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Bangladesh: 13 from Pakistan honoured

Wednesday 10 April 2013, by siawi3


The Daily Star, March 25, 2013

Hasan Jahid Tusher

Forty-two years after the Liberation War against Pakistan, Bangladesh yesterday awarded 13 Pakistani friends for their contribution during the war in 1971.
According to the Bangladesh government, these Pakistani nationals raised their voice for the freedom of Bangladesh against all the odds in their home country, which attacked unarmed Bangladeshis on the night of March 25, 1971.
Some of them were sacked from their jobs, imprisoned and tortured for helping Bangladesh.
The Pakistani nationals have been conferred the “Friends of Liberation War Honour”.
They are politicians Begum Naseem Akhter, Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, Habib Jalib, Malik Ghulam Jilani and Qazi Faiz Mohammad; politician and filmmaker Shameem Ashraf Malik; journalists Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Prof Waris Mir; journalist and pilot Anwer Pirzado; human rights activists Begum Tahira Mazhar Ali and Ahmad Salim; lawyer Zafar Malik; and late philosopher Dr Eqbal Ahmad.
Naseem Akhter, a central leader of National Awami Party (NAP), was arrested along with her political associates for holding a rally in Lahore, protesting the Pakistani army’s acts of genocide. On December 16, she visited Bangladeshi students in Lahore jail and celebrated Bangladesh’s victory by distributing sweets and chanting “Joy Bangla” slogans.
Naseem’s husband Shameem Ashraf drafted a statement, protesting the arrest of Bangabandhu and demanding his release. The statement was signed by 44 intellectuals of Pakistan. He and his wife were humiliated socially.
Advocate Zafar Malik was a defence counsel for those arrested on charges of attempting to mobilise action against the atrocities perpetrated by Pakistani army in Bangladesh. He signed a statement along with 43 other intellectuals and politicians, demanding release of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the termination of military offensive in Bangladesh. He had formed a supportive group to press home his demand for the release of Bangabandhu.
Eqbal Ahmad delivered speeches at various US universities to create public opinion in favour of the Liberation War.
Tahira Mazhar Ali organised the first protest rally in Lahore against the genocide in Bangladesh and was arrested along with her associates.
Mir Ghaus, a close associate of Bangabandhu, visited Dhaka in March 1971 and tried to break the impasse over handing over power to elected representatives.
Faiz Ahmed wrote a number of poems on the genocide and the sufferings of Bangladeshi people.
Habib Jalib, a NAP leader, delivered a speech against the genocide and wrote poems on the Pakistani atrocities only to be imprisoned.
Malik Ghulam, who was a vice president of West Pakistan Awami League, wrote an open letter to General Yahya Khan, demanding immediate release of Bangabandhu. He was also imprisoned.