|Economy of Islamic fundamentalism In Bangladesh|
|[Dhaka Tribune] The war crimes tribunals, set up to punish those who had committed crimes against humanity during Bangladesh's liberation war of 1971, have already sent to gallows three leading lights of the Abdul Quader Mollah, Mohammed Qamruzzaman and Ali Ahsan Mujahid -- while death penalties have been awarded to , the chief of the JeI in Bangladesh.(JeI) --|
|Authorities to remove 'martyr' title from Mollah's tombstone|
|[Dhaka Tribune] The authorities of Liberation War Affairs Ministry will take necessary initiative to the "martyr" title from the tombstone of executed war criminal Abdul Quader Mollah if any complaint is filed.|
In a mockery of martyrdom, the tomb plaque of the leader, who was hanged for crimes against humanity during the Liberation War, reads: "Shaheed (martyr) Abdul Quader Mollah."
Replying to a query of a ruling party , Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque Thursday told the Parliament: "The authorities are not aware of the matter. The ministry will take necessary step if any written complaint is lodged in this regard."
The memorial plaque was set up on Mollah's grave in Faridpur's Sadarpur upazila two months after his execution in 2013.
|Bangladeshi Jamaat leaders facing death for alleged war crimes|
|[AA.TR] Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, a leading Bangladeshi politician, became the country's second person hanged for war crimes on Saturday.|
His execution was preceded by that of fellow leader Abdul Quader Mollah in December 2013 and could soon be followed by more from the same party, all accused of committing war crimes during Bangladesh's war of independence from Pakistain in 1971.
Bangladesh's Attorney General Mahbubey Alam was quoted by the local daily Dhaka Tribune on Sunday as saying that several of the appeals for those sentenced to death could be dealt with before the end of 2015.
There are currently five Jamaat-e-Islami leaders going through the appeals process to have their death sentences overturned. Two of the most s, former party chief Ghulam Azam and AKM Yusuf, both died in 2014.
Also sentenced to death but unlikely to face the penalty after being tried in absentia are Mueen Udden, who is in London, and Ashrafuzzaman Khan, in the U.S., who were both linked to the party's student wing in 1971.
There are several others found guilty by the war crimes tribunal who no longer have links with Jamaat-e-Islami.
According to Imran Siddiqui, a lawyer who represented several of the Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, the next case will target Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid, the party's Secretary General.
"Unless the court decides to deal with the cases expeditiously, Mujahid's case will maybe be done before the end of the year," said Siddiqui, adding that the party chief 's appeal was unlikely to come up until the middle of 2016.
"These appeals take some time because the documents are (voluminous) in nature and there are lots of witnesses," said Siddiqui.
Jamaat-e-Islami have insisted that the war crimes tribunals have been politically motivated and deny that the party was involved in assisting the during the nine-month war which, according to official figures, saw 3 million people killed.
Apart from Mujahid and Nizami, those facing the death penalty include the party's Assistant Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam and central executive committee members Mir Quasem Ali and Abdus Subhan.
Having only received their sentences in recent months, their appeals may face a long wait as the court will first deal with Mujahid, Nizami and Bangladesh Nationalist Party politician Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.
Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid, the party's Secretary General, will be the next leader to go through the appeals process in order to contest his death sentence.
The son of a politician, Mujahid, like many of the accused, was a senior figure in Jamaat-e-Islami's student wing in 1971. He is also one of the few, alongside Nizami, who has served in government.
From 2001 to 2006, Mujahid was the social welfare minister in a coalition government with Jamaat-e-Islami's allies the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
Mujahid was sentenced to death in 2013, accused of being Nizami's second-in-command in the Al-Badr militia, which allegedly worked closely with the . He was also accused of being involved in the killing of academics.
Siddiqui said Mujahid's defense will center on countering specific incidents he was accused of being involved in.
"It will argue on the veracity of the witnesses and question the evidence used against him," said Siddiqui, adding that while Mujahid admits that he supported union with Pakistain, he denies any involvement in violence.
"He says he was never involved in war crimes in 1971," said Siddiqui. "His role was only political."
