Thursday, December 19, 2013

Zulfiqar Ali Molla vs Abdul Qadir Bhutto - a tale of two Judicial Murders

Rewind to Year 1979:
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged by Zia govt after being sentenced to death by the Supreme Court.
History tells us that ZAB was tried in court for murder of Nawab Muhammad Ahmad Khan Qasuri. The murder was reportedly committed by 4 member of Bhutto's Federal Security Force (FSF) - ostensibly on Bhutto's personal orders.
FSF was the most dreaded arm of Bhutto's anti-dissent fascism; it committed merciless killings of his political opponents & even dissenting voices within his party. FSF reign of terror was nothing different from Irani SAVAK and it used everything from murders to robberies to rapes as instruments for intimidating political opponents (under Bhutto's naked gaze).
Some of the most blatant cases in which FSF was involved (some documented by famous columnist late Ardeshir Cowasjee):
1) Brutal killing of JI MNA Dr Nazir Ahmad (Dera Ghazi Khan) - Dr Nazir was a staunch critic of PPP.
2) Cold-blooded killing of Asadullah Mengal (son of Sardar Ataullah Mengal) and his friend Ahmad Shah Kurd.
3) Murder of Deputy Speaker Balochistan Assembly Maulvi Shamsuddin.
4) Liaquat Bagh massacre (1973) - killings of dozens NAP workers in which Wali Khan narrowly escaped death.
5) Killings of several Hur followers of Pir Saheb Pagara including their Chief Khalifa, Faqir Muhammad Amin.
6) Killing of Nawab Muhammad Ahmad Khan Qasuri.

These are just few glimpses of what Bhutto did to Pakistan through FSF. Hundreds of workers of anti-PPP parties were killed, thousands tortured and scores went missing. It was same FSF through whom Bhutto physically threw Mufti Mehmud (JUI Chief) outside the National Assembly.
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And when Bhutto was tried for Nawab Qasuri's murder by Zia's Supreme Court, ironically it was Bhutto's blue-eyed FSF DG Masud Mehmud who provided the biggest impetus to the murder case against Bhutto. The trial proceeded and Bhutto was sentenced to death.
Till this day our desi liberals mourn Bhutto as 'Shaheed' and his hanging as 'judicial murder' although he was hanged after a court decision (good or bad is another story).
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Fast forward to 2013

Bangladeshi 'Secular Liberal' Govt hangs Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Qader Molla - citing crimes allegedly committed by JI's youth wing Al-Badr during 1971 war between Pakistan Army and Mukti Bahini militants (aided by Indian army). Abdul Qader was not some unknown person; he was a learned man; a newspaper editor; remained member of Bangladesh's National Assembly. The only witness presented by prosecution was a lady who was 12-13 years old in 1971 and who changed her statements multiple times during the trial.  Abdul Qader was initially sentenced to life in prison by the tribunal. But later the govt got rules changed to ensure a death penalty for him from Supreme Court. A Supreme Court panel—the same one that denied his request for review on hanging day—changed the life sentenced to death penalty.
Retroactive application of the new law speaks volumes about the fairness of the trial.

World renowned human rights lawyer Toby Cadman (who advocated Molla's case in court) condemned the execution as a 'judicial murder' and said that Molla didn't receive a fair trial. He also said that Mollah "has been summarily executed and it can only be characterized as judicial murder".
Bangladesh government didn't pay heed to numerous concerns and warnings by international community in order to make this process fair. Those who appealed for a fair trial for Mollah included UN high commissioner for Human Rights, Foreign Minister of UK, Prime Minister of Turkey, Human Rights Watch, EU subcommittee for human rights etc. But Bangladesh Govt rushed to the judgment and executed Mollah by breaching all international norms..
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The headlines of leading international news services after the hanging tell the story:
Al-Jazeera English: Bangladesh executes opposition leader.
New York Times: Bangladesh Executes Opposition Leader.
Reuters: Bangladesh executes Islamist leader.
Christian Science Monitor: Bangladesh execution of opposition leader hints at deeper woes.
Wall Street Journal: Bangladesh Executes Opposition Leader.
Yahoo News: Bangladesh executes opposition leader.
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However, the reaction of our Pakistani desi liberals was starkly different. Disconnected as they are with everything that sounds Pakistani or feels Pakistani - these desi liberals jumped into shaming all those who condemned the execution of Mollah (whose real crime was his loyalty to Pakistan - not Mukti Bahini - in 1971 war).
Since the pretext for hanging Molla was pre - 16 December 1971 situation, Pakistan too was indirectly the target of this execution. Mollah was hanged despite mutual Pakistan-Bangladesh agreements about not opening the cases of pre-Bangladesh era. So it was logical for every patriotic Pakistani to feel pain at the treatment meted out to Molla & all those people who sided with Pakistan in 1971 (as patriotic Pakistanis). However, desi liberals and the parties that they support - PPP, ANP, MQM - kept a shameful silence on the issue; rather they justified the 'judicial murder' of Mollah on the pretext that "Bangladesh's highest court had given him death sentence and we should respect the judicial verdicts".
And while saying this the desi liberals forgot their Mama Jee Bhutto's case - convicted and hanged for similar crimes as Abdul Qader Molla; by the highest court after a 1-year long court trial.
If Bhutto's judicial murder was wrong and condemnable (and it was) which makes him SHAHEED in the eyes of desi liberals, how come Abdul Qader Molla's judicial murder is not wrong and not condemnable? How come Molla remains a murderer in the eyes of desi liberals and Bhutto becomes a SHAHEED?
What should we call this? Hypocrisy? Double standard? Or pure 'Hate for anything Islamist'?
What if Abdul Qader was Abdul Qader Bhutto ( a secular & liberal)?
What if Zulfiqar Ali was Zulfiqar Molla (a religious person)?
Is blood of an Islamist Qader Molla cheaper than a secular Zulfiqar Bhutto?
The shameless irony of our desi liberals' hypocrite stand is unmistakable - worst part they think they are 'liberal's - what an injustice to the terminology.
I rest my case.
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The writer is a tribesman from Bajaur Agency (FATA) and tweets at @PTI_FATA .
(No official association with PTI)
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Disclaimer: This blog is not an official PTI webpage and is run by a group of volunteers having no official position in PTI. All posts are personal opinions of the bloggers and should, in no way, be taken as official PTI word.
With Regards,
"Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf FATA Volunteers" Team.


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