Pakistan an uncivilized country: Tureen Afroz
Barrister Dr Tureen Afroz, a senior prosecutor of the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh, recently sat with TVNA, sharing her take on a Pakistani minister reacting on the execution of war criminals in Bangladesh, and the cancellation of the 19th Saarc summit. Here is the exclusive interview taken by Prince Mahmud Azim.
TVNA: Foreign Minister of Pakistan Khawaja Muhammad Asif blamed Bangladesh for the cancellation of 19th SAARC summit in Pakistan. What would you say about this?
Tureen Afroz: Pakistan was set to host the 19th SAARC Summit at Islamabad on 9 and 10 November, 2016. However, on 18 September that year, an attack near the town of Uri in the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir took place. It was reported as ‘the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades’. In the wake of the attack, India cancelled its participation in the 19th SAARC Summit to be held in November in Pakistan. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement, saying, ‘… increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of Member States by one country have created an environment that is not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016.’ ‘In the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed Summit in Islamabad’, the statement said. Soon after the development, Bangladesh too pulled out of the summit. Bangladesh believes that relentless growing interference in internal affairs of Bangladesh by Pakistan has created an environment not conducive to successfully host the summit. Bangladesh remains steadfast in its commitment to regional co-operation but believes this can only go forward in more congenial atmosphere. It may be stated that Pakistan has been unnecessarily poking its nose into the trial of 1971 war criminals by Bangladesh since its inception. Afghanistan denied attending the summit too and stated that ‘Due to increased level of violence, fighting as a result of imposed terrorism on Afghanistan, President of Afghanistan with his responsibilities as Commander in Chief will be engaged and will not be able to attend the (19th) SAARC Summit.’ The statement clearly reflects that Afghanistan has far better pre-occupation than attending the summit. What a slap!
Also, Bhutan expressed concern over recent escalation of terrorism in the region, which seriously compromises environment for successful holding of the summit. Bhutan shared concerns of some of SAARC countries on deterioration of regional peace and security due to terrorism as well.Further, on 30 September 2016, Sri Lanka decided to pull out of SAARC Summit, becoming the fifth country to do so, citing the non-conductive situation in Pakistan. Sri Lanka issued a statement stating that ‘Sri Lanka condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stresses in this regard, the need to deal with the issue of terrorism in the region in a decisive manner’. Finally, Maldives on 1 October 2016 joined hands with other five SAARC states and boycotted the summit to become the sixth nation on the list. Mentionable, Nepal cannot pull out of the 19th SAARC Summit as Nepal is the present chairperson of SAARC. Now it is time for Pakistan to face the reality. It must realize that in the present context six SAARC states out of the eight accept Pakistan as an ‘unstable’ and ‘insecure’ state that cannot even host SAARC summit. These six countries have essentially banned Pakistan – socially and morally. Didn’t Iran, despite not being a Saarc member, also do the same by attacking at the Baloch border? It is now only a moral question: should Pakistan be any more part of the SAARC? Pakistan does not care for ‘peace’ and ‘security’, and has been a consistent interferer in the internal affairs of other SAARC countries. Pakistan has turned out to be a complete terror state under any standard. Pakistan has therefore absolutely no right to be part of SAARC as it has been consistently acting against the very spirit of SAARC charter.
TVNA: Pakistan is claiming that Bangladesh has broken the tripartite agreement signed in 1974 about the trial of the war criminals. How much do you agree on this?
Tureen Afroz: This also proves that Pakistan is suffering from dementia. The 1974 agreement is not compulsory for us. According to international law, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity are unforgivable. According to Article 153 of the Vienna Convention, tripartite agreement becomes invalid. This agreement has no effect in the international law as well as in our country’s law. To prove that, this agreement can only be effective only when it is passed in the Parliament, according to the Article 145 (A) of the Constitution. But it never happened. Pakistan has been unnecessarily poking its nose into the trial of 1971 war criminals by Bangladesh since its inception. They even officially denied committing war crimes in Bangladesh during Liberation War. After pronouncement of verdicts by the Bangladeshi judiciary in the trials against 1971 war criminals, Pakistan shamelessly sympathized with the Bangladeshi convicted war criminals, released uncalled-for statement against Bangladesh, non-sensibly criticized Bangladeshi judicial process in Pakistani parliaments and what not. Under international law, this is ‘highly inappropriate and unfortunate and clear interference in Bangladesh’s domestic affairs’. What Pakistan has forgotten is Bangladesh having an absolute territorial and universal jurisdiction to try the war criminals of 1971.
TVNA: What initiative should Bangladesh take about Pakistan?
Tureen Afroz: Pakistan has become an uncivilized state. They don’t have any respect to international law, relationships or anything. Not only Bangladesh, every country should severe their ties with Pakistan. Bangladesh didn’t attend the summit, then what about the other countries? The motto of SAARC is ‘Friendship, Trust and Unilateral Negotiation’ between the member countries, whereas Pakistan does not have any friendly state in SAARC.
-Translated by Raj Abrar. Revised by: Sayeed Muhammad