Academician hails Bangladesh law minister's demand for speedy trial of Pak war criminals
Bangladesh academician Mesbah Kamal has hailed the law minister's demand for a speedy trial of Pakistani war criminals, accused of genocide during 1971 liberation struggle, and who were released under the Simla Agreement in 1972. The Simla Agreement was inked between India and Pakistan in July 2, 1972, which paved the way "for a diplomatic recognition" of Bangladesh. Recently, Bangladesh Law Minister Shafique Ahmed hinted at the trial of Pakistani war criminals. Kamal, while talking to reporters in Dhaka, said that the international community should support the demand for the trial of Pakistani war criminals. "On behalf of the government, the law minister is simply echoing the demand that was being raised, that has been being raised by the people. So, I think that by this move the government of Bangladesh, the current government of Bangladesh is taking a pro-people position. This will be liked by the people and may be that some of those 195 is no more alive, some of them must have died but even if one of them is alive, even if some of them are alive they must be arrested and international community should be active in this," said Kamal. Unrest erupted in January 2013 when the tribunal sentenced to death in absentia a leader of Jamaat. Thousands took to streets in February demanding the execution of another Jamaat leader after he was jailed for life on similar charges. More than 100 people have been killed in clashes last year, most of them Islamist party activists and members of the security forces. Expressing disappointment over slow pace of trials, Kamal said that the government should play an active role and appoint a new tribunal chief at the earliest. "The government should be more pro-active on this. This pace has somewhat been slowed owing to the fact that the chief of tribunal actually retired on December 31. Now he would be retiring on that particular day that was not new news. That was not news because Bangladesh has a definite age bar for retirement and it was known to everyone that he would retire on that time. So, why not the other person, the second, the successor appointed well on time and in such way so that he could take over?" Kamal also said.Jamaat and the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party accused the prime minister of using the tribunal to persecute them. The government denies the charge.Recently, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League ended with more than two-thirds of seats in a contest that was shunned by international observers as flawed and derided as a farce by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). With fewer than half the seats contested, the outcome was never in doubt. Kamal said that the performance of the present government would decide the fate of the country. "The performance of this government will decide whether Bangladesh would move forward towards the path of secularism or Bangladesh would plunge into the disorder of militancy," Kamal added.
(Posted on 28-02-2014)