A special tribunal in Bangladesh has sentenced to death the second senior leader of the largest Islamist party for his role in the killings during the nation's independence war against Pakistan in 1971.

Mir Quashem Ali was in the dock as Judge Obaidul Hasan read the verdict in the packed courtroom in Dhaka, the capital. The 62-year-old Ali is a member of Jamaat-e-Islami party's highest policy making body and he is considered to be one of top financiers of the party.

Last week, the court sentenced to death the party's leader, Motiur Rahman Nizami, for the 1971 war crimes.

Bangladesh accuses Pakistani soldiers and local collaborators for the deaths of 3 million people during the nine-month 1971 war.