Mahbubey Alam is working as the Attorney General for the past ten years. Besides, as the ex-officio Chairman of the Bangladesh Bar Council, he underpins the lawyer society.
Mahbubey Alam now aspires to get nomination from Awami League for the Munshiganj-2 constituency in the upcoming general elections.
In an exclusive interview with Bangladesh Post’s Belal Muntasir recently, he had talked about judicial affairs, its challenges, the country’s rule of law, and his experience, personal life and turning to politics, and so on.
BP: You took part in many trials including Bangabandhu’s murder case and war crimes cases. What were the challenges in such important cases?
MA: The entire process of dealing with the suits was very challenging. We worked very hard, so that the court could get all types of evidences and facts to conduct the trial in the right way. Among the cases, Bangabandhu murder case was tougher for us as the hearing commenced after a long time. However, my personal experience says, criminals always try to escape by interrupting or making the trial ineffective in various ways.
BP: What is the country’s current situation in implementing rule of law? How do you explain?
MA: We got rid of indemnity culture during the tenure of Awami League government, led by Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina. The previous governments left many precedents of injustice like the 10-truck gun case, murder in front of AL office, Bangabandu murder case, and so on.
We noticed inoffensive people like anonymous oarsmen, laborers or the ordinary instead of the real ringleaders, were brought to the court. The matter of grief is that the state did such things, which were inexcusable. The society suffered then, from justice-free disease. I can say proudly, the great achievement of the Awami League is the eradication of the extra-judicial culture.
BP: Many claim the rule of law is being interrupted.
MA: The standard of rule of law actually varies from country to country. From our perspective, we are all right. We could establish the rule of law, not for the individual, but for all. Lawyers toeing the BNP political line say, Khaleda Zia was trapped in suits. I will set the Cumilla arson case, where seven people are killed, as an example. Don’t they have the right to get justice? We showed the phone records as evidence before the court, where she ordered employment of more people to make the blockage successful.
However, crimes on the part of ruling tenures cannot be seen in a narrow sense. The world witnessed Najib Razak, Nawaz Sharif, or other state leaders being penalized.
BP: You are a very known-figure in law and court. Then why do you want to move to politics?
MA: It is ten years now I have been performing the duty as attorney general.
I believe, I can now contribute to parliament if an opportunity is given to me, as I have studied and been educated on the policy-making platform, that makes me confident.
I have a diploma and training courses on how to cheer in parliament, how to discuss, how to present the lackings and complaints in a proper way before the law-enacting house.
However, it has already been declared that I will seek nomination from the Awami League for the Munshiganj-2 constituency in the upcoming general elections.
BP: How will people be benefitted if you are an elected MP?
MA: I think the great benefit they will get is the free access to me.
Besides, I also desire to be very close to the mass people, so that they can share their happiness and their woes. Being detached from the mass people is very tragic, I believe. This is my motherland. Undoubtedly, doing something for the motherland is matter of great pride and pleasure.
BP: How is your preparation for election?
MA: Despite my hustle and bustle on the court premises, I go to my locality on off-days.
I enjoy being close with my countrymen and engage myself with them. The public response I get, also gives me immense pleasure.
BP: By the way, how did you step into politics, and how was the journey?
MA: I want to talk about my practice in the High Court from the beginning.
Supreme Court Bar Association elected me general secretary for 1993-1994.The government appointed me Additional Attorney General in 1998 after the Awami League regained power.
Later, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promoted me to Attorney General from January 13, 2009.
However, I was also active in every movement after the 1975, the mourning period, under the leadership of M Serajul Islam Khan.
We protested against Zia and Ershad and created movements. Even after 2001 during the tenure of BNP government, I stood against all types of injustice.
BP: Okay. Let’s talk about some recent burning issues. Banks and financial institutions are in a tough situation with their default loans rising rapidly. Concerned circles claim that the defaulters escape after attaining stay order from High Court on verdicts of the Financial Loan Court. What is the solution here actually?
MA: Scams like Destiny, and Sonali Bank’s Hallmark, were taken strictly and the accused persons are in jail now. Besides some new cases like Farmers’ Bank scam, are eyed very seriously. The government has zero tolerance on the issue.
However, some people trying to cheat with the Banks and Financial Institutions are indeed not unusual.
Different countries in the world even face these troubles now.
But our government did not exempt such fraudulence and we, the prosecutors are dealing these very seriously.
BP: Why government officials will be exempted from being arresed?
The act is not as final yet. There is the opportunity to discuss on this when it will be brought to parliament.
However, I think there are two factors. Firstly the government has to run the country through administration, and secondly, the corrupt have to be shackled.
However, it is not only a matter of enactment; here the role of media is also present.
Corruption may grasp any sector anytime, and it may be widespread. So we have to be careful.