Ghulam Azam
Bangladeshi politician
Ghulam Azam
Ghulam Azam is a retired Bangladeshi Islamist political leader. He was the Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh until 2000. Azam opposed the independence of Bangladesh before and during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War which according to him was out of a desire to maintain a unified Pakistan, and for fear of Indian hegemony.
Biography
Ghulam Azam's personal information overview.
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Bangladesh charges U.S.-based rights group with contempt
Yahoo News - over 3 years
DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh prosecutors on Tuesday charged Human Right Watch with contempt of court after the New York-based rights group criticized the conviction of a top Islamist politician on war crimes charges. But it was not immediately clear what the move will mean, as Human Rights Watch does not have a resident representative in Bangladesh to stand accused. Ghulam Azam, 91, the former head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was jailed for 90 years last month for masterminding crimes against humanity, genocide and other offences during the country's 1971 war of independence. ...
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Yahoo News article
Bangladeshi politics: Jamaat tomorrow
The Economist - over 3 years
Ghulam Azam, the torchlight THE screws are tightening on Bangladesh’s main Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami. The International Crimes Tribunal, a troubled domestic court, has convicted two more prominent opposition figures for their roles during the country’s bloody secession from Pakistan in 1971. Five have so far been jailed or told they will hang, with several more on trial. Though not banned yet, Jamaat is being gutted as a political force.Prosecutors called Ghulam Azam, who long headed the pro-Pakistani Jamaat, the “torchlight” who guided massacres of intellectuals in Dhaka at the end of the conflict. Members of Jamaat’s student wing manned death squads committing appalling crimes alongside Pakistani soldiers. On July 15th tribunal judges convicted Mr Azam of genocide, war crimes and murder and sentenced him to 90 years. A death sentence was commuted, they said, because of his age (90) and ill health. His lawyer said he was guilty only of opposing independence.Two days later the ...
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The Economist article
Acts of Killing: How Asia Still Struggles with Histories of Genocide
Yahoo News - over 3 years
On Monday, a controversial special tribunal in Bangladesh deemed a 90-year-old man a war criminal. Ghulam Azam, the spiritual head of Bangladesh’s far-right Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party, was found guilty of “crimes against humanity” for the part he played in inciting and organizing death squads that allegedly slaughtered thousands in the final bloody months of Bangladesh’s 1971 war for independence. Rather than give Azam the death sentence — as it had already ruled for a number of others connected to him — the court sentenced the frail nonagenarian to 90 years in jail. ...
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Yahoo News article
Police fire on protesters in Bangladesh, two Islamist demonstrators killed
The Times of India - over 3 years
Two Islamist demonstrators, including a minor, were killed in police firing when machete-wielding protesters went on a rampage on Tuesday against the conviction of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami's 91-year-old supremo Ghulam Azam.     
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The Times of India article
Bangladesh Islamist Ghulam Azam found guilty of war crimes - BBC News
Google News - over 3 years
euronews Bangladesh Islamist Ghulam Azam found guilty of war crimes BBC News A war crimes court has found Islamist leader Ghulam Azam guilty of five charges relating to Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence with Pakistan. Ghulam Azam was sentenced to 90 years in jail for his involvement in mass killings and rape during the war. Bangladesh Sentences Islamist Leader for War CrimesVoice of America Bangladesh: Islamist leader found guilty of war crimeseuronews Bangladesh Sentences Top Islamist Politician for War CrimesWall Street Journal Financial Times -Sky News Australia -Bloomberg all 119 news articles »
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Google News article
Clashes ahead of Bangladesh war crimes verdict
Fox News - over 3 years
Clashes erupted in Bangladesh Sunday between police and supporters of the country's biggest Islamic party ahead of a court verdict against a top Islamist for allegedly masterminding atrocities during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan. Some 400 Jamaat-e-Islami activists burnt a police van and hurled crude bombs in the capital Dhaka, police said, to protest what they say are false charges against Ghulam Azam, 90, who could face the death penalty if convicted by the war crimes court on Monday. Previous sentences by the controversial court sparked the country's worst political violence since independence. A police officer was seriously injured in the latest clashes after being hit by a rock, assistant police commissioner Saifur Rahman told AFP. Azam was the head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party during the war in which the government says millions were killed, many by the militias he allegedly helped create to support the Pakistani army. The International Crimes Tribunal -- set up b ...
