Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
As the entire nation is celebrating the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation, every patriotic citizen of the country certainly wants to know – where are the self-proclaimed fugitive killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
According to media reports, none of the five convicted fugitive killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman hiding abroad could be brought back home in spite of the government’s special efforts.
Intelligence sources claim, only two of them so far could be traced in two North American countries, but the Bangladesh government has yet to find out the whereabouts of the other three despite efforts made through diplomatic channels, intelligence and Interpol.
The government insists on bringing the five fugitives back to the country and have them face justice and it a top-priority issue.
On November 19, 2009, the Supreme Court upheld a High Court verdict, confirming capital punishment of 12 people, including the six, for killing the Father of the Nation and most of his family members on August 15, 1975.
The five fugitives are: Col (dismissed) Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Lt Col (relieved) Shariful Haque Dalim, Maj (retd) Noor Chowdhury, Maj (retd) Rashed Chowdhury, and Risaldar Moslehuddin Khan.
According to information, Maj (retd) Noor Chowdhury is in Canada, while Maj (retd) Rashed Chowdhury is in the United States.
Bangladesh authorities have been deeply engaged and continued discussion with the US and Canadian government about extradition of the two self-proclaimed killers. But until now, none of the countries have agreed to Bangladesh’s request because of “legal complexities”. Government has repeatedly asked the US government to extradite Rashed Chowdhury, cancelling his political asylum.
Maj (retd) Noor Chowdhury is in Canada without any legal papers. The country has so far refused to deport him, as its policies do not approve sending back a person to a country that has the provision for death sentence. According to official sources, Canada, however, did not accept Noor’s application for political asylum. In 2011, the Bangladesh government appointed a Canadian law firm to help the government bring back Noor.
Noor is the culprit who shot Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dead.
Commenting on the extradition of this nefarious killer, an eminent lawyer in Canada said, “the matter should be pushed much expeditiously. Bangladesh can appoint influential lawyers such as Dr. Irwin Cotler, who has served as the Law Minister in Canada. Moreover, there also should be efforts in creating public opinion in favor of extraditing Noor, through a massive campaign in the Canadian media.
Back in 2010, a task force was formed with ministers and officials of different ministries to efficiently persuade the case of bringing back those fugitive killers of Bangabandhu.
Sources at the Prime Minister’s office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, there was constant contact with the US Department of State as well as Department of Justice for deportation of Rashed Chowdhury. Since Donald Trump in 2016 declared that no criminal would be allowed to stay in the US, there was a bright prospect of getting Rashed Chowdhury extradited.
According to credible sources, Rashed Chowdhury is living in the US with a fake identity. Sitting in the US, he has been constantly maintaining communication with Pakistani spy agency Inter-Service Intelligence, while he also is enjoying patronization of several pro-Jamaat organizations in the US.
It is further learned that a former Bangladesh ambassador in Washington during the tenure of the pro-Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) gave a nod to the US administration at the instruction of BNP’s Tarique Rahman. Following this nod from the Bangladesh envoy, the US government granted Rashed political asylum.
Although the US administration did not disclose details about Rashed’s political asylum, it is learned from credible sources that the asylum was granted in 2006.
Bangladesh came to know about Rashed’s status only when US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat in August 2015 officially informed Dhaka that Rashed was in the US after securing political asylum. Until that time, the US, which had long been assuring Bangladesh to consider the extradition of Rashed, apparently suppressed the information.
Until now, intelligence agencies in Bangladesh were thinking Shariful Haque Dalim might be in Pakistan, Libya, or Spain, in reality he has been living in Pakistan’s Lahore city for many years with a false name. Pakistani intelligence agency reportedly has provided him with three different passports. In one of the passports, Shariful Haque Dalim is named as Musharraf Anwar Butt.
On the other hand, Khandaker Abdur Rashid left Libya immediately after the fall of Gaddafi and is living either in Uganda or Nigeria with a passport issued by a Caribbean country.
Risaldar Mosleh Uddin though was seen in different European countries at different times, reportedly is shuttling between Lebanon, Morocco and Ukraine – again with a Pakistani passport.