12:00 AM, November 21, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 21, 2012

Azmi defends father's role

Says Ghulam Azam backed Pak army for protecting country's sovereignty

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Staff Correspondent

War crimes accused Ghulam Azam's son yesterday claimed his father had praised Pakistani army and its auxiliary forces for their role to save sovereignty and independence of undivided Pakistan during the Liberation War in 1971.
Former Jamaat ameer's son Brig Gen (dismissed) Abdullahil Aman Azmi also said those who had belief in undivided Pakistan were referred as 'patriots' by his father in 1971.
Azmi was giving deposition as the first defence witness for his father at the International Crimes Tribunal-1.
He claimed Ghulam Azam in no way praised Pakistani army or its auxiliary forces for their activities against humanity.
The prosecution on February 22 while reading out charges said supporting the atrocities, Ghulam Azam had repeatedly praised the Pakistani army and its auxiliary forces for protecting Pakistani ideologies and holding back the “miscreants and insurgents devastating the country”.
Ghulam Azam, considered by many as the symbol of war crimes during the Liberation War of Bangladesh, was indicted on five charges of crimes against humanity on May 13.
Azmi, who has given about 13-hour-long deposition in five sessions, also said his father had never given any speech against innocent and unarmed people and there was no such evidence.
He also claimed his father was a believer in 'communal harmony'.
He [Ghulam Azam] did not show hatred to or never gave any statement against any community irrespective of religion, caste or group, the defence witness said, adding, “Rather there is no evidence that Ghulam Azam gave any statement against non-Muslims in Bangladesh after the Liberation War.”
According to the prosecution's formal charge, Ghulam Azam took part in a rally organised by Rajshahi's Peace Committee at Rajshahi Municipal Hall on July 16, 1971 where he said there was no document that Hindus were friends of Muslims.
“They [Hindus] have always treated Muslims as their enemy,” he was quoted as saying.
Ghulam Azam in another rally on August 7, 1971 in Kushtia said Sheikh Mujib and Awami League made India ally and conspired with the people of East Pakistan.
These were published at Jamaat's mouthpiece Sangram and the prosecution submitted the clippings of the news.
Azmi said after Pakistani army's massacre of mass people on March 25, 1971, it became a challenge for Ghulam Azam and his party to fix their position.
“Ghulam Azam and his party thought that the injustice and repression on the people of East Pakistan after 1947 could be solved in a democratic way within undivided Pakistan,” said Azmi claiming their decision was totally political.
He then gave three explanations for such stance of Ghulam Azam and his party Jamaat-e-Islami.
In his first explanation the defence witness said India's leaders had opposed the birth of Pakistan as the land of Muslims before 1947 following which they thought India's prime intention was to weaken arch rival Pakistan.
Azmi said their second thought was the then East Pakistan, encompassed by India in east, west and north, might be used by India as its colony to retain its hegemony.
India could paralyse Bangladesh's economy which was the third reason for their stance, he added.
Azmi said Ghulam Azam neither formed nor was involved in forming East Pakistan Retrieval Committee. “Those who bring this allegation could not produce any evidence in the last 40 years in this regard,” he said, adding, such allegation is brought to put him in a difficult political situation.
The witness claimed the charges brought against his father are fabricated, baseless, imaginary, false and purposive. These allegations are brought after 40 years of independence only to gain political advantage, Azmi added.
Azmi finished giving deposition on charges yesterday and is set to give deposition today on different defence documents.
Defence counsel Mizanul Islam yesterday continued placing argument in the war crimes case against Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee for the third day at the same tribunal.
In his argument, Mizanul said the prosecution could not produce any document that the last name of Sayedee or his father was 'Sikdar' though they have been addressing his client as 'Sikdar'.
Proceeding of the case was adjourned until today.

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