Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has said that his party will part ways with HM Ershad’s Jatiya Party only if the BNP ended its coalition with the Jamaat-e-Islami.
“Our relation with the Jatiya Party is strategic,” Quader said, after paying respect to Shaheed Dr Milon’s grave at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital on Sunday.
Dr Milon was shot dead during the anti-Ershad movement in 1990 on the Dhaka University campus.
“We will sever relations with the autocrat Ershad if the BNP leaves Jamaat, a party of war criminals,” he said.
Ershad emerged as a key player in Bangladeshi politics after his ouster through a mass movement in the early ‘90s.
His party contested the last general election boycotted by the BNP-led alliance and emerged as the main opposition.
The former military dictator was made a special envoy of the prime minister while his party colleagues are part of the current Awami League-led cabinet.
On the other hand, the BNP has had a close relation with the Jamaat for years. It was BNP founder Ziaur Rahman who paved the way for Jamaat to enter Bangladesh’s politics after independence.
Jamaat had openly opposed Bangladesh’s liberation and many of its leaders helped the occupation army carry out war crimes in a bid to thwart Bangalis’ struggle for freedom.
BNP, led by Khaleda Zia, formed the government after the 1991 election following Ershad’s fall, with Jamaat’s help.
Ten years later, the BNP-led coalition, which included Jamaat, won the 2001 election and Khaleda gave Cabinet berths to two Jamaat leaders who were later convicted of war crimes.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune