Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Searching for Truth and Reconciliation in Bangladesh


Dear Mr. Imran Khan,

I am writing to you on the birthday of Mohammad Ali Jinnah to share my sincere thanks to you for protesting the judicial murder of Abdul Quader Mollah before the Pakistan National Assembly. I was heartened by your speech which showed moral courage and linked 1971 with present day politics problems. More than two years ago, you stated that Pakistan should apologise to Bangladesh, and I wrote to you about reconciliation between the peoples of Bangladesh and Pakistan. It is with this in mind that I seek your, PTI’s and a broader audience again.

It is time to challenge prevailing wrong attitudes in Pakistan, and the ‘War Crimes Industry’ that continues to plague Bangladesh’s internal politics and regional relations, to establish an accurate historical record, and break the culture of exaggeration, blood capitalism and silencing of dissenting views, by asserting the right to the truth. The judicial murder of Abdul Quader Mollah on 12th December, and wider violence and vilification in the name of the war crime tribunals in Bangladesh is possible because both of our peoples do not have access to the full picture of what unfolded between 1968 and 1972.

A just reinvestigation is of paramount importance to both of our countries, where terrible state crimes are still happening and where media are complicit in spreading disinformation. In Dhaka recently, on 6th May 2013, there was a massacre of sit in protesters by state security forces, which was covered-up, then justified by the Bangladeshi establishment. Without accepting, understanding and addressing such failings of state institutions and civil society our prospects are grim.

Having grown up in Bangladesh, and spoken to those who suffered and benefitted from the war, I have begun to question what I was taught in school. The internationally discredited War Crimes Tribunals, from their inception, have been a tool of revenge from the party in power. This is evident from the poor standards of evidence as well as the accused’s curtailed access to defence lawyers, limited numbers and scope of defence witness testimonies, not to mention the abduction of a key defence witness. Questions about the independence and impartiality of the judges and blatant involvement of the government have dogged this trial, which provides the world with a case study of how not to pursue justice.

The alternative for us is truth and reconciliation. The aim of a future Truth and Reconciliation Commission would be a compassionate state; reconciliation, not revenge; knowledge and acknowledgement, not forgetfulness; acceptance, not rejection. In addition to Truth and Reconciliation, Reparation and Rehabilitation could extend opportunities for the Biharis (Muhajirs) of Bangladesh, and Bengalis of Pakistan to visit and settle as they wish.

In making such a big undertaking, we would honour the memory of all victims of gross indignity and systematic human rights violations, and promote the importance of the right to truth and justice.

I request that you and PTI  take up the challenge to review and initiate actions suggested by the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, and further to this help to nurture the conditions to speak, listen and learn about this period of tribulation which brought the worst and the best out of us.  It is time to identify a history common to all Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. It is time to restore to our countries a moral order, to seek the truth and to make it known to the nations. Without this, the future may be difficult. There are good number of people who will strengthen your hand and join your call.

I look forward to your prompt action in this urgent matter, and stand ready to provide any further information or assistance you may require.

Yours sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes

Journalist and Human Rights Activist


York, United Kingdom


1.Mr. Mian Nawaz Sharif,Prime Minister of Pakistan

2. Ms.Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh

3. Ms. Khaleda Zia, Leader of the Opposition, Bangladesh

4. Mr.Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Turkey

5. Ambassador Mohammad Kawu Ibrahim, OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission.

6. Mr.Stephen Rapp, United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues

7. Ms. Catherine Ashton,High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

8. Ms. Navanethem Pillay,UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

9. Justice ATM Fazle Kabir,International Crimes Tribunal (Bangladesh)

10.Prof. Yasmin Saikia, Centre for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Arizona State University

11. Prof. Gayatri Chakrovarti Spivak, Institute for Comparative Literature and Society

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 28, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louis Proyect
The Outsider-Insider: Isaac Babel’s Big Mistake
Martin Billheimer
Now and Then, Ancient Sorceries
October 27, 2016
Paul Street
An Identity-Politicized Election and World Series Lakefront Liberals Can Love
Matthew Stevenson
Sex and the Presidential City
Jim Kavanagh
Tom Hayden’s Haunting
CJ Hopkins
The Pathologization of Dissent
Mike Merryman-Lotze
The Inherent Violence of Israel’s Gaza Blockade
Robert Fisk
Is Yemen Too Much for the World to Take?
Shamus Cooke
Stopping Hillary’s Coming War on Syria
Jan Oberg
Security Politics and the Closing of the Open Society
Ramzy Baroud
The War on UNESCO: Al-Aqsa Mosque is Palestinian and East Jerusalem is Illegally Occupied
Colin Todhunter
Lower Yields and Agropoisons: What is the Point of GM Mustard in India?
Norman Pollack
The Election: Does It Matter Who Wins?
Nyla Ali Khan
The Political and Cultural Richness of Kashmiriyat
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“It’s Only a Car!”
October 26, 2016
John W. Whitehead
A Deep State of Mind: America’s Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup
Eric Draitser
Dear Liberals: Trump is Right
Anthony Tarrant
On the Unbearable Lightness of Whiteness
Mark Weisbrot
The Most Dangerous Place in the World: US Pours in Money, as Blood Flows in Honduras
Chris Welzenbach
The Establishment and the Chattering Hack: a Response to Nicholas Lemann
Luke O'Brien
The Churchill Thing: Some Big Words About Trump and Some Other Chap
Sabia Rigby
In the “Jungle:” Report from the Refugee Camp in Calais, France
Linn Washington Jr.
Pot Decriminalization Yields $9-million in Savings for Philadelphia
Pepe Escobar
“America has lost” in the Philippines
Pauline Murphy
Political Feminism: the Legacy of Victoria Woodhull
Lizzie Maldonado
The Burdens of World War III
David Swanson
Slavery Was Abolished
Thomas Mountain
Preventing Cultural Genocide with the Mother Tongue Policy in Eritrea
Colin Todhunter
Agrochemicals And The Cesspool Of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes To The US EPA
October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare