameer with war crimes, whether at Dagonbhuiyan or in the disappearance (and subsequent torture and murder) of Maulana Waiz Uddin. Although war crimes investigators have gone on record to say they are convinced the new ameer-e-Jamaat was complicit, they have until now received no concrete evidence. Lead investigator Hannan Khan told the Dhaka Tribune that they had heard that during the Liberation War, the current Jamaat chief was part of Jamaat’s student wing, Islami Chhatra Sangha (now renamed Islami Chhatra Shibir). “We are still looking into the matter,” he said.
Also Read- Investigators: Maqbul a war criminal
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