Of the Jamaat-e-Islami leaders currently facing death, Motiur Rahman Nizami, the party's chief, is the most prominent.
Nizami was the leader of the party's then-student wing, Islami Chatra Sangha, at the time of the war in 1971. He later became a full Jamaat-e-Islami member, rising through the party's ranks to become Secretary General and then Ameer, the top leadership position, by 2000.
He was briefly a member of parliament between 1991 and 1994 and then, between 2001 and 2006, served as the Minister of Agriculture and then the Minister for Industry.
The war crimes tribunal accused Nizami of being the chief of the Al-Badr militia, which allegedly closely collaborated with the during the 1971 war.
In October 2014, Nizami was found guilty and sentenced to death for eight charges of crimes against humanity, including committing and ordering murders and abductions.
He denied however that he had been a member of the Al-Badr forces or had any involvement with the , claiming the charges against him had been fabricated.
The red-bearded Sayeedi is one of Jamaat-e-Islami's most well-known orators. He initially worked as a religious teacher after the war but later became more involved in politics. In 1996 and 2001, he was succesfully elected as a Jamaat-e-Islami member of Parliament.
Sayeedi was one of the first the court ordered to be hanged but he had his death sentence commuted in September 2014 to life imprisonment, to the distress of the Attorney General Mahbubey Alam.
Alam was quoted in the Dhaka Tribune as saying ""I feel sad for [Delwar Hossain] Sayeedi's verdict. We hoped that he would be sentenced to death."
Sayeedi successfully argued that the case against him had been flawed and contained conflicting witness testimonies.
Unlike the others tried for the war crimes tribunal, Sayeedi had no reported connection to politics at the time of the war. According to information presented in court, he was a shopkeeper.
The court claimed that given his low economic status, he was enticed to join the militias formed under the and was involved in attacks targeting Hindu communities.
|Conspiracies on to thwart polls|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Prime Minister yesterday said different quarters are conspiring to thwart the January 5 elections that are important for continuing the constitutional process in the country. |
"The conspirators of 1/11 of 2007 are back with multifaceted plots and schemes to foil the upcoming elections and bring undemocratic forces to power," she told an election rally at Mirpur Adarsha High School ground in the capital.
The address by Hasina comes three days before the national polls boycotted by the majority of political parties, including the main opposition BNP.
Saying the elections would be held in a free, fair and neutral manner, the AL president urged people to exercise their democratic right to vote, and resist those who try to foil the elections.
In the meantime, the BNP-led 18-party alliance threatened to foil the elections and continue its blockade programmes across the country.
Hasina also spoke at two other rallies in Mirpur and Uttara and sought votes for AL-nominated candidates Kamal Ahmed Majumder, Ilias Uddin Mollah and Shahara Khatun.
The premier said, "A group of civil society members, who brought to power the unconstitutional government through the 1/11 political changeover in 2007 and wanted to form the king's party, is still working to create a similar situation."
She added, "The civil society members, who think they are eminent persons, want to destroy democracy time and again because they feel ignored when a democratic government is in power."
They become more important if there is an undemocratic and unconstitutional government, said Hasina, alerting people about those who want no good for the country and its people.
She said the government has tried everything to hold dialogue with BNP Chairperson to solve the ongoing political impasse, but the opposition leader refused to take the opportunities.
The AL chief said the opposition leader boycotted the elections, as could not take part in the polls following a High Court order that declared illegal its registration as a political party.
"The Awami League always acts on whatever people want, but the BNP always goes against their wishes," she said. She added that the execution of war criminal Abdul Quader Mollah, which was a popular demand, has effaced the stigma of the nation.
Referring to the BNP-led alliance's ongoing movement, the premier said it is not a movement, but terrorism, as people are not involved in it. She alleged the BNP chairperson has resorted to killings through bombings and arson attacks by hired criminals.
Hasina remarked that her government has curbed terrorism and militancy while the BNP chairperson has harboured them.
