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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Butcher Quader is the ‘angel’ of Mirpur


Mr Molla was a Bangladeshi citizen — had he loved Pakistan so much, he would have renounced his citizenship and migrated to the Islamic citadel, after the creation of the so-called Indian-sponsored Bangladesh

The sovereign state of Bangladesh decided to punish a Bangladeshi citizen named Abdul Qauder Molla for 1971 war-related crimes. Mr Molla was hanged according to Bangladeshi laws (right or wrong, which is of course debatable) after the review of their Supreme Court. A foreign office ‘babu’ (bureaucrat) in Islamabad drafted a vague and vain (in essence) statement, advising Bangladesh that, “Though it is not the norms of our state to interfere in the business of other countries, but the world is watching the developments that are shaping in Bangladesh ‘very closely’, as a result of this sentencing.” The ‘babu’ must have missed his morning tea or perhaps overslept, as the statement clearly was not very diplomatic at all. However, as they say, we are the ones in deep slumber, unwilling to learn anything from the past. Each year, around this month we do the usual chest thumping, a bit of sloganeering, point fingers towards edgy neighbours and rarely focus on the remaining four fingers that all point towards us. The grand state of delusion, which once engulfed former President Yahya Khan, still runs through our veins like blood and no matter what facts or evidence are brought forward, we simply will not relent and abandon our state of denial.

The social media went ablaze as soon as the hanging was confirmed by credible news sources around the globe. Mr Molla was remembered as the ‘Butcher of Mirpur’ and, of course, our folk quickly transformed him into an angel, making him the poor soul who was victimised by the Bangladeshis for his love for Pakistan. All right, let us assume that our patriots have something that carries any weight for a moment. The Awami League-led government in Bangladesh decided to try war criminals after 42 years as a campaign ploy to win the hearts of the potential voters in the upcoming elections in their country. In a country of millions, Mr Molla was the easiest victim and hence they picked on him to demonstrate their disdain towards their former tormentors. Never mind the people who gathered at Shahbagh and protested there. Of course, they must have been some foreign agents, perhaps fielded by our archrival, inciting and stirring up an unwanted controversy. 

Social media activists high on emotions and low on reasoning were calling it a “judicial murder”. Ah the irony — a citizen of their own country was in fact “judicially murdered” and proved as such by our dark history. Yet he is still dogged, to this day, and made the punching bag for this sorry episode. The great lawyers of our great nation want the government to raise the issue of Mr Molla’s hanging at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Our politicos went a step ahead and passed a resolution in the National Assembly condemning the aforementioned event. Some right-wing mouthpieces also awarded Mr Molla the title of Shaheed-e-Pakistan (martyr of Pakistan). The equally deranged Imran Khan declared Mr Molla innocent. The man is multi-talented and can definitely play a firebrand attorney too. I believe when all the hue and cry was being raised on the floor of the National Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the people’s representatives perhaps overlooked their own foreign office’s statement. Needless to say, this was direct involvement in a sovereign state’s internal affairs. The proponents of such an ill-intended move were desperately trying to find a relationship between Mr Molla and Pakistan.

Let us put some reason into these arguments, shall we? Mr Molla was a Bangladeshi citizen — had he loved Pakistan so much, he would have renounced his citizenship and migrated to the Islamic citadel, after the creation of the so-called Indian-sponsored Bangladesh. Nor did Mr Molla leave a final message for Imran Khan, the ‘rebellious’ Javed Hashmi or their Jamaati cohorts of Pakistan, citing his patriotic fervour for the Islamic Republic.

Next, where were our patriots when Mr Molla needed them the most? At the beginning of this year, when he was convicted, why did the boiling politicos, the so prudent lawyers and the Jamaati leadership of Pakistan not reach out to the ICJ at that juncture? So, once it is said and done, all and sundry wag their tongues to demonstrate their hollow worth, much like the poster child for their hue and cry, Dr Afia Siddiqui, who is languishing in a prison over here. All these right-wingers beat her piñata to death but I very humbly request all of these, including Mr Khan and his cohorts, to set the record straight in both Brother Molla and Sister Afia’s cases, for the sake of our unblemished history. Gather enough evidence and challenge their convictions; after all it is a matter of our ‘honour’. 

Speaking of a leg to stand on, let me say that Mr Khan and his Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) of the Islamic Republic’s cohorts do not even have that. If you look at the resolution, it is advising the sovereign state of Bangladesh to not reopen wounds that are 42-years-old. I humbly ask, why not? Does the act of rape or murder get downgraded or less heinous with the passage of time? Let the criminals be punished on both sides. You bring your evidence against the Mukti Bahini and let them present the evidence against al Shams, al Badar and the soldiers involved. If that is unacceptable, then please have the courage to face those people and seek forgiveness and apologies. Yes, it cuts both ways but it is rather silly of me to hope for any such possibility. Please do not get me started on the enlightened generation of 42 years or younger, or the ones who are much older, with their blinders on. Some are regretfully so ignorant about the real history of the land that they claim to love so much and some deliberately obfuscate to avoid any blame at any cost. The sheer arrogance in the demeanour of our folk is downright revolting and repulsive. Looking at these people vent on the idiot box, social media and on the floor of the National Assembly, one can easily sum everything up in this sentence: “Zinda hai Yahya, Zinda hai” (Yahya is alive, he is alive).

First published in the Daily Times, Pakistan on December 21, 2013

D Asghar is a Pakistani-American mortgage banker. He blogs at and can be reached at He tweets at dasghar

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