‘Ex-lawmaker Shahidul organising Huji,B from Dubai’

Nuruzzaman Labu and Salman Tareque Sakil
Published : 00:01, Oct 27, 2019 | Updated : 15:40, Oct 27, 2019

Former Narail-2 lawmaker Mufti Shahidul IslamFormer Narail-2 lawmaker Mufti Shahidul Islam is allegedly organising banned outfit Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami Bangladesh (HuJI,B) from Dubai, according to a member of the organisation in police custody.
On Oct 2 Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) members arrested Huji,B leader Atiqullah alias Asadullah alias Zulfiqar, 49, and his two aides from the Boro Mosque field near Dhaka’ Nikunja 1.
According to the police, Atiqullah who is a top leader of the outfit joined in 1991 and served as the Chattogram metropolitan unit organising secretary until being elected into the central committee in 1993.
CTTC said that he also took part in multiple meetings held with top militant leaders, including Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar, Ayman al-Zawahiri, during the war in Afghanistan.
“He gave us plenty of information regarding the re-organisiation of HuJI,B during interrogation,” said CTTC Deputy Commissioner Saiful Islam.
He added that they are still analysing the information in the confessional statements he gave in court and trying to arrest those who were trying to revive the outfit.
HuJI,B was launched in 1989 by Mowlana Abdur Rahman Faruqi but he died that very year during the removal of a mine at Afghanistan.
Three years later the outfit officially began its journey in Apr 30, 1992 after a media call at National Press Club in Dhaka.
In his confessional statement Atiqullah said that he came to Bangladesh in March and started working to release the imprisoned members of the organisation and Mufti Shahidul Islam assured him of his support.
Harqat Ul Islam (HuJI,B) leader Atiqullah alias Asadullah alias ZulfiqarHe also said that the two met in February and formed a committee to collect funds from different states.
Mufti Shahidul Islam came to Bangladesh from Pakistan during the 1980s and publicly entered the political scene a little before the 8th national polls.
He tried to increase his political support by collecting funds by establishing the NGO Al Markajul Islami Bangladesh in 1988 with an influential Qawmi scholar as the founding chairman.
A top leader of Khelafat-e-Majlish told Bangla Tribune that Shahidul joined the party in 2001. He lost the election to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina but won the by-polls. He was elected the senior amir of the party shortly after he won.
Election Commission sources said that Shahidul lost the 2008 and his candidacy was scrapped during the Dec 30 polls in 2018.
“My father has been out of the country for the last 10 years. He is currently in Dubai and came to the country around six months ago,” Shahidul’s son Mufti Mohammad told Bangla Tribune.
A reliable Khelafat-e-Majlish source said that he developed good ties with the Dubai Sheikhs during his visits there while studying in Pakistan. He then started militant operations within the country based on those ties.
The NGO, meawhile, was involved with Islamic teaching organisations, hospitals and ambulances. However, Shahid allegedly maintained contact with HuJI,B militants behind the NGO operations.
Al Markajul Islami has its own property in Dhaka’s Babar Road and Shyamoli now and raised funds from wealthy Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai and Arab Emirates patrons.
Several orphanage and madrasas were established in remote regions with the funding. They also oversaw training of needy women but there are allegations of patronising several militant organasitions including HuJI,B against the organisation.
The NGO is also one of the two organisations banned from working with the Rohingyas at Cox’s Bazar for funding and supplying T-shirts for the Aug 25 Rohingya rally.
Cox’s Bazar Additional Deputy Commissioner Ashraful Afsar said that that the banking transactions of Adra and Al Markajul Al Islam have also been frozen.