From gallows to politics

995
Aslam Fakir
Rozina Islam | Update: 12:07, Sep 24, 2017 | Print Edition

Orders to hang Juba League leader Aslam Fakir, convicted for murder, were suspended at the last moment due to his ‘unnatural’ behaviour.

However, there is nothing ‘unnatural’ in his behaviour following his release from prison. On the contrary, he is busy with his political campaigning.

Aslam Fakir has been seen with the Faridpur-4 member of parliament member and ruling Awami League (AL) presidium member Kazi Zafarullah and his wife Nilufer Zafarullah, also an MP, at different programmes in the area after his release.

The two MPs are said to have backed Aslam’s release from prison. Aslam also has ambitions to become a local representative and an AL leader.

Asked over phone about how he got sick just before being hanged, Aslam said, “I was not sick, I just got scared as the conviction was fixed. The next day I saw the conviction was cancelled.”

When asked who helped him to get clemency, Aslam replied, “Who else? Leader Zafarullah and his wife MP Nilofer Zafarullah. They showed what they can do.”

Faridpur’s Bhanga upazila Juba League leader Aslam Fakir was accused on 25 September 2005 of murdering Manikdaha union chairman Shaheb Ali alias Shaheb Miah.

District and sessions court sentenced him to death in the murder case. The verdict was also upheld by the High Court.

Kashimpur central prison sources said, Aslam Fakir appealed for a presidential clemency on 19 May 2013, which was rejected on 13 October 2014 and he was to be hanged on 13 November 2014.

However, the death penalty was suspended on 12 November, just at the last moment due to Aslam’s ‘unnatural’ behaviour.

Plea for a presidential clemency, for the second time, was also filed on the same day.

Later on 26 February 2015, the conviction was reduced to a 14-year imprisonment sentence.

This too was revoked as Nilofer Zafarullah MP issued a recommendation letter to the home ministry to release Aslam on 26 March for “good behaviour”.

Aslam was released from jail on 25 August, after 13 years and two days of imprisonment.

Aslam returned to his home, Manikdaha village, three days later on 28 August.

When our reporter tried to talk to Aslam on 17 September, Aslam said he has no time as ‘leader’ (Kazi Zafarullah) is coming for a visit to Sadarpur and Charbhadrasan.

“And the leader is very punctual”, he said.

Later the reporter had a talk with Aslam over phone. Aslam said he is perfectly fine now. He had checkups in different hospitals, and they said he has no problems now. He is now busy with campaign work.

Kazi Zafarullah said the matter is political and refrained from further comment.

Home minister Asaduzzaman said, “He was a mental patient. That is why he is pardoned. This is not right if he is roaming around and campaigning. This is not right.”

Shaheb Miah’s wife Paruli Begum, who was a plaintiff in the case, told Prothom Alo, “Such injustice is intolerable. After being sentenced to death, Aslam Fakir’s pleas for mercy had been rejected. Even so, the orders were withdrawn just before he was due to hang. Influential people are now celebrating with my husband’s murderer and campaigning in the area.”

Lawyer Shahdeen Malik has said, “The incident indicates that we are facing a sick situation. There is no specific policy to decide who will be pardoned and who will not. Other countries have a clear policy. Lack of policy is helping the misuse of power”

*This article, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Saimul Huda.