Justice Delayed But Not Denied



Photo: Top war criminals Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.
Photo: Top war criminals Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.

44 long years brave Bangladeshis earning the liberation war on December 16, 1971 was crying for justice for atrocities done by war criminals. Early morning of 22nd November witnessed execution of verdict against two top criminals of crimes against humanity in 1971; two cabinet Ministers of ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia led Government Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid. Two other top criminals Abdul Kader Mollah and Mohammad Quamruzzman walked the gallows earlier. Golam Azam and Abdul Aleem died in custody while serving life term imprisonment. Strong pledge and firm commitment Prime Minister and Bangabandhu daughter Sheikh Hasina disproved the maxim,” Justice delayed is justice denied.”

War Criminal trial process commenced in liberated Bangladesh by the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through adoption of Collaborators Act in Bangladesh parliament. Most of the top war criminals were arrested and prosecution started. Religion based politics was banned and citizenship of top criminals were denied. But the unfortunate brutal killing of Bangabandhu and top leaders of the liberation war in 1975 put paid to the trial process of the war criminals. From 1975 to 1996 the war criminals trail was not only stopped top criminals were reinstated into main stream politics. Some notorious criminals were made ministers. The process could only reverse in 1996 when Awami League led government could return to state power. First the indemnity bill that denied justice of Bangabandhu killers was prorogued; killers tried and punished .The trail process of War criminals started in International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).

Unfortunately the years 2002-2008 in-between when again Awami League was not in state power the process of war criminals trial stagnated. Criminals and terrorists made Bangladesh safe haven. BNP Jamat alliance backtracked the nation to devils darkness. Wide spread corruption, anarchy were the order of the day from 2002 -2006. Bangladesh became champions in corruption for several years .Economy stagnated. Energy crisis, food crisis gripped the nation. Top war criminals like Matiur Rahman Nijamee and Ali Ahsan Mujahid were made cabinet ministers.

The criminals and conspirators carried out worldwide propaganda engaging millions of dollars’ worth of lobbyists against ICT and trail. State sponsored terrorist attempted to wipe out Awami league leadership including Sheikh Hasina in a deadly grenade attack in broad day light in the heart of Dhaka City killing many and injuring hundreds .Allah saved Hasina and senior leaders .

Fortune favored again .Awami league led grand alliance returned to power with land slide victory in end 2008 .The country was on the verge of collapse. Government had to manage all round crises through epoch making bold initiatives .The war criminals trail process was put back on track. There were many national and international conspiracies against ICT and trail process. The term of government from 2009-2013 witnessed major turnaround .Nation roared back to the path of development. Food security and energy security were given firm basis .Law and order situation vastly improved despite of many internecine activities of the ill motived BNP Jamat activists. The trail process of criminals against humanity advanced appreciably.

The alliance returned to power for a consecutive second term. Consistent GDP growth @6% plus put Bangladesh on the path of developing nation. Bangladesh became a role model for developing nation’s .In many indices of MDG Bangladesh surpassed most of the developing nations.

The milestones of trial and punishment of criminals against humanity achieved through execution of verdict against Abdul Kader Mollah (Kader Koshai). Given the extent of his crimes the punishment at trail court of life term imprisonment was hotly contested nationwide. Prosecution appealed in higher court with clarifications and evidences .The verdict was reversed and duly executed. Mohammad Qaumruzzaman was also executed.

The crime syndicates continued their avalanche countrywide. Vandalism, arsenals, secret killings by Jamat Shibir and their cohorts had to be contended .The pressures of international lobbyists had to be managed.

The trails of Mujahid and Salahuddin Qader had greater significance. The former as head of Al Badar the special unit of Jamat created in 1971 as allay of crimes against humanity plotted and executed brutal killings of innocent people. The infamous murders of intellectuals on December 14, 1971 had active involvement of Mujahid .He assumed strength and power as Secretary General of Jamat. As Minister in Charge of Social Welfare of Khaleda Zia led Government he masterminded structuring anti liberation minded grass root administration.

Salauddin Qader Chowdhury (SQC) was infamous for his role as killer and principal collaborator of occupation Pakistan Army in Raujan and Rangunia area. He was involved in kidnapping and killing of many innocent people and freedom loving Bangladeshis in 1971 .Their paternal house at Goods Hill Chittagong turned into torture cell in 1971. He made his constituency a safe haven for crimes and illegal acts. He amassed huge ill gotten money and cared nothing. He used to ridicule all around him and even state leaders. He enjoyed blessings of BNP and BJP and served as minister under both Governments.

Government had to deal with intensive pressure domestically and from powerful international lobby in facilitating advancement of the trail process, ensuring transparency and executing the verdicts.

Finally the two top criminals could be executed proving that In Bangladesh Justice may be delayed but not denied. The government led by Bangabandhu Daughter Sheikh Hasina could implement its election pledge for firm believe and commitment to the ideals of the liberation war. We who witnessed the liberation war being involved are truly grateful that we could witness the execution of justice done to war criminals of liberation war in 1971.