We may have longed for years for an independent and free judiciary, an autonommous election commission and a proactive and free anti-corruption commission. Althought current ‘short cut to success’ government is promising all of the above, a parctically independenht judiciary, election commission and anti corruption commission is still a a far cry.

Why do I say that?

Recent moves by EC to patronize breakaway splinte groups of major parties ( cordial long meeting with Mannan Bhuiyan’s delegation and refusal to meet BNP mainstream delegation) has forced people to start thinking twice about EC activities. Similarly recent remarks by Anti corruption commission chairman about the impossibility of his asking for wealth report of government advisors or ACC activities to selectively spare pro government politicians from anti-corruption investigation have already tainted the ACC as a partisan body, serving the rulers. And it was in the news just today on how this CTG has superseeded one judge to promote Justice Matin ( possibly their man of choice) as a judge in Supreme court appeallate division.

Then what government office we are left with? This is the office of the khatib of baitul Mukarram national Mosque. The Khatib, Moulana Obaidul haq is a very powerful character and he enjoys quite an powerful and independent status despite the fact that he is a government employee. In 2001, AL government, after watching his 5 years of activities, sent Khatib Obaidul into retirement. But Khatib promptly returned after winning a legal battle with the government that dragged upto Supreme Court. Even during the last 4 party alliance government, this Khatib has worked totaly at his own will and ferociously independently. Going totally against the governments foreign policy, as early as in 2003, this Khatib Obaidul Haq openly urged the protesters in an antiwar rally to start a war against US. Then he led a protest rally to condemn a reported derogatory remarks on Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SM) that was made by visiting German scholar Prof Hans G Kippenberg at a seminar organised by the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS). This Khatib denounced the government’s “meddling” when govt wanted to review and reform the madrassa curriculum on the face of International pressure after 9/11.

After nationwide bomblast on August 2005, in an interview, this Khatib stubbornly refused to agree that the bombing could be done by Islamic zealots. He also reiterated his demand for establishiong Islamic rule (Sharia) in Bnagladesh.

ET: Every Islamic leader wants to establish the rule of Islam. Why is there a need for establishing such a rule?
MOH: We are Muslims living in a country where the Muslims are the majority. Why wouldn’t there be a need to establish the rule of Islam? Definitely there is such a need

However very soon this same Khatib changed his stand about the bombing and led a national rally of ‘half Million Mosque’ to protest terrorist bombing in Bangladesh.

And finally as the country president of International Majlis-e-Tahaffuz-e-Khatme Nabuwat Bangladesh (IMTKNB), an international outfit of anti-Ahmadiyya diehards, this Khatib Obaidul Haq has been a leading figure of Anti ahamadiya movement in Bangladesh.

And this same Khatib is now leading the  campaign against daily Prothom Alo, utilizing the cartoon issue.

So much for freedom of the religion (of the majority) in Bangladesh! And so much for independent institutions in Bangladesh!

Marhaba our Dear khatib!