Khairul Haque


The case is regarding Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir’s election to Parliament in the last parliamentary election. He is being represented by Barrister Rokonuddin Mahmud. Under a law enacted during the last military-caretaker government, a convicted person could not contest in the election, which Barrister Mahmud is trying to evade. This following exchange takes place between him and the judges hearing the case:

Court: What if we declared the entire military-caretaker government illegal?

Mahmud: (with some concern) That would make the last general election illegal as well.

Court: So what? It would give a nice jolt like the Fifth Amendment verdict.

Mahmud: We don’t want that, and we won’t be making that argument.

The Fifth Amendment verdict, along with the ones handed down by Chief Justice Khairul Huq, including the one cancelling the caretaker system (which has still not been written), did give Bangladesh quite a jolt. Who are the members of the bench wanting to make things even more exciting for our countrymen? The senior member is Justice Shamshuddin Chowdhury Manik, last seen throwing a tantrum in a Biman airplane and threatening to convene a court right there and then unless he was upgraded to Business Class despite having only a Economy Class ticket. The junior member is Justice Jahangir Hossain, who is a nephew of Zillur Rahman, the President of Bangladesh, and earlier used that piece of serendipity to grab the plum posting of Dhaka District Judge, superseding about two hundred judges with more experience. The normally supportive Mizanur Rahman Khan wrote a scathing article in Prothom Alo about Hossain’s shenanigans, which was titled: “The Judicial System is Collapsing.” Not that any of it mattered, Jahangir Hossain was duly elevated to the High Court, probably as Manik’s perfect foil.

Let us turn to another court appearance a few days before that. Three individuals who were accused in the sensational Lokman Hossain murder case, including the brother of the Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju, the current Telecommunications Minister, appear in front of another High Court bench, composed of Justices Syed Mohammed Dastagir Hossain and Gobindra Chandra Thakur. This following dialogue ensues, with Advocate Anisul Huq representing the defendants:

Court: It is an exception to see such a popular mayor being assassinated like this. Will our country run out of good men soon?

Huq: We wouldn’t have come to you, but the situation is bad. Please give us bail for thirty days.

Court: We have tried, but we cannot grant you bail. Our conscience will not allow it.

Where to begin here? First off, do Bangladesh’s judges remember their roles, or do they think that they are the heroes in some Bollywood movie? For the crime of murder, it does not matter if the victim is an elected official, or a popular leader, or an unknown person no one has heard of and no one mourns. The standard is the same, if that standard is met, then the defendants automatically get bail, otherwise not. And where does the judge’s conscience come into all this? In many areas of law, there is a considerable role for ambiguity and discretion. But obtaining a bail is not one of them. There is a straight-forward standard, and a person either deserves bail or does not. And none deserves to see play-acting in our highest courts.

A country can probably have stability if its generals don’t know how to make war, its scientists cannot innovate, or its bankers spend their days in profligate behavior. It cannot have stability if its jurists don’t understand law. Bangladesh’s immediate past Chief Justice Khairul Huq quoted salus republicae est suprema lex – the safety of the state is the highest law – in handing down two of his most controversial decisions, even though nothing could be further from the truth. The safety of the state may be ensured if political opponents are arrested and tortured, or if political dissidents are kidnapped and killed,  but the law can never countenance such. Bangladesh may get the leaders we deserve, but its people deserve better judges than these.

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Former Deputy Attorney General M U Ahmed died today under police custody in a city hospital. On August 11, 2011, at the order of high court judges Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Gobinda Thakur, he was arrested and tortured by police until he suffered from a massive myocardial Infarction.

It is evident that everybody living in side Bangladesh is afraid of calling a spade a spade. An environment of fear, extreme fear has been created by these two thuggish judges in Bangladesh. Last in their list of atrocities in the murder of ex Deputy Attorney General Advocate M U Ahmed. This is plain simple muder commited at the beheast of two blindly partisan judges by a brutal murderous police force of Awami League government.

Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque is going on retirement next week.  His retirement will mark the end of, in fellow blogger tacitaerno’s words, a reign of constitutional terror.