She highlighted various developments made by her government in the last five years, and pledged to undertake many more development projects if voted into power again.
|Jamaat vexed at BNP role|
|[Bangla Daily Star] The Abdul Quader Mollah. is gradually distancing itself from its main ally BNP, as the Islamist party is disappointed with the BNP's handling of the ongoing movement and its stance on the execution of |
The Jamaat believes it has already "paid dearly" by losing many of its leaders and activists in the violent movement against the government. In most cases, BNP leaders and activists kept themselves from the street agitations.
To the Jamaat, the BNP just wanted to have the pie prepared through Jamaat sacrifice. In addition, the more Jamaat takes to the streets, the more it is perceived as a terrorist organization. But it could have come out of this stigma had the BNP joined it on the ground.
At the same time, the Jamaat was expecting that BNP chief would condemn, at least tactically, the hanging on December 12 of Jamaat assistant secretary general Quader Mollah for war crimes. But she did not do so, which has frustrated Jamaat.
The Daily Star has learnt these from a number of leaders of the BNP, Jamaat and a component of the 18-party opposition alliance.
The rift between the two allies became clearer after the BNP failed to bring out on the streets any of its leaders to enforce the December 29 "March for Democracy" programme that was later extended by one day.
According to the sources, Khaleda herself phoned the 20 Dhaka city aspirants for the next parliamentary election, but none of them came out of their homes.
The Jamaat-Shibir had brought into the capital several lakhs of their men for the Dhaka march programme braving the difficulties on the way, but the BNP had failed to utilise them on the day, said an alliance leader.
While the Jamaat-Shibir activists unleashed reigns of terror by attacking innocent people, particularly commuters, in the past, the party this time decided to refrain from such action if the BNP men were not out on the streets.
"Our men, who sacrificed their lives during the anti-government movement, are labelled as no matter how many of our people die. But the BNP gets the benefit of it," a Dhaka city Jamaat leader told this correspondent, requesting anonymity.
Jamaat's latest stance has worried the BNP high-ups, especially about the fate of the ongoing movement.
Moreover, the BNP chief has expressed dissatisfaction over the apparent collapse of the party's chain of command that resulted in a "poor performance" on the first day of the indefinite blockade that began yesterday.
A number of mid-level BNP leaders quoting party high-ups said they were under pressure from different quarters for their "close relations" with the Jamaat.
The government and a number of foreign countries have been denouncing the BNP for its ties with the Jamaat, which they say is a fundamentalist party whose top leaders were involved in crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.
Nevertheless, the BNP is hopeful that it can keep those ties intact. According to a BNP leader, the Jamaat has no other alternative than to continue relations with the BNP at this critical juncture in politics.
"That's why the party has to return to the BNP sooner or later. We hope the Jamaat will be active on the streets again in its own interest," he added.
Sources say Jamaat high-ups have conveyed to the BNP chief the message that their leaders and activists will not be active in the agitation programmes if BNP men do not actively participate in them.
In support of this position, a top leader in the opposition alliance said Jamaat-Shibir men were not active on the streets yesterday, which was in contrast to their role during past blockades and s.
"This reflects the cold relations between the BNP and Jamaat," he added.
|Pak Taliban enraged, issue threat|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Riled at the execution of Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah, banned outfit Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain has threatened to attack Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad.|
Agitations rose across the country yesterday demanding Pakistain make an apology for its reaction to the execution.
Demonstrators demanded the government cut off diplomatic ties with Pakistain if it does not apologise for adopting a parliamentary resolution against Mollah's execution and thus meddling in Bangladesh's internal affairs.
Pak newspaper The Nation yesterday reported that although security arrangements around the Bangladesh mission in Pakistain have been enhanced manifold and fresh security directives have been issued to the ambassador of Bangladesh, law enforcement agencies still fear terrorist attacks on the mission.
According to well-placed sources, law enforcement agencies have submitted a report to the interior ministry saying that the Taliban have expressed annoyance with the Bangladesh government over the execution of Mollah and could attack the Bangladesh embassy.
Security agency officials had called for preventive measures in the wake of the threats, added the report.
Talking to The Nation, a said they have drafted an elaborate security plan for the Bangladesh embassy, located at a posh residential neighbourhood in Islamabad.
