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|Law, Information and Land Advisor|
January 14, 2007 – January 8, 2008
|Prime Minister||Fakhruddin Ahmed|
|Preceded by||Md. Fazlul Haque|
|Succeeded by||A F Hasan Arif|
|Member of Parliament|
March 1973 – May 1975
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Political party||Bangladesh Awami League|
|Alma mater||University of Dhaka
Middle Temple Inn
|Occupation||Lawyer, printer and publisher of The New Nation|
Mainul Hosein is a lawyer and the printer and publisher of daily newspaper The New Nation. Previously, he was the chairman of the editorial board of The Daily Ittefaq, one of the oldest and previously the largest circulating daily Bengali news publication in Bangladesh. The Daily Ittefaq played a critical role during the movement for independence of Bangladesh. The newspaper was burned down by Pakistani army on March 25, 1971 the day before declaration of independence of the country. Hosein was the Law, Information and Land advisor to the immediate past interim Government of Bangladesh for one year (January 13, 2007 – January 9, 2008).
Hosein is a lawyer by profession and former chairman of the editorial board of The Daily Ittefaq and now of The New Nation. He was selected as an Advisor to the military-backed Caretaker Government. He received the portfolios of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs, Land, and Information. That happened after 11 January military takes over.
On January 11, 2007, the President of Bangladesh declared a State of Emergency under the pressure of an army group led by Moeen and suspended the elections which were scheduled to be held on January 22.
The President had also been serving as the Chief Advisor of the Caretaker Government and on January 11 resigned from that post, nominating Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed as the Chief Advisor.
However, Hosein was forced to resign from the interim government one year after taking oath after making baseless, derogatory and partisan remarks against various political leaders of the country including two former prime ministers Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia on January 8, 2008. During the caretaker government, the country's two heads of major political parties, Sheikh Hasina and Khaled Zia were arrested.
Mainul was elected to Parliament in 1973 from his village constituency at Bhandaria in the district of Pirojpur (Barisal) as a member of Awami League. Hosein along with General Osmani resigned from the parliament in May 1975 after Sheikh Mujibur Rahman abolished democracy in the country and instituted a one-party system of government through the Fourth Amendment to the constitution.
Hosein joined the Democratic League which was formed in 1978, led by Khondaker Moshtaq Ahmad, one of the allegedly conspirers of the Mujib assassination. Moshtaq who was the president (as a puppet placed in the role by Major General Ziaur Rahman) immediately after the assignation in 1975 of Mujib proclaimed the Indemnity Ordinance, which granted immunity from prosecution to the assassins of Mujib. Mujib's daughters Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana were barred from returning to Bangladesh from abroad. Moshtaq was imprisoned by Brigadier General Khaled Mosharraf and later by the Ziaur Rahman administration until 1978. Upon his release, Moshtaq formed Democratic League and attempted to resuscitate his political career, but to no avail.
Mainul was imprisoned by Major General Ziaur Rahman along with other members of the Democratic League for allegedly trying to overthrow the military government in 1978.
Hosein held several important posts earlier in the print media sector of the country. He was the President of Bangladesh Sangbadpatra Parishad, an association of newspaper owners. Hosein was elected President, Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association for the term 2000–2001.
Hosein is the eldest son of Tofazzal Hossain Manik Miah, the founder of The Daily Ittefaq and close advisor and friend of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who is considered the founding father of Bangladesh. He obtained his B.A. Hons in political science with distinction from Dhaka University in 1961. He left for London to study Law and joined Middle Temple Inn. He was called to the Bar in 1965 and became a Barrister-at-Law.
The Daily Ittefaq
Following the death of their father Tofazzal Hossain Manik Mia, the two brothers ran The Daily Ittefaq for a long time. The newspaper that was shelled by the Pakistani Army on 25 December 1971 was resurrected by Mainul Hosein and Anwar Hossain Manju post liberation war.
However, Bangladesh government banned all the newspapers except the government-run newspapers, the Bangladesh Observer and the Dainik Bangla, via the News Paper Cancellation Act on 16 June 1975. It also took over the publication of The Daily Ittefaq and the Bangladesh Times. Following the assassination of Sheikh Mujib and members of his family in a bloody and brutal coup by anti-liberation forces, the private newspapers including The Daily Ittefaq was returned to its owners on 24 August 1975.
After a long feud involving ownership of The Daily Ittefaq, Hosein decided to leave the company in May 2010. The rest of Manik Mia family remained with the Ittefaq newspaper while Hosein exited taking along the 1 RK Mission Road building and the printing press. According to insiders, Hosein and his brother Anwar Hossain Manju were battling a court case regarding Printer and Publisher titles of The Daily Ittefaq. During the caretaker government, Mainul's wife Saju Hosein took over the Printer and Publisher posts from his exiled brother. However, upon Manju's return, the transition was challenged, Mainul fearing loss in court decided to exit the company.
