screenshot of the news page
screenshot of the news page

Lahore-based newspaper Pakistan Today on August 6 ran a report on six Pakistanis’ submission of a statement to save suspected war criminal Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, who is also a BNP standing committee member. His trial on 23 charges at final stage. Forty-one witnesses described the involvement of Salahuddin Quader in killings in Raozan villages and torture at his father’s house — Good’s Hill.

The six dignitaries submitted the statement to the International Crimes Tribunal, which is holding the trial of razakars (traitors who sided with the Pakistani occupation army in committing genocide, rape, arson, loot, religious persecution). They are former caretaker government prime minister Muhammad Mian Soomro, former federal minister Ishaq Khan Khaqani, an owner of an English newspaper and three others.

In their testimony, they said during the 1971 war the war crimes accused was studying at Punjab University, Lahore and had no connection with war crimes whatsoever.

But while giving his family identity, the Pakistan Today writes he is “the son of former united National Assembly speaker Fazlur [Fazlul] Qadir Chaudhry and Bangladeshi opposition leader Khalida [it would be Khaleda] Zia.”

BNP leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury
BNP leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury

In fact, Khaleda Zia is of same age to Salahuddin Quader. Fazlul Quader died in 1973. Her husband was former military dictator Ziaur Rahman, who was assassinated in a military coup in 1981.

Despite noticing the mistake repeatedly by the readers since the publication date, the newspaper refrains from correcting the fact. Over 50 comments have been posted mentioning the issue and making fun.

Even people on Facebook are laughing at the stupidity, the story link has circulated fast, thanks to the enclosed photo of a Khaleda Zia. It has benefited the paper as they’ve got huge traffic in short time.

Since she is not his mother, the photo won’t be here too.

SQ claims he was in Pakistan

The accused and three of his witnesses at the tribunal claimed that he had been in Pakistan from March 29, 1971 to April 20, 1974; so the charges were false and politically motivated. The accused claims he was in Karachi in April and enroled at Punjab Univeristy. In  June, July and August, he was in Lahore. The three witnesses, his friend Nizam Ahmed, cousin Qaiyum Ahmed Chowdhury and former diplomat Abdul Momen said they met him in Pakistan. Qaiyum, the brother of former judge Justice Mainur Reza Chowdhury’ and trustee board member of Asia Pacific University.

Two other listed witness did not appear during the extended time at the tribunal last month. The defence was slammed by the tribunal judges for their failure to produce the witnesses. They are — his cousin Salman F Rahman, who is a business tycoon and Awami League president’s adviser, and High Court Judge Justice Shamim Hasnain. Salman remained in Maccah last month while the judge could not manage permission from the chief justice.

The high-profile aggressive BNP leader earlier submitted a witness’ list of over 1,153 people, but failed to bring five persons at the court room.

Recently, Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami demonstrated demanding release of Bangladesh Jamaat’s former ameer Ghulam Azam, who was given 90-year jail for masterminding war crimes during the 1971 Liberation War.

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