The move by the Bangladesh Parliament to amend a law to appeal against the judgement granted by the court, in order to turn it from a life sentence to a death sentence, shows that old bitterness dies hard. The wounds from 1971 still have a long time to go before they heal. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s term has had as its focus the redressal of the wrongs committed against East Pakistan of the time. Those who have genuinely dissented and those who turned to violence and killing against the Bengali community appear to enjoy no distinction. Democracies all over the world allow for freedom to legitimate political dissent and there is no reason why Bangladesh should not do so. Criminals of the war crimes should be punished but they should not be denied the right to a fair trial through partisan lawmaking or state manoeuvres to prove the innocent guilty just to satiate the bloodlust of a vengeful government.

At the end of the day, Dhaka could do well not to dredge up the relics of the war. Hatred will breed more hatred. Instead focus ought to be on building ties with Islamabad that has sincerely been expressing its wish to foster a lasting relationship with the Bengali people.