Dhaka asks Is­lam­abad not to in­ter­fere in in­ter­nal af­fairs

Pak­istan’s crit­i­cism of ex­e­cu­tions ig­nite anger

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

NEW DELHI: Bangladesh ac­cused Pak­istan yes­ter­day of in­ter­fer­ing in its in­ter­nal af­fairs by crit­i­ciz­ing the ex­e­cu­tion of two op­po­si­tion lead­ers for al­leged war crimes dur­ing the coun­try’s 1971 war of in­de­pen­dence. Bangladesh Ju­nior For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Shahriar Alam said a “strongly worded protest note” was handed to Pak­istan’s en­voy say­ing the crit­i­cism was un­ac­cept­able. Pak­istan’s For­eign Min­istry ear­lier said the men’s tri­als were flawed and that it was “deeply dis­turbed” by their ex­e­cu­tions on Sun­day. Bangladesh was the east­ern part of Pak­istan un­til the 1971 war in which it be­came in­de­pen­dent. Two war crimes tri­bunals set up by the gov­ern­ment in 2010 and 2012 have con­victed 18 peo­ple, mostly lead­ers of an op­po­si­tion Is­lamist party, Ja­maat-e-Is­lami. There has been in­ter­na­tional con­cern about the le­gal process.

The party openly cam­paigned against in­de­pen­dence for Bangladesh dur­ing the war. Bangladesh’s gov­ern­ment says Pak­istani sol­diers, aided by lo­cal col­lab­o­ra­tors, killed 3 mil­lion peo­ple and raped 200,000 women dur­ing the fight­ing. Bangladesh was on high alert yes­ter­day against any violence in re­sponse to Sun­day’s hang­ings, with thou­sands of se­cu­rity per­son­nel pa­trolling its cities.

Ja­maat-e-Is­lami called for a na­tion­wide strike to protest the ex­e­cu­tions of its gen­eral sec­re­tary, Ali Ah­san Mo­ham­mad Mu­jahid, and op­po­si­tion Bangladesh Na­tion­al­ist Party leader Salahud­din Quader Chowd­hury. Mu­jahid, 67, was found guilty of geno­cide, con­spir­acy in killing in­tel­lec­tu­als, tor­ture and ab­duc­tion dur­ing the in­de­pen­dence war, while Chowd­hury, 66, was con­victed of tor­ture, rape and geno­cide.

Few were ex­pected to heed the call to strike. The Is­lamist party has only about 3 per­cent of the coun­try’s vote. While traf­fic was lighter on Mon­day, gov­ern­ment of­fices and ser­vices re­mained open. Nev­er­the­less, au­thor­i­ties said they were in­creas­ing vig­i­lance af­ter a se­ries of killings claimed by Is­lamist ex­trem­ists this year, in­clud­ing the mur­ders of four sec­u­lar blog­gers, a pub­lisher and two for­eign­ers.

A re­porter was also shot and wounded Sun­day af­ter cov­er­ing Chowd­hury’s fu­neral in Chit­tagong dis­trict. The jour­nal­ist for Mo­hana TV, Ra­jib Sen, was on his way back from the fu­neral when his car was sprayed with bul­lets, the sta­tion said. Three other jour­nal­ists in the car were un­hurt. It was not im­me­di­ately clear who at­tacked the car.

The TV sta­tion is owned by a mem­ber of the rul­ing Awami League party. Ja­maat-e-Is­lami and the Bangladesh Na­tion­al­ist Party say the tri­als were po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated, an al­le­ga­tion Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina has de­nied. Two other se­nior Ja­maat-e-Is­lami party lead­ers have al­ready been ex­e­cuted. — APP

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