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B`desh opposition in quandary over `war crimes` trial

Last Updated: Sunday, April 11, 2010 - 12:34

Dhaka: The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is in a quandary over whether to support or oppose the "war crimes" trial launched against those who killed unarmed civilians during the freedom struggle in 1971, says a media report.

An observation by party chief and former prime minister Khaleda Zia that the trial was being used against the political opposition has caused confusion among the leaders and the rank and file, The Daily Star said on Sunday.

The BNP was founded by slain former president Ziaur Rahman, a freedom fighter who rose from being the Army chief to be the country`s military strongman in the second half of the 1970s.

However, the party has in the last three decades gathered among its members those who opposed the freedom movement.

The BNP was in a formal alliance with the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), the country`s largest Islamist party. The two shared power during 2001-06.

High on the list of those who will be tried for what are called "war crimes" are top leaders of the Jamaat. This could hurt the BNP-Jamaat alliance, political analysts say.

BNP leaders were confused about the party`s stance, the newspaper said quoting a number of BNP leaders.

Some influential leaders of BNP and Jamaat are trying to persuade BNP policymakers to take "a clear stance" against the trial.

A number of BNP leaders including a standing committee member were allegedly involved in war crimes.

Some senior BNP leaders have met Jamaat leaders several times to find out a way to face the issue politically.

When the issue came up for discussion at the standing committee meeting, some leaders proposed taking a firm stance against the government move to try war criminals.


First Published: Sunday, April 11, 2010 - 12:34
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