Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir’s recent article in daily Jang, asking for the release of Ghulam Azam, the Bangladesh mastermind of ‘71 war crimes, appeared as a surprise gift for those who witnessed Mir’s photo session in front of Islamabad Press Club demanding Pakistan’s apology for the genocide of 1971.
Hamid Mir became a hero in Bangladesh for this photo session and a few reconciliatory articles published in daily Prothom Alo. Mir’s father Waris Mir stood up against the ‘71 killings and was hence humiliated and defamed as a traitor by the then establishment. Recently, Hamid Mir visited Dhaka to receive national recognition on behalf of his father’s heroic role in 71 as a friend of Bangladesh and humanity.
With the help of his father’s credibility and standing Hamid Mir has been portraying himself as a politically correct activist in Bangladesh. However, all it took was an article in favor of Ghulam Azam to expose Hamid’s deceptive agenda.
In his article he has tried to defame the Bangladesh tribunal as being a farce and a mere conduit for political witch hunting. Interestingly, it’s the same line of propaganda used by the lobbyists hired by Jamaat leaders of Bangladesh. Hamid Mir has used the same illogical argument that when Pakistan could not bring to trial the 195 army officers involved in the killings of ’71, what then is the basis if trying their Bangladeshi collaborators! Ironically for Hamid Mir, he defeated his own argument in the article by writing that had the war criminals listed in the Inquiry commission report of 1972 been punished, Pakistan and Bangladesh could have reconciled the tragedy of ‘71. Basically, he accepts that war crimes were committed but doesn’t want the Jamaat perpetrators punished.
To give him credit, Hamid Mir has raised an important point: Awami League won the 1970 national elections with a clean majority and by launching an operation in the then east Pakistan, the Pakistan army committed a crime by violating the rights of the majority and by that reason violated the rules of the state, so why didn’t Pakistan try those involved with an illegitimate army operation against the legitimate majority of the then East Pakistan?
Having raised this question it is now Hamid Mir and his politically correct friends’ responsibility to request the Pakistan Government to seek state apology for ‘71 and to implement the commission report by trying those Pakistanis implicated in the 1972 inquiry commission report.
Bangladesh cannot take responsibility for the failure of Pakistan’s actions. At our end, the youth of Bangladesh voted Awami League into power in 2008 for bringing war criminals to justice. With that mandate Awami League formed this tribunal to try top local collaborators who were involved in the civilian killings of 1971.
My observation so far has been that Hamid Mir writes secular columns in English and reactionary ones in Urdu. He knows well that the ‘burger’ crowds of Pakistan don’t/can’t read Urdu and that’s why they invite him to fashionable human rights rallies, whereas his ‘bun kabab’ fans read only Urdu and consider him an icon of right-wingism. In this manner he gets to swing both ways: by seeking apology for ‘71 in English and in the same breath by seeking pardon for Ghulam Azam’s war crimes in Urdu. This sort of blatant hypocracy earns nothing; it only unmasks the heart of darkness.
Hamid Mir suffers from the dilemma of the contrast between his father’s ideology and of his own. His father’s influence inspired him to become a part of the movement for seeking apology for the 1971 crimes, while his Jamaat ties forced him to call Ghulam Azam a hero. As evident on social media, this dilemma has cost Hamid Mir his young followers in Bangladesh in a matter of minutes.
Bangladeshi thinker Professor Humayun Azad once made a very generic and personal comment that he could not trust a Pakistani, not even one offering him a rose. In my case I would narrow it down to just I would say the same about Hamid Mir.