With his retirement, Justice Mojammel Hossain will be the new chief justice. Justice Haque could become chief justice and now he is being followed by Justice Mojammel Hossain only because both of them have proven their utmost loyalty to current ruling party and it’s leader. Both of them superseded Justice Shah Nayeem to become chief justices.

Below is a video montage of comments of different sort of legal professionals on the state of Bangladesh judiciary.

Will start with comments of a leading Supreme Court Lawyer Barrister Sara Hossain,

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The last BNP government passed the 14th Amendment on May 16, 2004. One of the provisions of the amendment was to raise the retirement age of our Supreme Court judges to sixty-seven from sixty-five. The move was commonly eviscerated as an attempt to influence the identity of the individual who would be the next Chief Adviser of the Caretaker Government when BNP left office. From Awami League’s own website:

On principles, nobody has got any reservation in enhancing the retirement age of the Supreme Court Judges…
This amendment has got direct bearing on formation of the next Care-Taker Govt. as per Article 58A of the Constitution…
Whatever may be the timing of holding the parliamentary election, it is now clear that the next Care-Taker Govt. would be Headed by the last retired Chief Justice of Bangladesh Justice K.M. Hasan. The burning question is whether it is at all possible to hold a peaceful, fair and impartial election by a Caretaker Govt. headed by Justice K. M. Hasan.

As the above makes clear, Awami League vehemently objected to the notion that the government was doing something to influence who would be the next Chief Adviser of Bangladesh. So vehement was Awami League’s opposition, that it launched the infamous logi-boith movement, that eventually led to two years of emergency rule. Supporters of Awami League went into intellectual paraoxysms to justify how influencing the identity of the chief adviser was such a grave sin that it would call the entire fairness of the election in question and no fair elections would be possible.

Awami League justified their decision to launch violent protests several times citing the persona of Chief Justice Hasan: “Awami League’s main demand is that Justice KM Hasan should not be made Chief Advisor of the caretaker government,” “the main bone of contention was the choice of the head of the caretaker authority to supervise the election,” “no blue print election under the BNP-Jamat alliance with Justice K M Hasan as the Chief Adviser of the Caretaker government,” “The AL does not want Justice K M Hasan to head the non-party administration.”

Writing on the tumultous day of October 28, 2006, Mahfuz Anam had this to say:

The fact that Awami League, the biggest opposition party, questions his neutrality has been known to us ever since he became the choice of caretaker chief. However, by itself, the AL’s claim did not cut much ice with us. Whatever partisan leanings there were back in the 80s, Justice Hasan’s subsequent role as a high court judge and later as the chief justice have revealed him to be a man of sufficient integrity and professionalism to be acceptable to all. Several lawyers and former judges that we have spoken to reinforce our view that he is sufficiently capable of carrying out his task as the chief of the caretaker government with fairness and competence. We also consider the controversy surrounding his latest visit to a mazar in Comilla to be highly exaggerated and blown out of proportion. Therefore, we repeat, by itself the argument of partisanship does not impress us…
However, it is the constitutional legitimacy of Justice Hasan’s position, in other words the way he became the choice to be the caretaker chief that, in our view, greatly weakens his moral authority to be the next caretaker chief…
The fact that he became the choice to be the caretaker chief because of a special constitutional amendment, in May 2004, extending the retirement age of judges from 65 to 67, naturally weakens his position.

There you have it. The decades of public service and unimpeachable behavior of a former chief justice of Bangladesh was not deemed strong enough to withstand the suspicion that he may become the chief advisor through the machinations of the government. The fact that a constitutional amendment (that, among other things, raised the number of women in our parliament, and also raised the retirement age of the Comptroller and Auditor General and members of the Public Service Commission) had the incidental effect of making him the next chief adviser was deemed sufficiently fatal to his prospects.

