Thursday, May 30, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Analysis: Is he a war criminal?

Update : 15 Nov 2016, 05:26 PM

The whispers as well as the question had always been there when Jamaat-e-Islami announced a new chief.

Even as the new Ameer-e-Jamaat made the right noises, remembering the Liberation War, the sacrifices of freedom fighters and the role of Sheikh Mujib as its chief architect, people wondered if Jamaat had finally purged itself of tainted leadership. But at the same time there were whispers that it had not. The proverbial fingers remained pointed at him.

Although Jamaat never admits to wrongdoing during 1971, whether as an organisation or in case of its individual members, it is quite widely accepted that the party must purge itself of tainted leadership to even stand a remote chance of survival.

There were reports in the media accusing the new Jamaat chief of being tainted as well, soon after the announcement. Presumably that is what interested the war crimes investigators. They held a press conference on Monday (Nov 14) saying they were convinced about the new Jamaat chief’s involvement in war crimes but it was obvious they had no concrete evidence in hand.

Also read- Investigators: Maqbul a war criminal

Jamaat broke its silence on the allegations within hours of the lead war crimes investigator briefing the press.

A rough translation of a part of its release would read something like, “Maqbul Ahmed was a teacher at a famous high school in Feni in 1971. Let alone being a Razakar or Razakar commander or an organiser of the Peace Committee, he was not even a member. Therefore there is no question of having primary evidence of his involvement in crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.”

The release quoted one of Jamaat’s deputy chiefs (Nayeb-e-Ameer) Mujibur Rahman, a former MP.

There are two issues that this denial raises. Firstly, Jamaat is vouching for who were or were not members of two infamous organisations that collaborated with the Pakistan Army during the nine-month Liberation War. These two collaborators’ groups, along with other vigilante militiamen of the Al-Badr and Al-Shams, are held responsible for carrying out brutal and widespread violence against civilians that amounted to war crimes.

Also read- Jamaat chief Maqbul’s 1971 role under scanner

While these were mostly manned by leaders of Jamaat and its student wing, Jamaat has always denied any links with them. However, this particular press release vouching that Maqbul Ahmed was not a member raises questions about Jamaat’s links with these infamous vigilantes.

Further, Jamaat has not volunteered any further whereabouts of its new chief or even provided a detailed bio of his accomplishments. Neither the Jamaat website, nor the Jamaat-leaning news outlets, including its mouthpiece Sangram, has published anything about the new chief’s background or his previously held positions within the party.

Given that Jamaat-e-Islami had extended its full cooperation to the Pakistani Army, a significant position within Jamaat would suffice to have sufficient sway over the vigilantes as well as the Pakistan Army to take action against marked men who supported an independent Bangladesh. Not uncharacteristically, Jamaat has left it up to the investigators to find out the details and link its new chief with the alleged war crimes.

Also read- New Jamaat chief ‘recalls’ freedom fighters during oath

Now it will be up to the investigators to prove their allegations and bring the new chief to trial or clear him.

Top Brokers


Popular Links