Bangladesh officials assure national consensus for war criminals trial
Dhaka, Aug.20 (ANI): Former finance adviser of interim government of Bangladesh, Akbar Ali Khan, has demanded that the government expedite the trial process of war criminals as a national consensus has developed on the issue.
A war crimes tribunal, which was set up in 2010, requires wrapping up investigations of all those who were accused, as the government aims to finish their trials before Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's five-year term ends.
She took charge of office in early 2009.
A former chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh's biggest Islamic political party and the country's top Islamist leader, Golan Azam, is on trial for helping the Pakistan Army during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence when the then East Pakistan broke away to form Bangladesh.
The Jamaat-e-Islami and its close ally, the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party have alleged that the tribunal hearing the case takes orders from the government.
Interacting with reporters in Dhaka over the weekend, Khan said that the country unanimously demands a speedy trial of the criminals.
"During the last elections, there was a strong demand from the grassroots, particularly from the younger generation, that those who have committed heinous crime against humanity, during the war, they should be brought to book," he said.
"It was a part of the election pledge of the present government and a resolution was passed unanimously by the national assembly to bring them to book. So, there is almost national consensus that they should be brought to book," he added.
Khan said that the historians are distorting facts about the war and are preventing the complete truth from being unravelled.
He added that the trials should not be carried out not to take revenge, but to expose the wrongdoers.
"Suggestion is that inquires should be expedited that the trials should also be expedited and the trial should be conducted in a spirit not of vengeance, but in the spirit of national reconciliation, with the expectation that those who have committed crimes, they will be exposed," he said.
Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, gained independence with India's help in December 1971, following a nine-month war against Pakistan. Around three million people were killed.
The Islamist groups in Bangladesh want to scrap "secularism" as a state principle in the Muslim-majority country.
Jamaat-e-Islami opposed Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan and fought with the Pakistan Army.
They were allegedly involved in war crimes and have thousands of militant followers, including in the Defence forces, analysts say.
Dozens of other Jamaat leaders, including its chief Moulana Motiur Rahman Nizami and secretary-general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid are already in prison accused of war crimes.
Official Bangladesh records show three million people the Pakistan army and their local collaborators killed during the nine-month war that ended in December 1971, heralding the birth of Bangladesh.
A court in Bangladesh charged prominent opposition politician Moulana Delwar Hossain Sayedi with war crimes in the country's 1971 war of independence.
Court officials said Sayedi was the first to be formally charged with war crimes, and others would be charged soon. (ANI)
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