Free Press Journal

Bangla seeks ban on Jamaat-e-Islami for 1971 war crimes


Dhaka: Bangladesh today sought a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest fundamentalist party for its alleged involvement in genocide and other atrocities during the 1971 independence war against Pakistan.

“We seek dissolution of the party under a verdict of the (war crimes) tribunal,” chief war crimes investigator Abdul Hannan Khan told reporters.

He said that the special war crimes investigation agency also recommended confiscation of the assets of Jamaat and its associate organisations which were in operation during the liberation war.

Khan’s comments came as the agency submitted a 373-page report on Jamaat’s 1971 role, to the prosecutors to be placed before Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal constituted to try the war crimes.

Jamaat was opposed to Bangladesh’s 1971 independence while its top leaders were prosecuted on charges like genocide, arsons and rapes in two special tribunals as Bangladesh initiated the war crimes trial four years ago.

According to the charges, Jamaat formed several militia groups as auxiliary forces of the Pakistani troops while assailants of infamous Al-Badr militia group manned by the then Jamaat’s student wing are accused of annihilating prominent Bengali intelligentsia.

They killed most of these intellectuals just two days ahead of the December 16, 1971 victory.

Until now the two special tribunals have delivered verdicts in nine cases, handing down capital punishment to six persons, five being Jamaat leaders.

One of the leaders Abdul Quader Mollah, was executed ahead of the 43rd Victory Day celebrations in December last year.

One of the tribunals yesterday said it was set to deliver “any day” the verdict against incumbent Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, who headed the Al-Badr in 1971, as the prosecution and defence lawyers wrapped up their arguments.

Khan told newsmen their investigations found that Jamaat and its associate organisations had committed genocide and violated the humanitarian rules of the 1949 Geneva Convention, which are applicable in any armed conflict.

But the move to ban Jamaat, a crucial ally of ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) that boycotted the January 5 elections, comes on the eve of the country’s Independence Day tomorrow.