As nationwide protests in Bangladesh continued against Pakistan’s criticism of the hanging of Jamaat leader Quader Mollah, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has joined the outcry, denouncing Islamabad for “meddling” in the country’s internal affairs.
The Pakistan National Assembly resolution and a senior Pakistani Minister’s assertion that Mollah’s execution was “judicial murder,” has incensed public opinion in the country.
The Prime Minister said: “Pakistan has proved that it never accepted the victory of Bangladesh in the Liberation War in 1971, and it still has allies in Bangladesh.”
People of all ages and political faiths have held rallies, organised processions and burnt the Pakistani flag in all major city centres including Dhaka, and even in villages.
In the capital, thousands of slogan-chanting people marched towards the Pakistan High Commission for the second day on Thursday demanding cancellation of diplomatic ties with Pakistan.
Gonojagoron Mancha, which had staged a unique movement early this year to demand capital punishment to the war crime convicts, has already issued a 20-hour ultimatum to the government to suspend diplomatic ties with Pakistan “until the country sought Bangladesh’s pardon” for its stand on the execution.
Thousands of activists of the Shahbag youth movement proceeded to the city’s Gulshan diplomatic area to lay siege to the Pakistan embassy, but the police did not allow them to proceed, and baton-charged them, injuring several including Imran H. Sarkar, the convener of the Mancha.
Ms. Hasina, who is facing a violent agitation being spearheaded by the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami, told a meeting of the alliance on Wednesday that the Pakistani army, in collaboration with the war criminals had killed innocent people, raped women, ransacked and looted houses in 1971. She added, “but we compelled them (Pakistan army) to surrender.”
The daughter of the country’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman also blasted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan for his remark that “Quader Mollah was innocent.”
Fans and leading Bangladesh cricketers have expressed their surprise at the Pakistani cricketer-turned politician’s remarks, since Imran Khan only recently pleaded for Pakistan’s apology to Bangladesh for its Army’s brutal campaign in 1971.
Kamal Hossain, eminent jurist and opposition ‘Gono Forum’ president, has dubbed the Pakistani stand as tantamount to “meddling in Bangladesh’s internal affairs.”