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Fox News article
Witness 'met Siru Mian in jail'
bdnews24 - over 4 years
Artiste Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul testifies as 14th prosecution witness against Jamaat guru Ghulam Azam. More to follow
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bdnews24 article
Sayedee investigator further quizzed
bdnews24 - almost 5 years
ICT-1 is expected to give the indictment order of Jamaat guru Ghulam Azam on Sunday Full Story
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bdnews24 article
IO deposition in Sayedee case continues
bdnews24 - almost 5 years
ICT-1 defers indictment order of Jamaat guru Ghulam Azam to May 2 Full story
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bdnews24 article
War Crimes in Bangladesh & Islam
E-Bangladesh - almost 5 years
But a different question is pinching me since last week, when the tribunal issued arrest warrant against the ‘Bacchu Razakar’ alias Abul Kalam Azad. I have been wondering if the Muslims should demand their additional punishment for destroying the religion’s image. Why do I say so? Running ameer of Jamayat-e-Islami Matiur Rahamn Nizami, Nayebe-e-Ameer Delawar Hossain Sayedee, ex-ameer Ghulam Azam, and three more Jamayat leaders are in jail facing charges of war crimes. Two BNP men, including the `famous’ Chittagong MP Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, are also behind the bar. The other one, Abdul Alim, a member of party’s cabinet under its founder, military strongman Ziaur Rahman, is on conditional bail. You may know, all of them are hooked by the International Crimes Tribunal for their alleged war crimes during 1971. But a different question is pinching me since last week, when the tribunal issued arrest warrant against the ‘Bacchu Razakar’ alias Abul Kalam Azad. I have been wondering ...
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E-Bangladesh article
Ghulam Azam plea hearing Thursday
bdnews24 - almost 5 years
S Q Chowdhury's indictment order on Apr 4, Alim's formal charges on Apr 24 Updates
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bdnews24 article
Ghulam Azam indictment hearing delayed
bdnews24 - almost 5 years
The war crimes tribunal adjourns the Jamaat-e-Islami guru's hearing by one day in a 2-1 majority decision as the defence does not show up. Full story
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bdnews24 article
Ghulam Azam to get home food
bdnews24 - almost 5 years
The International Crimes Tribunal dealing with 1971 war crimes on Tuesday allowed Jamaat-e-Islami's poiitcal guru <a class="fplink fp-100203" href="/Ghulam+Azam+1">Ghulam Azam</a> to take homemade food in the prison cell. Full story
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bdnews24 article
Ghulam Azam denied bail again
bdnews24 - about 5 years
The tribunal dealing with war crimes charges says it is not convinced that the political guru of Jamaat-e-Islami needs bail on health ground. Full story
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bdnews24 article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Ghulam Azam
    FORTIES
  • 2014
    Ghulam Azam died of a stroke on 23 October 2014 at 10:10 pm at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) while serving jail sentences for crimes against humanity during Bangladesh Liberation War.
    More Details Hide Details His death was reported by Abdul Majid Bhuiyan, director of BSMMU. Ghulam was kept on life support since 8 pm of that day. He was also suffering from kidney problems. Azam was buried at their family graveyard at Moghbazar, Dhaka on 25 October. His namaz-e-janaza was held at Bangladesh's national mosque Baitul Mokarram. The funeral was attended by hundreds of thousands of mourners. Different quarters of the country protested against taking Azam's body to the national mosque because of his war crimes conviction and his opposition to the independence of the country.
