Dhaka protests Pakistan resolution

High commissioner summoned

Dhaka yesterday summoned the Pakistan high commissioner and strongly protested Islamabad’s reaction to the execution of war criminal Quader Mollah, terming it interference in the domestic affairs of Bangladesh.
In a two-page aide-memoire to the envoy, the government deplored the resolutions adopted by the Pakistan National Assembly and Punjab Provincial Assembly expressing concern over Mollah’s capital punishment.
It also sharply reacted to a senior Pakistan minister’s calling the execution “a judicial murder”. “Bangladesh finds such remarks completely untrue, biased and absolutely inappropriate,” reads the aide-memoire.
The statement was handed to Pakistan High Commissioner in Dhaka Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi Qureshi at the foreign ministry late in the afternoon.
It says, “It is the expectations of the people of Bangladesh that decisions and stature of the highest courts and judicial bodies of Bangladesh are duly respected by all concerned in Pakistan and utmost restraint is exercised specially by the responsible quarters of the government.”
Later, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali told reporters, “For where Bangladesh stands today, we are not afraid of anyone’s threat.”
He said the hanging of Mollah is Bangladesh’s domestic affairs. Pakistan must not meddle in it. The adoption of the resolutions in Pakistan assemblies was tantamount to interfering in internal affairs of Bangladesh and it was not right for Islamabad to do so.
The high commissioner went to the foreign ministry around 5:00pm and had to wait for about 25 minutes before meeting Mustafa Kamal, secretary (bilateral) of foreign ministry.
While handing over the aide-memoire, Kamal referred to the campaign of genocide launched against innocents by the Pakistan army and its cohorts like Quader Mollah on the midnight of March 25, 1971, and the reign of terror unleashed in the subsequent months.
The secretary told Qureshi that the establishment of the war crimes tribunals was Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s pledge in the 2008 election manifesto, according to a press release.
“The war crimes trials are not being conducted with any specific intention to rake up the memories of 1971 as misconstrued by some quarters in Pakistan but to put a legal closure to the injustice and pain suffered by the victims’ families and the Bangalee nation as a whole,” Kamal said.
The trials have been the longstanding demand and aspiration of the people of Bangladesh, he said during the meeting, which lasted around 25 minutes.
Briefing reporters, Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali said Dhaka had conveyed to Islamabad its strong protest.
Responding to a question on Bangladesh’s position regarding concerns raised by the United Nations and the European Union over the execution, the minister said, “That is a different issue.”
He said there is no relation between the EU or UN position and the issue of Pakistan. “We’re conveying our position to everyone in the world.”
Referring to those who protest the death penalty to the war criminals on human rights grounds, the foreign minister questioned where their humanity was when Pakistanis carried out genocide against Bangladeshi people.
Earlier, talking to reporters, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said, “The statement of the Pakistan National Assembly shows the country has neither corrected itself nor moved away from its 1971 policy.”
Denouncing Islamabad’s stance on Mollah’s execution, Inu said Pakistan has acted beyond diplomatic norms by adopting the resolutions.
“The trial of the war criminals will go on. No international conspiracy will be able to obstruct it,” he added.
The Pakistan National Assembly resolution was moved by Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan member Sher Akbar Khan and was adopted with a majority vote on Monday.
It reads: “This House expresses deep concern on hanging of a veteran politician of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh for supporting Pakistan in 1971.”
The Pakistan assembly expressed grief and sorrow for the bereaved family, and demanded Bangladesh avoid reviving the wounds of 1971 and amicably resolve cases against the Jamaat leaders in Bangladesh.
Earlier, Pakistan Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Quader Mollah was hanged “through a judicial murder for supporting a united Pakistan in 1971”.
He said the Jamaat leader was undoubtedly hanged because of his loyalty to and solidarity with Pakistan in 1971. “Till the very end before creation of Bangladesh, he [Mollah] remained supporter of a united Pakistan and today every Pakistani is saddened and grieved on his death.”