Fast forward to 2011. Chief Justice Khairul Haque’s reign of constitutional terror comes to an end on May 17. His replacement would normally be the next-senior justice, Justice Shah Abu Naim Monimur Rahman (appointed to the High Court by Chief Justice Habibur Rahman’s caretaker government, elevated to the Appellate Division by Fakhruddin Ahmed’s caretaker government). Instead, Awami League violates seniority and appoints Justice Muzammel Hossain as chief justice (our sincerest congratulations to him, and to Barrister Motahar). The sole motive of this violation of judicial seniority is to ensure that Chief Justice Khairul Huq becomes the next chief adviser of Bangladesh. Moreover, this violation in judicial seniority comes on the back of an earlier violation when Justice Khairul Haque was appointed chief justice by superseding two other justices senior to him. And an earlier move when the size of our Appellate Division was expanded from seven to eleven, all to expedite the promotion of Khairul Haque to the Appellate Division.

For all those who supported Awami League’s admittedly violent excesses during 2006, and its support of a de facto martial government on January 11, 2007, what should be done now? Or is it fine as long as Awami League is the beneficiary?

While giving the verdict on the legality of the punishment of Colonel Taher, the high-court bench of Justices Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Zakir Hossain declared that the whole trial process was illegal and it was in fact a cold blooded murder of Taher by Late president Ziaur Rahman.

What high-court did to come to this conclusion? They interviewed one shoddy journalist character Lawrence lifshultz, who is a political follower of Taher’s communist doctrine. Other interviewed are also 1. Political opponents of Ziaur Rahman’s political platform 2. Supporters of ruling party who took it as their prime job to destroy Zia’s image 3. Political followers of Colonel Taher. Even the judges who delivered the justice, are publicly known nemesis of Ziaur Rahman’s ideology and are former leaders of socialist political platform based on Taher’s doctrine. And this is probably the first court proceeding in Bangladesh history where an witness could simply deliver his opinion via e mail to a third person. There was no ‘balai’ of oath taking, cross examination etc.

Before we go further into what these two judges did and what their judgment means, lets see what Taher in fact did back in early 70s.

1. Taher revolted against the then Awami League government of Sheikh Mijibur Rahman and formed and led an armed force called ” Gonobahinee”. Thousands and thousands of Awami League activists, leaders as well as general people were killed by the armed force. Any literature describing Mujib era Bangladesh will give testimony of the atrocities of Taher’s Gonobahinee.

2. While all other sector commanders were being promoted in the army as Brigadier/ Major General and who in turn helped rebuild the army, Taher was sacked from Bangladesh army by Mujib Government. ( It is unclear what Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik had to say about this cold blooded sacking of ‘war hero’ Taher).

3. Many sources, well informed of the political military dynamics of 1975, say that it was Taher who was more likely to kill Mujib and there was an invisible race among Taher’s group and Faruq Rashids group in who would kill Mujib first. After hearing of the massacre of 15th August, most observers’ first suspicion was on Taher.

4. Taking the advantage of unstable situation of Bangladesh, Taher’s forces ( a select group of armed anti state forces including Taher’s brother Bahar) attacked Indian High Commission in Dhaka in an attempt to kill India’s high commissioner in Dhaka, Mr Samar Sen. Although Samar Sen survived with bullet wounds in his back, Police force guarding India’s high Commission shot and killed four members of Taher forces ( Including Taher brother Bahar).

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… will be rigged.

AL allowed fair elections in most municipalities because it thought it would win them.  Even after BNP did so well in the initial stages of the municipal elections, AL didn’t rig them because it wanted to show that it can be trusted with free and fair elections. How else will it do away with the caretaker system?

But the mask came off on the last day, when it rigged Noakhali.  AL just couldn’t handle the truth that it was no longer all that popular.  And the same dynamic will come to play tomorrow.  Official results will show that AL wins these seats by a bigger margin than it did in 2008.  Unofficially, it will be 1973 all over again.

AL need not worry about getting rid of the caretaker system.  It has Khairul Haque.

