Jamaat-e-Islami stripped of right to contest in Bangladesh elections

Five years after the High Court ruled that the Jamaat-e-Islami’s status as a political party be revoked, the Election Commission has executed the orders in a gazette.

The gazette got delayed because of the delay in getting the full verdict, EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed told bdnews24.com on Monday.

The commission could not publish the gazette until now also because an appeal against the High Court orders was being heard, he said.

“Now everything is completed. We’ve published the gazette after reviewing the full verdict,” he added.

The gazette dated Sunday says the party’s registration has been cancelled following the Representation of the People Order as ordered by the court.

The EC started registering the political parties for the first time during the 2006-07 military-controlled caretaker government before the 2008 elections.

Jamaat, which had representation in parliament, got registered along with 37 other parties at the time.

Only the registered parties are allowed in elections following the law.

A total of 25 people, including Bangladesh Tariqat Federation’s Secretary General Syed Rezaul Haque Chandpuri, Jaker Party’s Secretary General Munshi Abdul Latif and Sammilita Islami Jote’s President Ziaul Hasan, moved the court challenging Jamaat’s registration in January, 2009.

The petition asked for orders to cancel Jamaat’s registration by the EC for the party’s failure to meet RPO conditions.

Before the 10th parliamentary elections, the High Court on Aug 1, 2013 declared Jamaat’s registration by the EC void and illegal, barring it from contesting in the 2014 elections.

The 20-party BNP-Jamaat alliance boycotted the elections as well demanding a nonpartisan government during polls.

Though barred from contesting in general elections, several Jamaat-backed candidates took part in local government elections, but not on party tickets.

Last year, the EC dropped Jamaat’s logo ‘weighing scale’ from the electoral symbols following Supreme Court orders.

File Photo: Jamaat-e-Islami supporters take out a procession at Jatrabari area in Dhaka on Aug 3, 2013 against the High Court verdict cancelling their party’s registration. File Photo: Jamaat-e-Islami supporters take out a procession at Jatrabari area in Dhaka on Aug 3, 2013 against the High Court verdict cancelling their party’s registration. Jamaat at a glance
Arguably the largest Islamist organisation in the sub-continent, Jamaat started its journey on Aug 26, 1941 under the leadership of Syed Abul A’la Moududi with the name Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.

It was briefly banned in Pakistan in 1964 for opposing the Muslim Family Act.

The party opposed the separation of East Pakistan as Bangladesh was known then. It sternly positioned itself against the Bangalis’ struggle for freedom.

It was banned for another spell after religion-based politics was outlawed in Bangladesh after independence.

Military rules followed the assassination of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975. Military ruler General Ziaur Rahman, who founded the BNP, allowed Jamaat to enter politics in Bangladesh.

Shortly afterwards, its chief Ghulam Azam returned in 1979 and took the helm.

After the fall of HM Ershad’s autocratic regime, the party bagged 18 seats in the 1991 general elections and rode to power as a partner of the BNP.

It secured 17 seats in the 2001 polls and two of its leaders served as ministers in Khaleda Zia’s cabinet.

Jamaat got only two seats in the ninth national elections held in 2008 in which the Awami League-led coalition won a landslide.