"We've also deployed police commandos at these sensitive places to avoid any untoward incident during Christmas holidays, while patrolling has been enhanced around them," the official added.
|Ctg mob burns Pak flag|
|[Bangla Daily Star] A section of people set a Pak flag alight while demonstrating in Chittagong city this afternoon in protest against the country's reaction to the execution of Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah.|
Around 150 people from all walks of life under the banner of "Jege Otho Bangladesh", a pro-liberation organization, held a rally in front of Chittagong Press Club where social and cultural activists, local politicians and many other like-minded people took part.
After the rally, they went to Cheragi Pahar intersection in procession around 1:00pm and burnt a flag and an effigy of a structure draped in Pakistain cricket team's jersey.
While addressing the rally, the speakers said people cannot accept Pakistain's interference in Bangladesh's domestic affairs.
They termed the interference as a threat to the nation.
Since execution of Mollah on Thursday, Pakistain drew flak for its reaction over the hanging of war criminal Mollah.
As part of its reaction, the Pakistain National Assembly Monday adopted a resolution expressing concern over the execution of Mollah who, it said, was "hanged for supporting Pakistain in 1971″.
|Imran jumps on pro-Mollah bandwagon|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Pakistain's cricketer-turned-politician Abdul Quader Mollah, executed in Dhaka last week, was innocent of the charges levelled against him. seems to have been persuaded into believing that war criminal |
Khan, who heads the Pakistain Party, told a session of his country's national assembly on Monday that Mollah's innocence had been testified to by a lawyer from the group Reprieve. The lawyer, he said, was part of Mollah's legal defence team.
In his address, Imran Khan chose to ignore the various levels of legalities employed in Mollah's trial before the leader was finally convicted and hanged.
Mollah, originally sentenced to life in prison in February this year, had his conviction turned into one of execution by Bangladesh's Supreme Court in September. The sentencing prompted Mollah's lawyers to file two review petitions before the SC, which dismissed the petitions.
The Jamaat leader, convicted of killing a number of Bangalees in collaboration with the Pakistain occupation army, was hanged on December 12.
Pakistain's interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who continues to misinform Paks about what actually their soldiers did in Bangladesh in 1971, also spoke at the same national assembly session.
"We witnessed the fall of Dhaka forty-two years ago and we seem to have not learnt our lesson," he said but did not explain his statement.
The Pakistain assembly, in a fresh indication of the lessons not learnt by the country's establishment since Bangladesh's battlefield triumph in 1971, adopted on December 16 a resolution demanding that the Bangladesh government not resurrect the issues of 1971 but should end all cases against the Jamaat leadership in Bangladesh. It said not a word about the atrocities the Jamaat committed, in association with the Pakistain army, during the nine-month war.
|Govt should've protested Pak resolution earlier: BNP|
|[Bangla Daily Star] BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan today said the government should have protested the Pakistain National Assembly resolution which Abdul Quader Mollah. over the execution of Jamaat leader |
"The government has weakened our country by dividing the people. So, other countries are taking chance to adopt such resolutions," Nazrul said while speaking at a at BNP Chairperson 's Gulshan office.
Terming the winning of a huge number of seats without contest a 'self destruction of democracy', he urged the government and Election Commission to stop playing with elections and democracy.
Referring to the uncontested winning of 154 MPs, the BNP leader said, "It's nothing but a mockery."
|Why is our foreign office silent?|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Pakistain's national assembly, through a reassertion of the myopia which has historically kept Pakistain captive to its prejudices and inhibitions, has passed a resolution condemning the execution of Abdul Quader Mollah, a notorious war criminal in occupied Bangladesh in 1971. The country's interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, has glibly called the hanging a 'judicial murder'. The assembly unsurprisingly and carefully ignored the fact that Mollah and others like him had helped the Pakistain army in the murder of three million Bengalis and the rape of two hundred thousand Bengali women.|
The move in the national assembly is once again a sign of Pakistain's inability to forget the humiliation it went through in Bangladesh in December 1971. Because it cannot forget, it remains attitudinally bitter towards Bengalis.
