Toughening her stance against fundamentalist groups like Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has warned that those who had sided with Pakistan Army and rehabilitated war criminals during the country’s 1971 liberation war will be tried. “Those who had handed them the flag of independence are also equally responsible for their crimes. They will also be tried like the war criminals on the soil of Bangladesh,” she said.
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“Now it is time to try those who had sided with and rehabilitated the war criminals,” she said at a discussion organised by the ruling party to mark Martyred Intellectuals Day on Thursday. But she did not specify any timeframe for doing so.
Hasina noted that the war crimes trial in Bangladesh will continue like that of World War II in Germany.
“No strategy or conspiracy will save them. Because this is the path of justice. Truth and justice always prevail,” bdnews quoted her as saying.
“The Pakistani forces would have never been able to know the alleys of Bangladesh had some disgraceful people not been born among us,” Hasina said.
She said the Al-Badr, Al-Shams and Razakar showed the Pakistani forces the street to the homes of the intellectuals and masterminded their harrowing tortures.
The Jamaat-e-Islami, which opposed Bangladesh’s independence and sided with the Pakistani army during liberation war, was allowed to enter in politics in independent Bangladesh after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.
The rehabilitation took place during the tenure of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman, Bangladesh’s first military ruler.
Two war criminal Jamaat leaders – Motiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid – became ministers when Gen Zia’s wife Khaleda Zia, who is leading the BNP, was the prime minister from 2001 to 2006.
Another war criminal, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, was Khaleda’s parliamentary affairs adviser at that time.
The much-awaited war crimes trial started after the Awami League came to power in 2009. Nizami, Mujahid, Chowdhury and three other war criminals have been hanged so far.