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Why 1/11 perpetrators go scot-free
  Staff Correspondent

Perpetrators of the 1/11 political changeover which led to the formation of an army-backed caretaker government virtually enjoy a sort of indemnity.

It goes without saying that those who came to power through the 2008 polls--following the flop of the regime from its lofty target of a political purge through executing ‘minus-2’ formula--are the direct beneficiaries of the January 1, 2007 change in the crisis-ridden political scene.

The underlying fact of the matter being so, observers say, protagonists of the episode got a safe exit after the transition from the emergency regime to elected government.

The caretaker government drew much criticism for persecuting and harassing political leaders, bureaucrats and businessmen by filing cases, arrest, trial and conviction.

But the incumbent government has overlooked demand from the leaders of the ruling Awami League, its alliance partners and opposition BNP for prosecution of the 1/11 perpetrators.

Of the two cases filed against then army chief General Moeen U Ahmed and others, one was rejected by the trial court and the other stayed by the High Court.

It is the 1/11 perpetrators who had detained for long Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Leader of the Opposition and ex-premier Khaleda Zia and all stalwarts of major political parties.

Many corruption cases were filed against politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen during that time. The regime exacted huge amounts of money from the businessmen. Many leaders of the main political parties were convicted and fined.

The ruling Awami League thinks its movement against the then BNP government had led to the 1/11 changeover and then its victory in the 2008 general election. As such, the party is apparently reluctant to bring the perpetrators to book.

It appears from AL interpretations that had BNP won the 2008 polls and come to power, the party would not take step to punish the perpetrators.

But political analysts think the 1/11 protagonists cannot be sued as they ruled the country for two years with the support of army and foreign powers.

They would like to see such perpetrators punished on charges of indulging in misrule, paralysing trade and commerce and interfering in the function of the judiciary.

According to analysts, the possibility of 1/11-like situation once more cannot be ruled out as the perpetrators are at large without having to face any retribution.

Many explained illness of then President Dr Iajuddin Ahmed and General Moeen U Ahmed and long exile of former chief adviser Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed as a poetic justice.

Iajuddin Ahmed is undergoing treatment abroad due to serious illness while Moeen U Ahmed is suffering from cancer.

Talking about the issue, Barrister Rafiq-ul Haque said the government “should have punished the 1/11 perpetrators under the existing law”.

Journalist ABM Musa said the party which invited 1/11 episode by its movement is now in power. “Who will punish the perpetrators?”

Awami League presidium member Kazi Zafrullah termed the incident a ‘matter of great regret’.

He said nobody should forget the terrible memory of the reign of the last interim regime when politicians, irrespective of party affiliation, were “blindfolded, detained and prosecuted”.
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