The long-time dispute between the brothers led to the near demise of The Daily Ittefaq which now, in terms of circulation, lags significantly behind several Bangla newspapers in the country including Prothom Alo, Kaler Kantho, Shamakal and a few new tabloids. However, under new management, the newspaper is currently attempting to reverse a further loss of readership.
Role in Caretaker Government of 2007
Mainul was the law, information and land advisor to the caretaker government headed by chief advisor Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed. He introduced changes to accommodate an independent judiciary and cancelled questionable land allocations by the BNP regime that preceded the caretaker government.
The caretaker system allowed for creating an interim government (legislative tenure 120 days) to conduct the parliamentary elections. However, in 2006 the system failed to hold an election due to turmoil in the political arena. The military headed by the army chief Moeen U Ahmed took over and installed a caretaker government in the country claiming major changes must take place to conduct an impartial election.
Lt. gen. Moeen self upgraded his army rank to a general and to maintain balance also the other two forces (Navy and Air Force) chiefs accordingly. The army chief used to attend advisory council meetings and controlled cabinet decisions completely. During the regime of the caretaker government that lasted for two years, well beyond what is stipulated in the constitution, the military rulers directed, which they completely controlled, the anti-corruption commission to head a major drive to root out corruption in the country. They premised, without making country corruption free and impartial and peaceful election cannot take place.
However, the military backed caretaker government (CTG) was formed unconstitutionally as per a judgement by the supreme court, the chief advisor was appointed violating the constitution, performed all responsibilities of regular elected government and ran the country for two years. The Army chief used to attend the advisory council meetings and completely controlled cabinet decisions. [self-published source?]
The Minus Two Formula from WikiLeaks
While it is clear that the advisors were merely a facade in order to camouflage an otherwise military regime, the main players of the minus-two formula were a few army officers, media personalities and political leaders of the two major political parties namely BNP and Awami League as detailed in an article on th Economist. Interesting some of these political leaders who corroborated with the army in implementing minus two were in the cabinet that followed post election. Some joined the political parties as member of parliament. "
According to US Embassy cables:
"A few months before their arrest, the then army chief Moeen U Ahmed said reforms in political parties were essential but difficult to carry out with Hasina or Khaleda in Bangladesh, according to cable sent by the then US ambassador Patricia A Butenis on April 22, 2007."
“Moeen said senior Bangladesh Nationalist Party leaders met recently with government officials and decided that [BNP Chairperson Khaleda] Zia must go,” said the cable Butenis wrote citing discussion with Moeen. Awami League chief Hasina, who left for the US on March 15, 2007, was indefinitely barred from returning and Khaleda was expected to depart for Saudi Arabia shortly, she added.
In early April 2008, when moves were still on to split political parties in the name of reforms, the US embassy got James F Moriarty to succeed Butenis. Moriarty wrote to Washington a cable on July 3 under the title "Bangladesh military intelligence active but not very adept at politics". He identified the DGFI as the "much-feared military intelligence force that active in domestic politics" since the CG came to power in January 2007 "with the strong support of Chief of Army Staff Gen Moeen Uddin Ahmed". "Its (DGFI's) 'minus-two' policy of attempting to sideline the two former prime ministers by sending them into exile abroad or destroying them politically at home has failed. Both women remain firmly at the helm of their parties despite multiple corruption charges."
Role of Anti-Corruption Commission
All the cases brought against the two towering political figures of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wazed and Begum Khaleda Zia, were by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). The ACC is an independent body of the government. Unlike other government divisions, the ACC has its own lawyers to file and conduct corruption cases. It does not require the help of the law ministry to file such cases raising serious questions regarding its impartiality. According to various accounts during the interrogation of various political leaders army personnel were present. Furthermore, the then chief of ACC subsequently stated that certain members of the defense forces were pressuring them to file cases against political and business elites of the country. All such activities point to the conclusion that anti corruption drive was merely an extortion scheme influenced by politics.
Caretaker Illegal However Election Under Caretaker Legitimate
Although the caretaker government legislations and executive actions were most repealed, and political leaders claimed it was unconstitutional, the election that was held under the caretaker government was considered legitimate obviously by the winning party.
- "Honorable Minister". Law and Justice Division.
- "The New Nation". The New Nation.
- Hasan, Rashidul (August 4, 2009). "Finger pointed at Mainul". The Daily Star. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
- Khan, Saleh Athar (2012). "Ahmad, Khondakar Mostaq". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
- "HC declares Manju Ittefaq editor, publisher". New Age. Dhaka. July 10, 2010. Archived from the original on July 12, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
- Liton, Shakhawat; Ashraf, Shamim (September 16, 2011). "'Minus 2' met messy fate". The Daily Star.