Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)-Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) has set up a committee to gather information about the 195 Pakistani prisoners of war, who were charged as “war criminals” but finally repatriated to their country.
Chief coordinator of the ICT Investigation agency, Abdul Hannan Khan, told The Hindu that the five-member committee will collect information and related documents from across the country about the crimes committed by those Pakistani soldiers during Bangladesh’s liberation war in 1971.
Even if it is “not a formal probe” against the Pakistani “war criminals,” whom the Pakistan government had promised to try at home, the agency will start collecting all necessary documents about them in view of the growing public demand, reports The Hindu.
Relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh hit a low recently after the former denied the 1971 atrocities by its troops in Bangladesh and raised criticisms against Bangladesh’s war crimes trials.
After the reconciliation talks between India and Pakistan in 1972 following the latter’s defeat in the Bangladesh war, a tripartite pact was signed in New Delhi between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in 1974.
The pact allowed the Pakistani “war Criminals”, who included Lt Gen AAK Niazi, defeated Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan’s eastern Command and many senior commanders, to go back to their country from Indian jails.
The repatriation was also facilitated after Islamabad issued a statement in April 1973 assuring Bangladesh of putting the soldiers on trial.
While “rejecting” Dhaka’s right to try the Pakistanis on war crimes charges, “because the alleged criminal acts were committed in a part of Pakistan by citizens of Pakistan”, the Pakistan government expressed “its readiness to constitute a judicial tribunal of such character and composition as will inspire international confidence to try the persons charged with offenses”.
However, Pakistan did not constitute any such tribunal nor did it act in accordance with the recommendations of the Justice Hamudoor Rahman Commission, constituted by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, which suggested trials of identified Pakistani top soldiers for their atrocities in the former East Pakistan.