A freedom fighter prosecution witness on Sunday said that staying in Pabna, accused Motiur Rahman Nizami, now ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami, used to chalk out plans and often had discussions with the Pakistan occupation army in order to thwart the Liberation War in 1971.
“I came to know of this through interrogation from the Razakars and Al Badrs captured during our wartime operation,” said M Zahurul Huq while being cross-examined by the defence counsel before the International Crimes Tribunal-1 as PW-18.
“We used to free the Razakars and members of Al Badr after interrogation, keeping their firearms for our use,” he added.
Replying to a defence suggestion, Zahurul said it was not true that he didn’t tell the investigator what he came to know about Nizami’s planning towards direct incitement to rape of captured women during the Liberation War.
During the cross-examinations, the defence counsel at one stage prayed before the three-member tribunal, headed by Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, for deleting a reply from the PW that apparently boomeranged.
As the PW-18, replying to a defence question, told the tribunal that although Al Badr was not a military organisation, its members used to carry firearms. This seemingly embarrassed the defence counsel and he sought deleting of the reply.
After the tribunal deleted the impugned question and answer, war hero PW Zahurul said those who carry firearms may not necessarily be members of military outfit.
He told the tribunal that he knew long before that during the Liberation War Nizami was the president of Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS), a student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami.
Replying to a defence question, the PW said no freedom fighter of his namesake (M Zahurul Huq) exists in village Haria of Sathia, Pabna.
Asked whether he being over enthusiastic as a neo-Awami Leaguer gave false evidence against accused Nizami at the behest of his party leaders, the PW replied in the negative.
Earlier, PW Zahurul Huq corroborating the evidence of a comrade-in-arms, deposed that Pakistan occupation army along with Razakar and Al Badr, led by Motiur Rahman Nizami, had perpetrated atrocities in two villages in Pabna on May 14, 1971, killing about 400 innocent, unarmed people.
Jamaat chief Nizami is being tried on charges of involvement in murders and torture of unarmed people along with hatching conspiracy, planning, incitement and complicity to commit genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army.
He faces 16 counts of charges based on 16 separate incidents of crimes against humanity, in which at least 600 unarmed people were killed and 31 women raped during the Liberation War.
On December 11, 2011, the prosecution submitted the formal charge against Nizami before the tribunal.
On January 9, 2012, the tribunal took cognizance of the formal charge against Nizami for facing the trial of crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War.
On May 28, 2012, the tribunal indicted the Jamaat ameer for committing the 1971 crimes against humanity.
Nizami, detained in another criminal case, was shown arrested on August 2, 2010, in connection with the war crimes case.