  • 2012
    On 25 February 2012, The Daily Star reported that Azam's nephew was denied a visit at the last minute just as he was about to enter the hospital prison room.
    More Details Hide Details This is despite the application for the visit being initially approved. Islamic activists from different countries expressed their concern for Mr. Azam. The International Union of Muslim Scholars, chaired by Yusuf al-Qaradawi called the arrest "disgraceful", and called on the Bangladesh government to release him immediately, stating that "the charge of Professor Ghulam Azam and his fellow scholars and Islamic activists of committing war crimes more than forty years ago is irrational and cannot be accepted". The judicial process under which Azam is on trial has been criticised by international organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. So far, the ICT has sentenced two of the accused to death and has given a life sentence to another. Azam was convicted of war crimes during the Bangladesh Liberation War by the International Crimes Tribunal-1 of Bangladesh. The charges against Azam were conspiring, planning, incitement to and complicity in committing genocide, crimes against humanity, and other war crimes and torture and killing of a police officer Shiru Mia and three other civilians. He was found guilty on all five charges and sentenced to 90 years in prison. The judges unanimously agreed that Azam deserved capital punishment but was given a lenient punishment because of his age and health condition.
    On 11 January 2012, Azam was arrested on charges of committing crimes against humanity and peace, genocide and war crimes in 1971 by the International Crimes Tribunal.
    More Details Hide Details His petition for bail was rejected by the ICT, and he was sent to Dhaka Central Jail. However, after three hours he was sent to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) hospital for a medical check-up due to his old age. According to The Daily Star, Azam was allowed to remain in a hospital prison cell despite being declared fit for trial by a medical team on 15 January. The same paper later acknowledged that he had been placed there due to his "ailing condition". Azam's health has deteriorated rapidly since being imprisoned. His wife, Syeda Afifa Azam was reported in several newspapers as being shocked at his treatment, stating that he has become very weak and has lost 3 kilograms in a month due to malnutrition. She described his treatment as "a gross violation of human rights" even though he was kept in a hospital prison cell.
    Notably, it was at the center of the 2012 ICT Skype controversy.
    More Details Hide Details As a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, he led the formation of the Shanti Committees which were formed at the time of the Liberation War alongside other pro-Pakistan Bengali leaders. Azam was accused of forming paramilitary groups for the Pakistani Army, including Razakars, and Al-Badr. These militias opposed the Mukti Bahini members who fought for the independence of Bangladesh, and also stand accused of war crimes. Azam's citizenship of Bangladesh had been cancelled by the Bangladeshi Government because of his role during the Bangladesh Liberation War. He lived in Bangladesh illegally without any authorised Bangladeshi visa from 1978 to 1994, when the Bangladesh Supreme Court reinstated his citizenship. Azam was arrested on 11 January 2012 on the charges of committing war crimes during the Bangladesh Liberation War by the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh. The tribunal rejected the plea of bail after noting that there were formal charges against Azam of which it had taken cognisance.
  • THIRTIES
  • 2000
    Azam announced his retirement from active politics in late 2000.
    More Details Hide Details He was succeeded by Motiur Rahman Nizami.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1994
    In 1994, he fought a lengthy legal battle which resulted in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh ruling in his favour and restoring his nationality.
    More Details Hide Details In the 1996 election, Jamaat won only three seats, and most of their candidates lost their deposits.
  • 1991
    During this time, he acted unofficially as the Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami until 1991, when he was officially elected to the post.
    More Details Hide Details This led to the government arresting him and an unofficial court called The People's Court was established by civilians such as Jahanara Imam to try alleged war criminals and anti-independence activists. Imam held a symbolic trial of Azam where thousands of people gathered and gave the verdict that Azam's offences committed during the Liberation War deserve capital punishment.
  • 1990
    He proposed a caretaker government system to facilitate free and fair elections, which was adopted in 1990.
