Home Minister Sahara Khatun, MP yesterday said the investigation agency to probe into war crimes would be formed by next Sunday or Monday.“We will start the investigation soon. Members of the investigation agency will not be more than five,” she told reporters after a workshop at the auditorium of Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs (BILIA) in the capital.BILIA and Bangladesh Heritage Foundation jointly organised the workshop on “Trends of Terrorism: National and Regional Implications.”Sahara Khatun said the government had already decided to form a tribunal and appoint prosecutors to conduct the trial of war criminals. Academics and security experts at the daylong programme suggested forming law like the Foreign Contribution Regulatory Act (FCRA) of the USA under which the central bank will oversee the foreign funding for the NGOs, banks and other financial institutions. They also strongly recommended modernising madrasa education in the country and build a society free of injustice and discrimination to check militancy and terrorism.“Militant outfits like Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Harkatul Jihad al Islami (Huji) were promoted during the last BNP-Jamaat alliance government,” she said.“But we are determined to root out them as we pledged in our election manifesto,” Sahara said while speaking as the chief guest at the concluding session of the workshop.She said there are no religion or geographical territories for the terrorists and therefore, cooperation at national, regional and international levels are a must.It was the media and civil society that put pressure on the then BNP-Jamaat alliance government to take actions against militants and therefore cooperation between the government and civil society should be strengthened, Sahara said.BILIA Director Wali-ur Rahman said a preliminary research of BILIA and its associate organisations found that madrassas supplied 35 percent of the Army recruits till 2006, which was only 5 percent before the 2001 elections. Most of them came from Kawmi madrasas, he noted.The government must bring the activities of Bangladeshi NGOs and hospitals under regulatory framework like the FCRA through which Bangladesh Bank can oversee sources and objectives of foreign funding.Besides, the government also has to enact laws preventing the political parties from doing business. Islami Bank is a financial institute of Jamaat-e-Islami and it is allegedly funding militants, he said adding such activities must be stopped.
Dr. Syed Anwar Husain, Shahriar Kabir, Journalist Farid Hossain, Shahrukh Rahman, Justice Gholam Rabbani, Architect Shamsul Wares, Sculptor Habiba Akther Papia, Cmdr. Ishfaq Elahi Chowdhury, Ambassador Harunar Rashid, Ambassador Anwarul Masud, Professor Shawkat Ara Hossain also spoke at the workshop.
Member, Bangladesh Heritage Foundation