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`Ghulam Azam led anti-liberation forces`

A prosecution witness told the first war crimes tribunal of Bangladesh that Jamaat-e-Islami guru Ghulam Azam had led the anti-liberation forces during the 1971 War of Independence.

Testifying as the second witness of the prosecution, Mahbub Uddin Ahmed, a sub-divisional police officer in 1971, was given the rank of a captain by the commanding officer of sector 8 Abu Osman Chowhdury.

Mahbub Uddin then fought in the Liberation War as a sub-sector commander. He led a small squad of freedom fighters to give the guard of honour to Bangladesh’s first government, known as the Mujibnagar Government, which took oath in Meherpur on Apr 17, 1971. He was also awarded the Beer Bikram, the third highest gallantry award.

The three-judge International Crimes Tribunal–1, set up to deal with crimes against humanity during the 1971 war, indicted former Jamaat guru Azam on five charges including conspiracy, incitement and abetment on May 13.

The former freedom fighter said that he came to know from a number of collaborators during 1971, belonging to the Razakar, Al Badr, Al Shams etc that parties like Jamaat-e-Islami and Muslim League, which had competed and lost against the Awami League in the 1970 elections, were collaborating with the Pakistani Army to thwart the liberation efforts.

He said that as leader of Jamaat-e-Islami’s East Pakistan unit Ghulam Azam and his associates were in commanding positions of the auxiliary forces that stood against the Liberation War and backed Pakistan army.

Prosecutor Zead-Al-Malum conducted the deposition and wrapped it up by lunch, ahead of his full day’s deadline set by the tribunal chief, Justice Mohammad Nizamul Huq.

At the second tribunal, Jamaat number two, Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed, saw his petition to review the court’s indictment order turned down.

The first prosecution witness against another Jamaat leader, assistant secretary general Mohammad Kamaruzzaman also completed his deposition before lunch.

Hamidul Haque, a former vice president of Mymensingh’s Anandamohan College student council, said Kamaruzzaman had led the Al Badr in the greater Mymensingh area as its commander and was responsible for their atrocities.

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