Bangladesh minister provides no updates on promise to deliver Razakar list by March 2024

A cabinet committee was formed to define wartime collaborators and make the list

Published : 24 March 2024, 01:21 PM
Updated : 24 March 2024, 01:21 PM

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq said a year ago that a list of wartime collaborators of Pakistan would be available by March 2024.

Now he says no such list has been prepared and that he has no idea how far the work has progressed.

Journalists asked about it after the publication of a fourth list of martyred intellectuals on Sunday ahead of Genocide Day and Independence Day.

A cabinet committee had been formed to work out the list with Shajahan Khan, the then chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the ministry, as its convenor, Mozammel said.

The committee was tasked with defining wartime collaborators, including members of the Razakar force, and making the list, he said.

“So far I know, they have not handed over any list yet. So, I don’t have an update on the list,” he said, asking journalists to contact Shajahan for details.

He said the home ministry has a Razakar’s list, but many objected to accepting that list.

Pakistan made the list during the 1971 war for its own use, such as paying the collaborators or providing them with arms.

Mozammel pointed out problems in accepting that list, and making a new one.

Many on the old list might have fought against Pakistan, but put their names on the list for the safety of their families and neighbours, he said.

“And there is another type - who worked to save Pakistan.”

In case of making a new list, the minister said, someone may put the name of a person they dislike, and drop the ones they like.

Mozammel alleged that the governments, which had been in power for 21 years following the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975, destroyed records of individuals who had opposed independence. He claimed this was because those in power during those times had been associated with the Pakistani forces.

“And we shouldn’t forget that Jamaat’s Matiur Rahman Nizami and Mujahid were in power,” he said.

The Jamaat-e-Islami, which opposed Bangladesh’s independence during the war, had been in power from 2001-2006 in alliance with the BNP.

Its leaders Nizami and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid were also made ministers at that time.

They hanged for war crimes and crimes committed against humanity during the war after the Awami League returned to power.

On the eve of Victory Day in 2019, Mozammel published a list of 10,789 people who had opposed independence directly or indirectly.

Amid fury over the names of some freedom fighters and members of martyrs’ families on the list, the government scrapped it.

Parliament then passed the Jatiya Muktijoddha Council Act in 2022 with a provision to list the collaborators of the Pakistani forces.

The law enabled the Muktijoddha Council to recommend lists or corrections to the government.