Activists and supporters of Pakistain have been staging noisy demonstrations in various cities and towns of the country to protest the execution of Abdul Quader Mollah in Bangladesh. Mollah, a notorious collaborator of the Pakistain occupation forces in Bangladesh in 1971, has been described as shaheed-e-Pakistain (martyr of Pakistain). These protesters have carried posters inscribed with the question, in Urdu, "Bangladesh mein Jamaat-e-Islami mujrim kyun" (why is the Jamaat-e-Islami a convict in Bangladesh?).
Leading figures in the Pak Jamaat have demanded that their government sever diplomatic relations with Bangladesh as a way of registering its outrage over the hanging of Mollah. As if in response to this demand, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, minister for interior in Pakistain's federal cabinet, earlier came forth with expressions of his "deep grief" over Mollah's hanging. Khan has minced no words in suggesting that the Bangladesh Jamaat politician was hanged because of his solidarity with Pakistain during Bangladesh's Liberation War in 1971. "Till the very end before the creation of Bangladesh", as the Pak minister has put it, Mollah remained a supporter of a united Pakistain, which is why "today every Pak is saddened"'.
That said, Jamaat leaders in Pakistain have drawn attention to an alleged deal reached by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and to the effect that no one would die or be punished in Bangladesh over his role during 1971 and after. The statement is a lie.
For its part, the Pakistain foreign ministry, on its website, records its concern that the war crimes trials in Bangladesh have "added to the current instability" in the country. The ministry nevertheless wishes the "brotherly people of Bangladesh" well.
All these factors, coming from Pakistain in light of Mollah's execution, highlight yet once again the state of denial that has been at work in the Pak establishment since the Pakistain army surrendered in Dhaka on 16 December 1971.
The state of denial began soon after ZA Bhutto took over as president and chief martial law administrator from a discredited Yahya Khan in late December 1971. At his very first meeting with Bangabandhu in Rawalpindi after having the latter moved from solitary confinement to house arrest, Bhutto informed Bangladesh's founder that the Indian army was in occupation of "East Pakistain". In the years leading up to Islamabad's recognition of Dhaka's independence, Pakistain persisted in referring to Bangladesh as the "Dhaka authorities".
Pakistain was compelled to accord recognition to Bangladesh prior to the Islamic conference, held in Lahore, in February 1974. Later that year, in response to an appeal from Abdul Haq, a pro-Beijing communist leader in Bangladesh, for aid to overthrow the government of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bhutto instructed his cabinet to help Haq. Reference on the subject can be traced to Stanley Wolpert's "Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistain".
During his visit to Dhaka in June 1974, a clearly reluctant and angry Bhutto was compelled to visit the National Memorial at Savar to honour Bangladesh's freedom fighters. His behaviour bordered on the insulting. He refused to doff the Mao cap he had on; and when the visitors' book was presented before him for his comments, he lashed out, "Enough of this nonsense", before pushing the book aside.
Paks cheered the of Bangabandhu on 15 August 1975. Prime minister Bhutto, carried away by the "good news", quickly recognised the " " of Bangladesh when no such change had come despite the coup and ordered sacks of rice to be sent to the "brotherly" people of Bangladesh.
In his time, General , Pakistain's third military ruler, laid a wreath at the Savar memorial during his visit to Bangladesh in 1985. When Bangladesh's media people asked him about his feelings on the occasion, he gave them a rather glib and confusing reply, "Your freedom fighters are our freedom fighters".
In all the years since December 1971, no Pak government has expressed any apologies or remorse over the atrocities carried out by the Pakistain army in Bangladesh. , the country's fourth military ruler, once expressed no more than "regret" at what had transpired in 1971.
Under the tripartite agreement reached by Bangladesh, India and Pakistain in Delhi in April 1974, all Bangalees stranded in Pakistain were to return home to Bangladesh, which they did. All Pak prisoners of war in camps across India were to go back to their country, which they did. As for the 195 Pak military officers Bangladesh wanted to try for war crimes, the Bhutto government, aware of the backlash it could face from Paks, promised the Bangladesh government that if the officers were freed, they would be tried in Pakistain itself. The 195 went back home, but Pakistain's promise about trying them was never kept.
