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The dirty war against Kamal Hossain

  • Published at 05:45 pm December 6th, 2018
Kamal Hossain
His critics are only hurting themselves DHAKA TRIBUNE

Dr Hossain’s legacy is unquestionable. This is the concluding part of yesterday’s op-ed

Go back to that newspaper’s declaration of war on Kamal Hossain. The writer is miffed that Hossain was not present on the stage with Bangabandhu at the March 7, 1971 rally.

He has come upon the discovery that only weeks before the Pakistan army crackdown, Hossain was busy in the company of senior Pakistani military officers. 

So while Bangabandhu and the AL were busy leading the non-cooperation movement against the junta, Kamal Hossain was in a Sylhet tea garden, in league with the military? And Bangabandhu did not know or notice his absence? 

And you call this journalism, this sordid attempt not only to denigrate a participant in the making of Bangladesh’s history, but the political legacy of the country as well? Observe: Kamal Hossain “mysteriously managed to go to Pakistan with his family” while other AL leaders were on their way towards India in search of shelter. The implication, again: Hossain was happily ensconced somewhere in Pakistan, in a state of freedom.

But recall what Bangabandhu stated at his news conference at Claridge’s on the day he and Kamal Hossain’s family flew into London from Pakistan on January 8, 1972. Intense pressure had been brought on Kamal Hossain, said the Father of the Nation, to testify against him at his secret trial before a military tribunal in Mianwali in 1971. Hossain refused to oblige the junta. Do we now have the temerity to question Bangabandhu’s version of events?

In 1971, Bangabandhu was in Mianwali. Kamal Hossain was in Haripur. Both men were in solitary confinement. And they would not be reunited until late December, when Bangabandhu specifically demanded of the new Bhutto government that his constitutional adviser be brought to him.

Bangabandhu remained aware of the whereabouts of Kamal Hossain during the entire period of the war. Now we are being informed by the charlatans around us, in so many words, that the Father of the Nation was aware of nothing. These men are trying to have historical truth stand on its head. Or they are giving us a revisionist interpretation of what transpired in 1971.

Scan that newspaper item again. 

Dr Kamal Hossain, we have been informed, mysteriously found his way to the aircraft which carried him to London. No mention is there of the fact that the aircraft -- it was a Pakistan International Airlines plane -- carried both Bangabandhu and Hossain, and the latter’s family from Rawalpindi’s Chaklala airport to London Heathrow. You get the sense, from the report, that Kamal Hossain stealthily made his way into the aircraft, and quite probably begged Bangabandhu to take him along to London.

There are other eye-popping nuggets of information in this anything but journalistic piece.

Kamal Hossain, we are informed with a straight face, never worked against Pakistan before or after 1971. And where is the evidence for that? The writer commits a blunder. Kamal Hossain, he says, did not press for the trial of the Pakistani prisoners of war in the Simla Pact. The Simla Pact? That was a deal between Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in July 1972. How would Kamal Hossain get involved in it? 

The monumental ignorance of the writer and his newspaper comes through once again when Hossain is accused of managing a job in a foreign agency and leaving Bangladesh two months before Bangabandhu’s assassination. You cannot but marvel at all the fertility of the mind here. 

The writer does not know that Kamal Hossain took leave from his ministerial position -- he was foreign minister at the time -- and with Bangabandhu’s consent, left for Oxford to pursue research. Bangabandhu did not appoint a new minister in Hossain’s place, and in July 1975, he asked him to return home. 

Kamal Hossain complied, and was sent by Bangabandhu on a tour of Europe towards the end of the month. Foreign Minister Kamal Hossain was on an official visit to Yugoslavia when Bangabandhu was assassinated.

Kamal Hossain did not raise his voice against Khandakar Moshtaq or Bangabandhu’s assassins, says the writer. Perhaps he does not know that despite intense pressure on him, despite the many messages conveyed to him by the usurpers asking him to return and continue as foreign minister, Kamal Hossain did not come back home. 

The dirty war against Kamal Hossain goes on. His critics do not know how badly they are wounding themselves in the foot and drilling gaping holes in national history. 

Syed Badrul Ahsan is Editor-in-Charge of The Asian Age.