A major step forward in the trial process.
The arrest of former ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Ghulam Azam on Wednesday adds a vital phase to the trial process begun against the war criminals and those who committed crimes against humanity in 1971.
This is an important turning point in the trial process. Just as men like Tikka Khan were perpetrators of war crimes, Ghulam Azam symbolised betrayal and collaboration with the occupation forces of Pakistan and of crimes committed by Al-Badr, al-Shams, etc.
As the ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami, he was instrumental in aiding the Pakistani forces to form the al-Badr and al-Shams killer squads.
These storm troopers were created to annihilate freedom fighters, political leaders and workers, commit arson, and carry out loot, plunder and rape. He was allegedly behind the creation of Razakars as the ancillary force of a murderous Pakistani regime.
What we particularly recall with horror is the heinous snuffing out of Bengali intellectuals just hours before the dawn of independence with the ulterior motive of crippling the new nation.
Without any prejudice to the trial process, now that this man has been taken into custody, the law should take its own course to bring him to justice. Though he is responsible for a shameful betrayal of his countrymen and committed crimes of historic proportions against humanity, we would like to see a fair and just trial against all the accused persons in the International Crimes Tribunal.
That the trial could not take place during the last forty years is a national shame. Successive governments either deliberately adopted a laid back attitude or were reluctant to initiate any process of trial. We recall here with anger that President Ziaur Rahman abolished the Collaborators' Act and allowed the return of Golam Azam to Bangladesh, thus facilitating a restoration of his citizenship.
Ghulam Azam was among those who did not show even a hint of remorse for their vicious betrayal of the people even in an independent Bangladesh and went about doing their politics defending their past role. They deserve nothing but our scorn.
Thus, it is with a sense of accomplishment that we view the trial of the war criminals, however belatedly our process of repaying our debts to the martyrs can be said to have begun.