ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is deeply disturbed by the executions this morning of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader and Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general who were both charged with 1971 war crimes, the Foreign Office said.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid were “hanged together, at the same time” at 12:55 am (local time) at Dhaka Central Jail in the nation’s capital, Senior Jail Superintendent Mohammad Jahangir Kabir told The Associated Press.
Chowdhury had been convicted on of charges of torture, rape and genocide during the country’s independence war, while Mujahid was found guilty on charges of genocide, conspiracy in killing intellectuals, torture and abduction.
“We have noted with deep concern and anguish the unfortunate executions of the Bangladesh National Party Leader, Mr. Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Mr Ali Ahsan Mujahid,” Foreign Office Spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said in a statement.
The spokesman said Pakistan also took notice of the international community’s reaction to the flawed trials in Bangladesh related to the events of 1971.
Jamaat-e-Islami and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party say the trials were politically motivated. Bangaldeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has denied the allegations, but acknowledged that she faced international pressure for trying opposition figures for war crimes,
Human Rights Watch said the tribunal allowed the prosecution to call 41 witnesses, while Chowdhury’s defense was limited to four witnesses. The New York-based group said Mujahid was sentenced to death for instigating his subordinates to commit abuses, although no subordinates testified or were identified.
Khalilullah said there is a need for reconciliation in Bangladesh in accordance with the spirit of the Bangladesh, India, Pakistan Agreement of April 9, 1974, which he said calls for a forward-looking approach in matters relating to 1971.
The spokesman addressed hope that such an action would foster goodwill and harmony.