Ghulam Azam aided attacks on Bangalees | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 27, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 27, 2013

Ghulam Azam aided attacks on Bangalees

He considered it his duty, war crimes tribunal told

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War crimes accused Ghulam Azam at a meeting in Rawalpindi of Pakistan 18 days before the 1971 victory tried to justify the attacks on Bangalees, saying it was his duty.
“We [Azam and the organisations under his control] have assisted the Pakistan Government in taking measures against the separatists because it was our duty,” prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon yesterday told the International Crimes Tribunal-1, quoting the accused from newspaper reports .
Azam made the remarks at the United Coalition Party (UCP) meeting on November 28, 1971, which was published at the daily Sangram, Jamaat-e-Islami's mouthpiece, the next day.
Simon, while placing closing arguments in the war crimes case, said Azam used to brand freedom fighters of the then East Pakistan as “separatists” and “anti-state elements”.
He said Azam actually supported all the activities of the Pakistani army by assisting the operations of the military-backed government against the Bangalees. As part of their assistance, auxiliary forces -- Peace Committee, Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-shams -- were formed in a planned way, the prosecutor argued.
“So, it is clear that Azam was involved in all the activities [genocide, mass killings and other war crimes] committed by the Pakistani army and its auxiliary forces during the Liberation War in 1971. Azam could not avoid liabilities of the crimes,” Simon added.
In that meeting, Azam also urged the then president Yahya Khan to visit East Pakistan in order to gain the support of the “patriots” of the East. Azam termed his followers patriots.
Quoting newspaper reports, Simon said Azam pinned the blame on “extremists” of the banned Awami League for all the miseries of the country.
In a public gathering at the Baitul Mukarram Mosque on October 16, 1971 the war crimes suspect also stated that Jamaat-e-Islami was working relentlessly through the Peace Committees to establish a civilian government in the country
The prosecutor said such speech shows Azam's association with the criminal activities of the Pakistani army and the Peace Committees.
The prosecution have been placing arguments for the last seven days and would continue with placing the closing argument today.
Earlier in the morning, the three-member tribunal rejected two prayers of Azam -- bail petition and taking written statement of Prof William Schabas and Gen Jack Deverell as defence testimony.
This is the fourth time the former Jamaat chief's bail petition has been rejected by the tribunal.
Earlier on February 20, Azam's counsel Tajul Islam filed a bail petition to let the family members take care of the accused, who has been suffering from old-age complications.
Countering the petition, the prosecution argued that there was no guarantee whether Azam would get well after returning home from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), where he has been undergoing treatment.
The tribunal ordered the BSMMU authorities to ensure proper treatment of the accused.

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