The memory of two years of under disguise martial law is still fresh in our minds. Among many things, that was the time for the center right politics in Bangladesh to get a much deserved thrashing. The military regime did not only go overboard in thrashing the emerging icon of center right politics, Tarique Rahman — the Army Chief and disguised CMLA Moeen U Ahmed received Horses from his Indian counterpart fulfilling all its symbolic value and pardoned a convicted murderer because he was a freedom fighter! And when the martial law steamroller was at its peak, rather surprisingly, woke up a portion of Dhaka University. During that short lived rebellion and the months following, while neo-Awami Leaguer and master revisionist of History Dr Anwar Hossain became face of intellectual and academic resistance, pro-BNP teachers suddenly all became pro -milirary crusaders. After enjoying all the perks of BNP rule of ten years, these “BNP minded” teachers who claim to belong to “Shada Panel”, suddenly became silent academic scintists who don’t understand anything about politics. However as Moeen U’s adventurism failed, it looks like suddenly these ‘Shada panel” academics got their voice back. Here are some excerpts of their recent chattering taken from Ali-Mahmed’s blog

ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের জীববিজ্ঞান অনুষদের ডিন আবুল বাশার বলেন, “দেশের আকাশ-বাতাসসহ প্রতিটি কণা ‘আমি তারেক জিয়া বলছি’ ডাকটি শুনতে চায়।” (প্রথম আলো/ ০৪.০৯.১০)
কলা অনুষদের ডিন সদরুল আমিন বলেন, “আমরা চাই তারেক জিয়া আমাদের মাঝে ফিরে আসুন…।”
বিজ্ঞান অনুষদের ডিন তাজমেরী এস এ ইসলাম বলেন, “…তারেক রহমান দেশের বাইরে বসে আত্মসমালোচনা ও আত্মবিশ্লেষণ করছেন।”
ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের শিক্ষক সমিতির সাধারণ সম্পাদক এ বি এম ওবায়দুল ইসলাম বলেন, “তারেক রহমান তারুণ্যের অহংকার। তাঁর দেহে দেশপ্রেম ও স্বাধীনচেতার রক্ত বইছে।…।”(প্রথম আলো/ ০৪.০৯.১০)

Anyway all their Tarique Rahman love fest did not help them win votes of Dhaka University teachers. In both Dhaka University and Chittagong University; the ” BNP-Jamaat ভাবধারার সাদা প্যনেল” got their thrashing of life by being soundly defeated.
One can rest assured that these dumb scoundrels will not take lesson from this. They will keep on their তারিক বন্দনা forgetting their real role in Bangladesh politics.

First of all, while they have their right to get involved in national level politics, they should have known that they should not bring the national politics in University Teachers union election.

Second, when university teachers get involved in national politics, they are expected to play the role of ideologues and pressure groups of caution within their political platform. Arranging Tarique love fest is exactly the thing that is not the job of University teachers. But being the ideologues and pressure group of caution within the party, their role should have been to speak out that Tarique is at the core of everything that went wrong with BNP since 2001. Thanks to Tarique Rahman, BNP got 20% less vote than Awami league during last election. These university teachers were supposed to tell that to Mrs. Khaleda Zia. Who will tell otherwise? They are the ones who would rather arrange seminar, round tables and talk about the outrageous nature of the verdicts of current Chief Justice Khairul Haque, or the gross misinformation and frank lies in the Fifth Amendment verdict. These teachers should have been the ones who should have explained Zia’s politics to the new generations. or discuss about the শুভঙ্করের ফাকি in the name of transit or they would have been nations conscience regarding Tipaimukh issue. And shame on these morons, only thing they thought they could do is this, “দেশের আকাশ-বাতাসসহ প্রতিটি কণা ‘আমি তারেক জিয়া বলছি’ ডাকটি শুনতে চায়।”

And thirdly, what do these BNP supporting teachers mean by “BNP-Jamaat ভাবধারার সাদা প্যনেল”? Do they know or understand what is Jamaat’s vabdhara? Jamaat’s main political goal is establishment of আল্লার আইন . How does that match with BNP’s ভাবধারা ? Do that Dean of Arts faculty, those Professors of History know that BNP founder Ziaur Rahman did not allow jamaat to do politics in Bangladesh? Or I am expecting too much from these foolhardy opportunists known as Shada panel member teachers?

If this is the intellectual quality of the academic leaders of our top academic centers, what is the future of the country?

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