12:00 AM, December 30, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 30, 2008

Jamaat in checkmate

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The anti-liberation forces have been defeated once again, this time through peoples' verdict. While it is a sweet revenge for Bangladeshis against the war criminals, the verdict will make stronger the demand for their trial.
In the historic ninth parliamentary elections held yesterday, Jamaat-e-Islami, collaborators of the Pakistani occupation forces in 1971, faced the worst election debacle winning only two seats out of 38 it contested for.
Jamaat's big shots including Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami, Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid and central leader Delwar Hossain Saydee -- lawmakers in the last parliament -- have been rejected by voters.
Nizami, who contested the elections from Pabna-1 constituency, lost to M Shamsul Haque Tuku, while Mojahid managed to grab third position in Faridpur-3.
Jamaat candidates Shamsul Islam won in Chittagong-14 and Hamidur Rahman Azad in Cox's Bazar-2. Interestingly, Azad defeated not only the grand alliance candidate but also the four-party one as he was not the official ticket holder of the BNP-Jamaat led alliance.
As a component of the previous BNP-led four-party alliance, Jamaat had 18 seats in the eighth parliament in 2001 thanks to BNP's vote banks.
But this time the party faces the people's wrath for the alliance's misdeeds during its five-year tenure in the government from 2001 to 2006 and mounting demands for the trial of their war crimes.
In 1971, Jamaat stood against peoples' aspiration for an independent Bangladesh and collaborated with the Pakistani forces to exterminate the freedom-loving Bangalees by killing three million people, including women and children.
However, nothing could stop the indomitable freedom fighters who defeated the stronger Pakistani forces to snatch independence on December 16, 1971.
Jamaat lost its political rights during the rule of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman but was rehabilitated politically by the military ruler late president Ziaur Rahman after 1975.
Jamaat had a strong political base across the country under another army ruler, HM Ershad, from 1982 to 1990. It emerged as a political factor in the fifth parliamentary elections in 1991, getting 18 seats.
But in the seventh parliamentary election in 1996, Jamaat got only three seats.
After the 2001 elections, in which BNP got a landslide victory over Awami League, Nizami and Mojahid were made ministers and they roamed the country with the flag of Bangladesh, which they opposed in 1971.

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