Pakistan Challenges Bangladesh Execution of Top Islamist Leader

Bangladeshi Jamaat-e-Islami party leader, Mir Quasem Ali waves as he enters a van at the International Crimes Tribunal court in Dhaka, in November 2014

A top Islamist leader — convicted of war crimes in Bangladesh linked to the nation’s 1971 war of independence against Pakistan — was hanged on Saturday, drawing ire from the Pakistani government.

On Sunday, the government of Bangladesh strongly protested a Pakistani statement that questioned the fairness and transparency of Bangladeshi war crimes trials, noting that the remarks were “in interference in its internal affairs,” reports The Hindu.

The Bangladeshi government also expressed dismay towards a statement issued by the Turkish government denouncing the execution, notes

On Saturday morning, Bangladesh authorities executed business tycoon Mir Quasem Ali, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party and chief of the Al-Badr militia in Chittagong during the Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.

Soon thereafter, Pakistan issued a statement in which it referred to the hanging as “an act of suppressing the opposition, through flawed trials.”

Islamabad also offered “deepest condolences to the bereaved family members” of Ali.

In response, Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry summoned Pakistan’s acting High Commissioner Samina Mehtab in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka to lodge his country’s protest to the remarks.

“We called their acting High Commissioner Samina Mehtab as we consider Islamabad’s statement as direct interference to Bangladesh’s internal affairs,” said a spokesman for the foreign ministry, reports The Hindu.

The Associated Press (AP) notes:

Immediately after the execution, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said security measures would be put in place to prevent unrest by Ali’s supporters.

Authorities deployed para-military border guards and additional police in Dhaka and other cities late Saturday.

No protests had been reported as of Monday.

However, Siraj-ul-Haq, the leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan announced on Sunday that he was planning to stage a sit-in in Islamabad on September 8 over Ali’s execution, reports Dunya News.

AP points out:

The Jamaat-e-Islami party in a statement late Saturday protested Ali’s execution and called for an eight-hour general strike beginning Monday morning…

The 63-year-old Ali was a member of Jamaat-e-Islami’s highest policy-making body. He was found guilty on eight charges, two of which carried the death sentence, including the abduction and murder of a young man in a torture chamber. Ali was sentenced to 72 years in prison on the other charges.

Dunya News adds:

Six opposition leaders have now been executed for war crimes after the secular [Bangladesh] government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set up a domestic war crimes tribunal in 2010.

Ali is the fifth and the last prominent Jamaat leader to have been executed — a massive setback for the party in the world’s third largest Muslim nation, which has been reeling from a wave of deadly extremist attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.


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