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Nizami’s only sin was upholding Pak’s Constitution: FO

Amid a diplomatic row with Bangladesh, Pakistan today expressed its “deep sadness” over the execution of chief of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami Motiur Rahman Nizami, saying his “only sin” was upholding the Constitution and laws of Pakistan.

“Pakistan is deeply saddened over the hanging of the Ameer of Jamat-e-Islami Bangladesh, Mr. Moti-ur-Rehman Nizami, for the alleged crimes committed before December, 1971,” Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement.

“His only sin was upholding the constitution and laws of Pakistan,” the statement added.

It said that “the act of suppressing the opposition by killing their leaders through flawed trials is completely against the spirit of democracy”.

“The execution is also unfortunate for the people of Bangladesh who had elected Mr. Nizami as their representative in the Parliament,” it said.

Pakistan said that the execution was against the Tripartite Agreement of 1974, involving Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, under which the Bangladesh “decided not to proceed with the trials as an act of clemency”.

“The Government of Bangladesh therefore should uphold its commitments as per the Agreement,” the FO said.

Tensions between the two countries flared after Pakistan expressed “deep concern” over Bangladesh’s Supreme Court verdict handing down the death penalty to Nizami for atrocities committed during the 1971 Liberation War, prompting Dhaka to ask Islamabad on May 8 to refrain from interfering in its internal affairs.

The matter escalated the next day when Bangladesh summoned the Pakistani high commissioner in Dhaka to lodge a protest over Islamabad’s reaction.

In the statement today, Pakistan said since the beginning of the trials, several international organisations, human rights groups and international legal figures have raised objections to the court proceedings, especially regarding fairness and transparency, as well as reported harassment of lawyers and witnesses representing the accused.

The international community has objected to the steps taken by Bangladesh government to impose restrictions on the independence of judiciary.

Pakistan also offered condolences to the bereaved family members and the followers of Nizami.