Today, against the background of the Pak interior minister's comments on the Mollah execution and the national assembly resolution and in light of the "concerns" expressed on the Pak foreign office website, the silence of the Bangladesh government, especially the foreign office, is deeply mystifying, indeed stupefying. No protest has been made to the Pakistain authorities. The Pak high commissioner in Dhaka has not been summoned to the foreign office for an explanation.
The Pak Jamaat's diatribe against Bangladesh may be understandable. But when it is a Pak minister and Pakistain's foreign policy establishment taking issue over Mollah's execution, there is no question that the move is a blatant and therefore unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of a country now engaged in meting out justice to the perpetrators of the genocide that left three million Bangalees dead.
Will Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali enlighten the nation on his silence?
Will the foreign office explain why it has chosen to ignore Pakistain's behaviour on the war crimes issue?
|Pakistan slates Mollah execution|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Pakistain National Assembly yesterday adopted a resolution expressing concern over the capital punishment of Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah.|
The resolution, moved by Pakistain member Sher Akbar Khan, was adopted with a majority vote, reports the country's English-language daily Dawn.
"This House expresses deep concern on hanging of a veteran politician of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh for supporting Pakistain in 1971," said the resolution.
The Assembly expressed grief and sorrow for the bereaved family, and demanded Bangladesh avoid reviving the wounds of 1971 and amicably resolve cases against the leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh.
Earlier, speaking on a point of order in the Assembly, Pakistain Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Mollah was hanged "through a judicial murder for supporting a united Pakistain in 1971".
The minister said, "Abdul Quader Mollah remained patriotic to pre-1971 Pakistain and his hanging has once again reminded Paks of the wounds of the separation of East Pakistain."
He said the government fully supported the resolution, as this incident was an eye opener for the Pak nation and leadership.
"We claim to have democracy in the country but are still far off democratic attitudes and approaches. We need to learn as a nation from debacles like the separation of East Pakistain," said Nisar.
He expressed grief and sorrow for the Bangladeshi nation and followers of Mollah.
The minister, however, clarified that Pakistain respected the of Bangladesh, but the execution of Mollah had been "on the basis of charges levelled against him for supporting a united Pakistain".
"I believed that people will not politick [sic] on a judicial murder. It is our tradition that we forget our bitterness when somebody dies or is killed," he said.
members of Pakistain Peoples Party and had spoken against the resolution.
In response, Nisar said there was nothing against the of Bangladesh in the resolution.
|Ban politics of Jamaat, Demand some eminent citizens|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Some eminent citizens of the country have demanded a ban on the politics of and the quick execution of all war crimes convicts.|
They came up with the demand in response to the widespread violence following the hanging of war criminal Abdul Quader Mollah.
They also urged all political parties to refrain from imposing s, carrying out destructive activities on railway, roads and houses and from triggering communal violence in the country.
The calls came from a rally organised by Bangladesh Rukhe Darao, a platform of eminent citizens, at the Central Shaheed Minar in the capital yesterday marking the Martyred Intellectuals Day.
Addressing the rally, Prof Anisuzzaman said, "The current government can ban the politics of Jamaat under the anti-terrorism act, as International Crimes Tribunal has already described Jamaat as a criminal organization."
Rights activist Sultana Kamal said, "The Jamaat activists have been committing atrocities like killing and burning people since 1971."
She also urged the political parties not to liaise with Jamaat for political gains.
Asked about the stand of international community over Mollah's execution, educationist Prof Muhammad Zafar Iqbal recalled how international forces had abused their powers in harming weaker countries.
"On the pretext of finding weapons of mass destruction, the USA carried out destruction in Iraq ... The people of this country will have to stand against the anti-liberation forces to keep the dreams of our alive ... They have to come forward to resist Jamaat," he said.
They also stressed the need for mobilising public opinion to counter the "smear campaigns" run by the anti-liberation elements "to foil the war crimes trials" and "pursue their religion-based politics and violence."
Later, a mass procession carrying the national flag was brought out from there that ended at Shahbagh.