In the late
afternoon of December 4th, I even specified the terms of the constitution
by which Ershad had to relinquish power and how the power transfer
was to be made. We opened the door and showed the steps through
which Ershad would have to hand over his authority. And that was
by the people's verdict. Even then the Jatiya Party asked what the
revolution was based on, how such a power shift could happen. We
showed clearly how it could happen.
We shall protect the values and spirit of the Liberation War:
I want to tell those who are opposing the public tribunal that during
the revolution for democracy we had repeatedly promised, even stipulated
in our three party manifesto, that we would protect the spirit and
values of the Liberation War. We revolted with the people's consent,
with the people's support and in order to realize the dreams of
the people. Their consent has led to today's parliament. Questioning
the legitimacy of public tribunals would be to disregard the people.
However, those who are in power today will have to bear the responsibility
for the horrendous ramifications of disregarding the people's judgement
if they do so for the sake of bolstering their own power.
aside from the problem at hand, the nation is in a very fragile
state. Law and order is brittle, price levels are rising, people
are dying of starvation and diarrhea. The country is plagued with
many problems. We are of course keeping these problems in mind.
Moreover, I am also cognizant of the mass murder that was perpetrated
in Khagrachari and the Chittagong Hill tracts. You have heard the
opinions of the Honorable member Kalparanjan Chakma. Much effort
has been taken to publish his words in the newspapers. We have many
complex issues at hand. To compound these problems, the party that
the government is advocating for, has brought the Rajshahi University
campus down to its knees with its terrorist activities. Various
political workers in Chittagong University and other parts of the
nation are being killed and maimed by members of this party, the
efforts of which will only be encouraged by government support.
Today, my brother Major Hafiz has cleverly said that Jamaat-E-Islami
leaders seemed delighted when government barristers were advocating
their case. They had to say nothing in their own defense as they
were being well represented by the government.
Parliamentary democratic tradition is not being maintained:
this is not the environment that we wanted. We have passed the eleventh
and twelfth amendments in this parliament. Much was said when we
talked about parliamentary democracy in the first session of the
parliament. Many books were cited to show laws against it. Honorable
Speaker, I am sure you remember that these people finally decided
to accept the desires of the people inside and outside the parliament.
However, I would contend that even though we officially have parliamentary
democracy now, the rules and traditions of the system are not being
followed. A certain wantonness is being encouraged here. We are
still hopeful that these transgressions are due to the long breaks
that our political system has had from parliamentary democracy and
that the government party and you, Honorable Speaker, shall slowly
familiarize yourself with the parliamentary democratic tradition.
Come, let us respect the judgement of the people:
I have said and you have heard, Honorable Speaker,
that we respect the judgement of the people. However, a public does
not mean that the people have taken the law in their own hands.
And because they did not do so, there exists no right nor opportunity
to brand them as criminals. What have they said? They have said
that Golam Azam is a war criminal. All his crimes have been listed
here (shows the public tribunal charge sheet) and anyone charged
with these crimes is punishable by death. We have come to the parliament
through a people's revolt, through protest and through the mandate
of the people. I think that according to the judgement given by
the public tribunal, the crimes are deserving of the death penalty.
Today, many among those who are sitting in front of me in this parliament
lost their husbands and brothers and had their mothers and sisters
violated during the war. There are those who fought endlessly, with
an empty stomach and rifle in hand. I request those who gambled
their lives for nine months to stop the marauding forces to ignore
partisan politics and unite with us in respecting the people's ruling.
Debates about who has done how much will come to naught. If you
think that the Awami League government had not done enough, then
what did you do by removing all laws through Marshal Law proclamations?
Why did you help re-establish the Razakars? Why did you push the
whole country into debate on this issue after twenty-one years of
freedom and liberty? Therefore, HonorableSpeaker, there is still
time for us to rise above our differences and unite our efforts
much like we did when we instituted the eleventh and twelfth amendments.
Those who have lost dear ones and still mourn their loss, let us
all accept this judgement. I think the extant Act (International
Crime Act, '73) is enough to realize the ruling of the people. Even
if you think that the Act is lacking, I am sure that this great
parliament can come up with ways to fill the loopholes.
Golam Azam and his accomplices must be tried:
This great parliament has the right. The nation has given it that
right. This is a sovereign parliament. Therefore I am calling upon
the government, through you, to realize the judgement of the people
given on 26th March 1992 by forming a tribunal, according to the
International Crime Act '73, to legally address the crimes committed
by Pakistani citizen Golam Azam, an anti-liberation figure, a war
criminal, a mass murderer, a conspirator for East Pakistan even
after the independence of Bangladesh and perpetrator of illegal
methods of assuming power in this country. I am proposing that the
relevant ministry take immediate steps to indict Golam Azam and
his accomplices. At the same time, I am expressing my regret over
the insulting legal charges that have been brought against the conductors
of the Public Tribunal and requesting, through you, that those charges
be immediately dropped.