'Ekkatorer Ghatok Dalal Nirmul Committee' President Shahriar Kabir has said that the Pakistan-sponsored 1971 genocide should be linked to the al-Qaida, ISIS massacres to pave the path for global recognition of the Bangladesh Genocide.
“If we can show the obvious linkages between Pakistan's political philosophy inspiring the 1971 Genocide with the contemporary genocidal acts of Al Qaida and ISIS, it will be easy to obtain international recognition for the Bangladesh Genocide,” Kabir told a seminar in Dhaka on Tuesday.
He cited Prof Ben Kiernan of Yale University, an expert of genocide studies, who observed that the al- Qaida got inspiration from the impunity evident during the Bangladesh genocide.
“In one of my documentary, Prof Kiernan explained that those who committed genocide in Bangladesh and enjoyed impunity, particularly the Pakistani army, gradually became pretty influential in power politics of Pakistan and at the end of the day they created the al-Qaida."
For the first time this year, Bangladesh nationally observed Mar 25 as Genocide Day commemorating those killed by the Pakistani occupation forces on that night in 1971. Bangladesh is also lobbying in the UN for the global recognition of the Day.
On that night in 1971, the Pakistan Army launched 'Operation Searchlight', a brutal and barbaric military assault on an unsuspecting population to crush the Bengali movement for rights and justice that had turned to a fight for freedom in the face of persistent denials.
After nine months of the bloody war, Bangladesh emerged as an independent nation on the world map on Dec 16. Over three million people were killed and a quarter of a million women and young girls were dishonoured.
Commemorating the day, the foreign ministry’s think-tank Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organised the seminar on Wednesday.
Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali inaugurating the seminar said that the recognition of the Mar 25 as ‘Genocide Day’ would create “a deterrent effect against genocide and other atrocities throughout the world”.
He said the seminar was part of the effort to create “awareness” against such heinous crime.
“Unfortunately even after 46 years of independence, we still observe that some vested quarters are trying both domestically and internationally to question the genocide committed against the Bengalees in 1971”.
He said it is the “high time we took necessary initiatives to claim recognition of the sacrifice of the people of this country – both nationally and internationally”.
He said the massacre and mass killing committed by the Pakistani occupation force had always “thrust us to stand by our commitment to support international efforts to prevent the commission of genocides anywhere around the world, and promote accountability for such crimes”.
He said Bangladesh has committed its armed forces and police as peacekeepers to protect people on the ground and “aligned ourselves with the UN’s practical initiatives to address the factors and processes that may lead to the commission of genocide”.
Shahriar Kabir highlighted international references where the 1971 genocide was documented and urged Bangladesh diaspora in western countries to raise their voice.
They can play a “significant role”, he said, as he believed that to get international recognition and ensure justice to the victims of the Bangladesh genocide, public opinion should be mobilised at home and abroad.
“Official recognition of any genocide committed in any part of the world will indeed prevent and frustrate the crime of denial of genocide,” he said, adding “The government will have to launch vigorous diplomatic efforts for achieving recognition of Bangladesh genocide”.
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