The Bangla justice
Mian Saifur Rehman
Justice is a global phenomenon based on universal principles of natural justice. It is, therefore, unrealistic to divide justice into regional justice or into Bangladeshi justice, Indian justice or for that matter American justice (a la Guantanamo Bay).
Some time back, an Indian Home Minister, while commenting on Mumbai attacks, expressed his desire before the press that the culprits must be brought to ‘Indian justice’. Isn’t it a mockery of the basic concept of justice that too in a country that claims to be the biggest democracy of the world? Can a democracy be termed real, genuine democracy if it doesn’t cater to the universal principles of justice?
The answer is, of course, in the negative. And now, the world has witnessed yet another example of mockery of universal justice in the shape of execution of 70 plus- year-old Jamaat Islami (JI) leader in Bangladesh (BD), Matiur Rehman Nizami. This act of ‘Bangladeshi justice’ seems to be inspired by the concept of ‘Indian justice’. For sure, it draws inspiration and motivation from ‘Indian justice’ as Nizami’s hanging (he is the 4th JI leader hanged in BD on the same count) was the utmost desire of some anti-Pakistan Indian leaders as well as their ‘disciples’ in BD’s higher echelons.
The only crime committed by JI leader Nizami and his other three colleagues hanged some time back was that they opposed the separation of eastern wing from the rest of Pakistan. They were true lovers of Pakistan, the same Pakistan whose creation was conceptualized by Bangali leaders who were in the forefront of Pakistan Movement.
It is saddening to note that such harmless people were hanged that too following a trial which, according to international jurists’ public proclamation, was not conducted strictly in accordance with proper legal procedures. According to these jurists whose opinion has appeared in the media, serious lacunae have been found out in the trial proceedings. The standard practice throughout the world in such improper legal proceedings is that the accused is given benefit of doubt. But, in the case of this JI personality, neither benefit of doubt was given nor was his age factor and commitment to religious style kept into consideration. The verdict seems to have been announced in haste as well as under pressure from the government of Sheikh Hasina Wajid which holds sway over the judiciary through the parliament. According to legal experts of the region, parliament holds some levers of authority over judiciary in Bangladesh.