DHAKA: The first trial of a suspected collaborator from Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence heard Wednesday how the accused, now a senior politician, led a wave of looting and arson by pro-Pakistan militia.
Delawar Hossain Sayedee, a top figure in the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party, listened from the dock as the first witness in his trial described how Sayedee identified homes and shops of supporters of the liberation movement to Pakistani army officers.
Mahbubul Islam Howlader, 60, told the court how a pro-Pakistani "auxiliary force" led by Sayedee had then "torched and looted" scores of houses and shops belonging to minority Hindus.
Howldaer also recalled seeing Sayedee order his men to shoot a Hindu man who had been captured and tied to a coconut tree.
Sayedee stands charged with crimes against humanity, genocide, murder, rape, religious persecution and enslavement. If found guilty, the 71-year-old could be hanged.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina -- the daughter of independence hero Sheikh Mujibur Rahman -- established the war crimes tribunal after she returned to power in 2009.
Opposition parties have condemned what they see as a "show trial" targetting Sheikh Hasina's political opponents. The New York-based group Human Rights has said the tribunal's legal procedures fall short of international standards.
Muslim-majority Bangladesh, which was called East Pakistan until 1971, has struggled to come to terms with its violent birth.
The current government says up to three million people were killed in the war, many murdered by locals collaborating with Pakistani forces.
The 1971 war began after tens of thousands of people were killed in Dhaka when then-West Pakistan launched Operation Searchlight, a campaign intended to deter Bangladeshis from seeking independence.
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Time for Pakistan to make the Hammodur Rahman Commission Report public and take action against the Pakistanis who perpetrated the genocide of Bengalis.
I hope it brings justice to the Bangladeshis from the horrendous crimes against humanity committed in Bangladesh which finally resulted in the victory of the Bengali people and their freedom.
Jamaat-e-Islami has always been in fore-front to create hatred resulting into killings since independence. They raised Al-shams and Albadar for militancy and killing of East Pakistanis, who were and are our Muslim brothers and gave lot of sacrifices in creating Pakistan. Later-on we forgot their services and maltreated them at all levels. We did not learn any lesson from that unfortunate debacle and continue to play the same game of hatred and killings. This game of hatred and killing is no more played in Bangladesh and they are making progress and attracting investments from all over the world including Pakistan. Shall we ever stop militancy, hatred and killings and start living peacefully?
In Democracy ... Justice prevails !!!!
Carry out a fair trail of both sides. Also arrest and bring to justice those perpetrators who killed several government officials who belonged to West Pakistan, only on the basis of ethnic hatred. I knew many civilian and armed forces officials who were killed by the Indian supported Militia. A large number of West Pakistani who lost business and property in the hand of Muti Bahni and like minded. What about the Hindu teachers who spread hatred among the youth against Pakistan? I am not supporting those who killed East Pakistanis.