Bangladesh can try Pakistan army for 1971 genocide: Law minister

Law Minister Anisul Huq has said that Bangladesh can now try the 195 war criminals of Pakistani army who were listed during the agreement after the 1971 war of independence, but Pakistan did not put them on trial.

Published : 29 March 2017, 08:12 PM
Updated : 29 March 2017, 08:12 PM

The minister said that he could now pursue to bring them back to face the trial.

Speaking at a seminar on Tuesday, he said Bangladesh can try them now as Pakistan has breached the agreement.

Pakistan, India and Bangladesh signed a tripartite agreement under which those war criminals were handed over to Pakistan.

“In this agreement, a condition was tagged that there were people who wanted to go to Pakistan, and Pakistan was under an obligation to receive them. But Pakistan did not live up to its commitment,” Huq said, referring to the stranded Pakistanis who could not go back to their country.

“So, there’s been a breach of the agreement, and we shouldn’t abide by that agreement. We can now try the 195 war criminals of Pakistani army for violating the deal.”

The foreign ministry’s think-tank Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organised the seminar commemorating the first-ever ‘Genocide Day’.

For the first time this year, Bangladesh nationally observed Mar 25 as Genocide Day commemorating those killed by the Pakistani occupation forces on that night in 1971. Bangladesh is also lobbying in the UN for the global recognition of the Day.

On that night in 1971, the Pakistan Army launched 'Operation Searchlight', a brutal and barbaric military assault on an unsuspecting population to crush the Bengali movement for rights and justice that had turned to a fight for freedom in the face of persistent denials.

After nine months of the bloody war, Bangladesh emerged as an independent nation on the world map on Dec 16. Over three million people were killed and a quarter of a million women and young girls were dishonoured.

The law minister said the announcement of Mar 25 as the Genocide Day had created a scope for Bangladesh to go to the International Criminal Court to force Pakistan to hand over the 195 Pakistani war criminals.

“Yes, some of them have already died, but many are still alive. We should make a very strong claim for them. I can tell you, as the law minister, I’ll put forward the case before the Cabinet, and we’ll peruse it to bring back those criminals,” he asserted.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher