Indicating BNP founder late Ziaur Rahman and incumbent chief of the party Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said the patrons of war criminals should also be tried for their crimes during the 1971 Liberation War since she believes the formers are equally guilty.
Both Zia and his wife Khaleda had appointed multiple ministers, who had later been convicted guilty for their crimes against humanity by a special tribunal, in their respective cabinets.
"We have held the trial of war criminals and executed the court verdicts. I think it's necessary to equally try those who rewarded the war criminals, gave the national flag to their hands and made them ministers in independent Bangladesh," Hasina said while addressing a discussion in Dhaka.
The prime minister continued: "The war criminals carried out the genocide. But those who patronised them, made them ministers, MPs and created scope for them to do politics are equally guilty."
Awami League organized the program at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre marking the Genocide Day, March 25.
Hasina said the trial of those who had directly been involved in genocide will continue. "There is no mercy for them. They must be tried. And hatred will also be vented on the patrons."
She said no genocide with so severity was committed in any other country across the world where so many people had been killed in a short time. "There is no newspaper in the world that did not carry the news of this genocide."
Coming down hard on BNP Chairperson Khaleda for expressing doubt about the number of martyrs in the 1971 Liberation War, she said: "I feel surprised when some political leaders in our country, even Khaleda Zia, say that three million were not killed (during the Liberation War)."
Khaleda thinks so as she is habituated to killing people, Hasina said. "Her husband had killed people and she is killing them as well."
About parliament's adoption of a resolution in 2017 to observe March 25 as Genocide Day, she said they took the decision so that the nation and next generations do not forget the misdeeds of the Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators, including Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams, who committed the genocide in 1971.
The prime minister said they must establish Bangladesh as a dignified country in the world. "Bangladesh will have to go ahead upholding the status of a developing country."
She said the centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of the country's independence will be celebrated in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
"Bangladesh will surely be a hunger -and poverty-free country during the two celebrations and a developed and prosperous one in South Asia by 2041."
"We will be able to take revenge of this genocide when Bangladesh will be a hunger -and poverty-free, developed and prosperous country," she added.
Ruling party leaders Obaidul Quader, Tofail Ahmed, Amir Hossain Amu, Matia Chowdhury and Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, among others, addressed the discussion presided over by Hasina, also the Awami League president.
The Pakistani occupation forces carried out the brutalities and cowardly attacks on the unarmed Bangalis on the black night of March 25 in 1971.
The day is being officially observed as Genocide Day for the second time in the country after the parliament unanimously adopted a resolution on March 11, 2017.