Hasina criticises Pak, US over coup convicts’ repatriation

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accused Pakistan, the US and Canada of non-cooperation in repatriating the fugitive convicted killers of her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

“(Of the convicts’ sacked lieutenant colonels) Rashid, who previously lived in Libya is now in Pakistan and Dalim is also in Pakistan,” she told parliament last night.

“But the Pakistan government never admitted it (but) we do not get any help from Pakistan to locate them…The country is not cooperating with Bangladesh on the matter.”

The premier also criticised the two other countries saying, “It is very unfortunate that the USA and Canada have provided shelter for Bangabandhu’s killers, although they are considered civilised and developed nations”.

She said her government gathered information that two of the convicted army officers were staying in the US and other named Nur Chowdhury took refuge in Canada.

President Abdul Hamid summoned the parliament after Bangladesh observed a month-long mourning commemorating the 40th anniversary of its founding father’s assassination in the 1975 coup.

The August 15 coup that toppled Bangladesh’s post- independence government led to the killing of Bangabandhu along with most of his family members. Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana survived the carnage as they were abroad at that time.

The subsequent governments protected the coup leaders under a now scraped indemnity law and rewarded them with diplomatic assignments abroad. Some of them were allowed to float political parties until 1996 when Hasina’s Awami League returned to power after 21 years in political wilderness.

The new government scrapped the Indemnity Act and initiated the belated trial process. The accused were tried under the normal law.

Bangladesh witnessed the execution of five of the convicted putsch leaders in 2010 while the rests were tried in absentia and five of them remained fugitive and one died a natural death abroad.

“Our home and foreign ministries are trying (to repatriate the killers) but for some reasons, these countries are not helping,” Hasina said.