Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
October 12th was one of the normal days for most of the people around the world. But, to my family and me, it was not. It was the day, when Metropolitan Session Judge Azizul Huq was ready to hear the witnesses against me in the false sedition, treason and blasphemy charges, the former Islamist alliance government brought against me. The US Embassy and European Union once again sent their observers to the court to witness the trial. I really do not know if the Bangladeshi government understands the importance of presence of foreign observers to any case. Most of the foreign nations, defending human rights and doing everything for transparency and neutrality of judiciary send observers to trials to specifically observe the entire process. Each time, foreign observers have witnessed that the Bangladeshi government is continuing to harass me by fixing dates after date [since April 2005] and each of the time, either the witnesses do not appear or the trial is shifted to another new date for reason unknown. I am quite confident that, the judge and the prosecution are absolutely aware of the fact that the charges brought against me are not only baseless and false, it do not have any evidence to present. The charge sheet, which had been prepared by some police officers after investigation of nearly two years, contains nothing but some clean bull shits. In this case, may anyone question the mystery behind continuing the trial. Answer is very simple, but extremely alarming. The government does not wish to drop the charge which, they believe may annoy the Islamists. In this case, as an ordinary citizen of Bangladesh, may I humbly ask everyone that should the nation and the global community expect anything good from such pals of Islamists?
Since I was released on bail in April 2005, I am continuing to show my face to the court almost every month. This certainly costs energy, time and money. Above all, such presence puts tremendous psychological pressure on me. During each of the court dates, especially my wife and two children get horrified thinking of the ultimate fate. It may be mentioned here that, according to the existing law of Bangladesh, sedition is a capital offense. And, if we shall look into the past track record of the proceedings of court in my case, it may not be silly to believe that the government and the judge is looking for every possibility in fixing manila role on my neck.
Now, many people might ask a straight question to justify as to why I am considering the present government too in Bangladesh as appeasers of Islamists. Reply is very simple and possibly known to many. When Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Pakistan, on that evening, one of the advisors of the military backed interim government in Bangladesh, Barrister Moinul Hussain criticized Pervez Musharraf’s joining war on terror and combating Al Qaeda. He categorically hinted that this government is not interested in becoming a partner in war of terror. Despite numerous articles criticizing such comments by Moinul, the interim government remained absolutely silent. It evidently proves that this government is not willing to be a partner in war on terror; rather it wants to have good relations with the opposite quarters.
Bangladeshi interim government’s chief advisor Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, during OIC Summit in Senegal raised the issue of ‘ending occupation’. What does this statement mean? Which ‘occupation’ he is referring to? Does it go in favor of Palestinian’s unjust demand? Does it go against US actions in Iraq? Does it go against anti Taliban offensives and subsequent government in Afghanistan? Does it go in favor of Pakistan’s demand on Jammu and Kashmir? Everyone will understand that this speech was a kind of anger against United States and many of its partners in war on terror. Iraq was liberated from the nasty grips of Saddam Hussain while Afghanistan from Taliban. Should someone call it ‘occupation’? Why? May be because, someone is not happy with the actions or initiatives of United States. In that case, where is the ultimate inclination or affiliation of such statement? Certainly many of the recent comments of policymakers in Bangladesh will make many of the ultra Islamists extremely delighted. It will go in favor of Ahmadinejad or Hamas or even dictatorial kings in many of the Middle Eastern countries. But, this will surely not create any good impact for Bangladesh as a good development partners of many of the western nations who are seeing radical Islam as one of the worst problems of today’s world. And with all such facts, how I can feel comfortable and expect justice in the sedition, treason and blasphemy charges I am facing? Everyone knows, this case was brought with the intention of giving a ‘good lesson’ to anyone opposing jihad or religious hatred. But, despite all adversities, let me leave one simple comment on those appeasers of Islamists. Being a Muslim Zionist opposing jihad and culture of religious hatred, I shall never stop. A false case of some year’s harassment will never be able to dampen my spirits. Rather it makes me much stronger and determined.