Newspaper archives testify to 1971 role of Mojaheed, other war crimes suspects
As Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojaheed has claimed to have forgotten 'many things' he did in 1971, newspaper archives including that of his party's mouthpiece appeared to be of great help in retrieving his 'lost memories'.
During the nine months of Liberation War in 1971, Mojaheed and several other high profile collaborators of the Pakistani occupation forces or suspected perpetrators of 'crimes against humanity' dominated the newspaper headlines with their passionate statements supporting the Pakistani troops and spreading hatred against the freedom fighters.
In one such occasion, newspapers including the Jamaat mouthpiece Sangram, on October 17, 1971, widely covered Mojaheed addressing a meeting of Jamaat's the then student wing Islamic Chhatra Sangha (ICS) in Rangpur where he directed the party workers to join and strongly build the so-called elite Gestapo like Al-Badr Bahini.
The notorious Al-Badr, which is believed to have killed the front ranking intellectuals particularly at the fag end of the liberation war, celebrated the Al Badr Day on November 7, 1971 when Mojaheed announced a four-point declaration.
"We do not believe in any map of Hindustan on earth. We will not rest until the name of Hindustan is erased from the world," several newspapers quoted him the next day as telling the function.
"From tomorrow, you will not be allowed to sell, publicise or keep in libraries books either written by Hindus or written in their support," he added, according to reports published in the daily Azad on November 8, 1971.
Incumbent Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami, himself the top leader of Al-Badr, wrote in a signed article in the Sangram on November 14, 1971 that "defensive actions" could not foil the conspiracy and protect the existence and ideal of Pakistan.
"We are lucky that the Islam-loving youths of this country formed the Al-Badr unit with the help of the Pakistani military... The youths of Al-Badr have renewed their pledge ... to stand by the army to defeat the Hindu forces and annihilate Hindustan and hoist the flag of Islam all over the world," he wrote.
In the previous month of September, he addressed a razakar rally in Jessore where, according to the Sangram newspaper, he said "every single one of us must identify ourselves as soldiers of Islam and we have to use all our forces to kill the people who are involved in an armed conspiracy against Pakistan and Islam."
Addressing as the chief guest an ICS rally in Jamalpur on June 14, 1971, he directed his party workers to assist the Pakistani army to save Islam.
"The Pakistani soldiers are our brothers... it's not a matter of personal dignity or partisan interest, it is a matter of Pakistan's survival," the Sangram newspaper quoted Nizami as saying at a seminar in Chittagong on August 3, 1971.
He added: "If the patriotic people would have come forward since March 1 to confront the 'assailants' (freedom fighters?), this situation would not have taken place in the country."
Nizami visited an Al-Badr camp on September 22, 1971 when he said, "Only the patriotic youths of East Pakistan can effectively wipe out the Indian infiltrators and their local agents."
Earlier on September 9, Nizami said in Jessore, "The way we have come forward risking our lives, the same way the government should build Pakistan in a purely militaristic manner."
Nizami was the president of ICS while Mojaheed was the president of the student wing's Dhaka unit in 1971.
The 1971 role or activities of Nizami and Mojaheed were supported and justified with the comments of the then East Pakistan unit chief of Jamaat Golam Azam who in a statement published in newspapers on September 26, 1971 said, "The Jamaat workers don't find any meaning of life without the existence of Pakistan."