Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Matter of War Crimes Tribunal and SQC

This Tuesday we came across an Op/Ed column in the much circulated English newspaper New Age, which discussed SQC's trial in the War Crimes Tribunal that is currently taking place in Dhaka. A letter summarizing our position was promptly sent to the paper. Here below you can read this. - BEC Board of Directors (April 27, 2011)


The editor,
New Age,
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dear Editor,
Ref: What to do about SQC?

In his Op/Ed column “What to do about SQC?”, David Bergman raises issues about the treatment of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury (SQC) in the prison and how he was brought into the International Crimes Tribunal on April 19. SQC faces serious charges of war crimes for his all too well-documented roles during the War of Liberation in March-December of 1971. He was personally responsible for murder and torture of many Bangladeshis. His Goods Hill residence was a torture house in which he himself inflicted unbearable pains to many freedom-loving college students. If it had not been for the post-Mujib military backed regimes that came to power, he would have been tried and found guilty for his heinous crimes decades ago.

There are many former criminals and torturers who later modify their evil ways by renouncing violence and setting a better record as truly repentant humans; but to expect such a change of heart with SQC was like asking for miracles. Thanks to the nasty hate-filled partisan politics in Bangladesh, he even became the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliament Affairs during the BNP rule, which bestowed him a state ministerial rank. And this, in spite of widely held beliefs that he had murdered a student leader who had belonged to a rival wing of the same party! Only in Bangladesh can one expect to see such political circus. Over the years, as he renewed his old ties, further solidifying his political comeback, he was able to behave like a Mafia Don with a ready supply of criminal cadre that would do his dirty jobs, which stopped at nothing – from land-grabbing to money-laundering to harassment and killings.

In April of 2005, using a notorious fraud and Rajakar by the name of Jaker Hosain Chowdhury as his front-man, while he was Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s adviser, SQC abused his official power to grab the real estate properties of Mr. and Mrs. Nazrul Islam Siddiqui in Khulshi, Chittagong. His son Fayyaz called Mr. Salman Ispahani of the Ispahani Holdings, a neighbor to the Siddiqui family for the past fifty years, to trespass into the latter’s properties, located in front of the Women’s College. When denied such an illegal access, Fayyaz and hundreds of his armed goons, with tacit support from a bribed O.C., broke into the properties of the Siddiqui family. Within hours his goons evicted 16 tenant families – many college professors – that had lived for decades in some of the one-story bungalows within the Siddiqui estate. Over the next six weeks, Fayyaz and the criminal cadre that he controlled terrorized the Siddiqui family and their remaining tenants, living in the six-story house “Aranika Bhavan.’ In early May, Fayyaz’s goons, demolished ten homes and cut down hundreds of costly trees, once planted by Mr. Siddiqui.

The criminal land-grabbing activities of SQC and his front-man Jaker were widely covered in all major newspapers in Dhaka and Chittagong in April – June, 2005. While in late June of that year the properties were restored to its rightful owners – the Siddiqui family – the latter continue to be threatened by SQC’s criminal land-grabbing syndicate. As the price of real estate in land-starved metropolis skyrockets, free on bail, SQC’s front-man and some members of the syndicate have not given up on their haram desire to possess the lot by any means possible. By the way, that was not the only incident when SQC and his son were involved in such land-grabbing projects, targeting vulnerable section of the population. The crime syndicate has also eyed huge real estate holdings of the nearby Ispahani Properties.

As we see it, SQC is a criminal psychopath with no bite of conscience, which he never had and will probably not have in the future. So, now after all these years, it seems destiny has eventually caught up with him. And something that should have happened some 39 years ago, trying people accused of war crimes is taking place now in Dhaka. It is a welcome event to most Bangladeshis who are tired of being victimized and abused by the powerful criminal Dons who behave as if there is no akhirah (the Day of Judgment) or accountability for their crimes.

We, the members of the Bangladesh Expatriates Council and NRB community of the USA, are therefore hopeful that justice would be served, and the matter of shame to the memory of Bangladesh’s valiant freedom fighters and martyrs would eventually be erased.

Knowing that SQC is a habitual liar and a sociopath who is a master of deceit, we are not all that surprised with his theatrics in front of the media to draw sympathy for his imprisonment. He will try everything possible to save his skin. We take pity at SQC’s condition. And we are hopeful that Bangladesh is mindful of upholding the due standard of an International Crimes Tribunal, which is trying SQC on charges of war crimes. As a matter of fact, based on the internal evidences we have been able to collect we believe that SQC is treated much fairly compared to most accused people around the globe, including those held by presidents Bush and Obama, on similar charges.

The New Age would do a much needed nobler job in publishing the sad saga of the victims of SQC than trying to draw sympathy for one of the most horrendous criminals of Bangladesh. To show pity to a venomous snake is to harm the peasant.

April 26, 2011