    More Details Hide Details In the Bangladeshi general election, 1991, Jamaat-e-Islami won 18 seats and its support allowed the BNP to form a government.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1982
    In the 1980s, Azam was particularly critical of the military rule of General Ershad after he seized power in a bloodless coup in 1982 and Jamaat-e-Islami took part in demonstrations and strikes as well as other opposition parties such as the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
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  • 1981
    His stay was however, was unwelcome in Bangladesh, and he was beaten by sandals by an angry mob at the footsteps of the Baitul Mukarram Mosque while attending a funeral in 1981.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1978
    In 1978 Azam returned to Bangladesh on a temporary visa with a Pakistani passport and stayed as a Pakistani national after his visa expired, refusing to leave a country he considered his home by birth-right.
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    Government of newly independent Bangladesh, banned Jamaat-e-Islami and cancelled Azam's citizenship due to his alleged role during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Azam lived in exile in London until he was allowed to return home in 1978. Jamaat's rehabilitation began when Ziaur Rahman became president after a coup in 1975 and lifted the previous ban on religious parties.
    More Details Hide Details In 1977, Zia removed secularism in the constitution, replacing it with Islamic ideals, further clearing the way for Jamaat-e-Islami to return to political participation.
  • 1971
    On 12 August 1971, Azam declared in a statement published in the Daily Sangram that "the supporters of the so-called Bangladesh Movement are the enemies of Islam, Pakistan, and Muslims".
    More Details Hide Details For his part, Azam denies all such accusation and challenges that proof be brought forward to justify them. However, he later admitted that he was on the list of collaborators of the Pakistani army, but denied he was a war criminal. The military junta of Yahya Khan decided to call an election in an attempt to legitimise themselves. On 12 October 1971, Yahya Khan declared that an election will be held from 25 November to 9 December. Azam decided to take part in this election. On 15 October, the Pakistani government suddenly declared that 15 candidates were elected without any competition. According to the declaration of 2 November as many as 53 candidates were elected without any competition. In this election Jamaat won 14 of the uncontested seats. Former caretaker government adviser, human rights activist and witness for the prosecution Sultana Kamal said- "In brutality, Ghulam Azam is synonymous with German ruler Hitler who had influential role in implementation and execution of genocide and ethnic cleansing". In response to this statement the defence counsel pointed out that the comparison was a fallacy and 'fake with malicious intention' as Hitler held state power, which Azam did not and that in 1971 General Tikka Khan and Yahya Khan held state power. Prosecutor of ICT Zead-Al-Malum said- “He was the one making all the decisions, why would he need to be on any committee? Being Hitler was enough for Hitler in World War II.”
    On 20 June 1971, Azam declared in Lahore that the Hindu minority in East Pakistan, under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, are conspiring to secede from Pakistan.
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    Azam is also alleged to be the chief protagonist and to present the blueprint of the killing of the intellectuals in a meeting with Rao Forman Ali in Early September 1971. In accordance with this blue print, the largest number of Bengali intellectuals assassinations performed by Pakistani Army and the local collaborators, on 14 December 1971.
    More Details Hide Details
    On 12 August 1971, Azam declared in a statement published in the Daily Sangram that "the supporters of the so-called Bangladesh Movement are the enemies of Islam, Pakistan, and Muslims".
    More Details Hide Details He also called for an all out war against India. He called for the annexation of Assam.
    On 12 April 1971, Azam and Matiur Rahman Nizami led demonstrations denouncing the independence movement as an Indian conspiracy.
    More Details Hide Details During the war Azam travelled to the then West Pakistan to consult the Pakistani leaders. Azam declared that his party (Jamaat) is trying its best to curb the activities of pro-independence "Miscreants". Azam took part in meetings with General Yahiya Khan, the military dictator of Pakistan, and other military leaders, to organise the campaign against Bangladeshi independence.
    During Azam's leadership of Jamaat-e-Islami, Ashraf Hossain, a leader of Jamaat's student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha, created the Al-Badr militia in Jamalpur District on 22 April 1971.
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    During the war of 1971, it is alleged that Azam played a central role in the formation of Peace Committees on 11 April 1971, which declared the independence movement to be a conspiracy hatched by India.
    More Details Hide Details It is also alleged that Azam was one of the founding members of this organisation. The Peace Committee members were drawn from Azam's Jamaat-e-Islami, the Muslim League and Biharis. The Peace Committee served as a front for the army, informing on the civil administration as well as the general public. They were also in charge of confiscating and redistribution of shops and lands from Hindu and pro-independence Bengalis, mainly relatives and friends of Mukti Bahini fighters. Almost 10 million Bangladeshis fled to neighbouring India as refugees. The Shanti Committee has also been alleged to have recruited Razakars. The first recruits included 96 Jamaat party members, who started training in an Ansar camp at Shahjahan Ali Road, Khulna.
    On 20 June 1971, Azam reaffirmed his support for the Pakistani army by stating that 'the army has eradicated nearly all criminals of East Pakistan'.
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    Excerpts from Azam's speeches after 25 March 1971 used to be published in the spokespaper of Jamaat named The Daily Sangram.
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    During the Bangladesh Liberation War, Azam took a political stance in support of unified Pakistan, and repeatedly denounced Awami League and Mukti Bahini secessionists, whose declared aim after 26 March 1971 became the establishment of an independent state of Bangladesh in place of East Pakistan.
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  • 1970
    During 1970, while Azam was the head of Jamaat-e-Islami East Pakistan, a number of political rallies, including rallies of Jamaat-e-Islami, were attacked by armed mobs alleged to be incited by the Awami League.
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    In the runup to the 1970 general election, Azam together with leaders of a number of other parties in East Pakistan (including the Pakistan Democratic Party, National Awami Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and the Pakistan National League) protested at the Awami League approach to electioneering for, accusing them of breaking up public meetings, physical attacks on political opponents and the looting and destruction of party offices.
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  • 1969
    On 13 March 1969, Khan announced his acceptance of their two fundamental demands of parliamentary government and direct elections.
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    He and other opposition leaders including future President of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took part in the Round Table Conference held in Rawalpindi in 1969 to solve the prevailing political impasse in Pakistan.
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    In 1969, he became the Ameer of the Jamaat in East Pakistan.
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  • OTHER
  • 1967
    He played a prominent role as the general secretary of the Pakistan Democratic Movement formed in 1967 and later as a member of Democratic Action Committee formed in 1969 to transform the anti-Ayub movement into a popular uprising.
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  • 1964
    In 1964, the government of Ayub Khan banned Jamaat-e-Islami and its leaders, including Azam, was imprisoned for eight months without trial.
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  • 1954
    During this time, he became influenced by the writings of Abul Ala Maududi and he joined Maududi's party Jamaat-e-Islami in 1954, and was later elected as the Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami's East Pakistan branch.
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  • 1950
    In 1950, Azam left Dhaka to teach political science at the Government Carmichael College in Rangpur.
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  • 1947
    While General Secretary of the DUCSU Azam in 1947 submitted a memorandum on the union's behalf to the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan, demanding that Bengali be made a state language along with Urdu.
    More Details Hide Details Later in 1970 in a newspaper article Azam said "Bangla was a wrong decision with regard to the establishment of Pakistan since Urdu was widely used and all Muslims of the Indian subcontinent understand it."
    While studying at the University of Dhaka Azam became active in student politics and was elected as the General Secretary of the Dhaka University Central Students' Union (DUCSU) for two consecutive years between 1947 and 1949.
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  • 1922
    Azam was born on 7 November 1922 in the then Bengal province of British India, the eldest son of Maulana Ghulam Kabir and Sayeda Ashrafunnisa.
    More Details Hide Details He attended a madrasa in his village of Birgaon, Nabinagar, Brahmanbaria in Comilla and completed his secondary school education in Dhaka. He then joined Dhaka University, completing BA and MA degrees in political science.
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