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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 00:40
by Stan_Savljevic

The BDR soldiers were present at Darbar Hall in the morning and said that a group of men in BDR uniforms wearing red, orange and violet masks forced them to take up arms from the armoury. A BDR soldier from Battalion-44 said that they were scared when they heard that two BDR Jawans had already been killed for refusing to comply. Many said the masked Jawans were directly involved in the killings. Many also claimed that the general BDR soldiers knew nothing about any pre-planned conspiracy to carry out the massacre.

Describing the first moments of the mutiny, a Jawan said, “We general solders were waiting for the programme at Darbar Hall to begin. Suddenly we heard gunshots at around quarter past nine. Along with others, we ran away from the Darbar Hall and returned to our battalions.” “Within a few minutes, a group of masked Jawans came over and instructed us over mikes to collect arms from the armoury, saying that otherwise we would lose our lives,” he said.

It was difficult to know who was who as thousands of BDR personnel from 46 battalions of 12 sectors were inside Pilkhana to mark BDR week at the time, he said. The men said that many of them felt helpless when they realised what was going on and they had no option but to flee the compound. They wore plainclothes to avoid being caught, they claimed.

Those who had fled in plainclothes and abandoned their uniforms are now worried about the consequence of their actions. They were also worried about their future. Some Jawans said that right from the minute the mutiny started the Jawans have been under pressure -- first they were forced to take up arms, then they faced possible arrest or shootings as they fled for their lives and now -- as they followed the government order to report back -- they had no clue what would happen to them.

“I have been living in this uncertainty since February 25 though I did not take part in the mutiny. My entire family is worried about my future,” a Jawan from battalion-2 said. Around five thousand BDR personnel in uniform and plainclothes have reported back to duty following the government order, sources said. ... ?nid=78324

The Sh. Hasina govt is slowly on a collision course with the army

Govt to probe anomalies in 100-day job programme
Staff Correspondent

The government has ordered to carry out investigation into allegations of irregularities and anomalies in 100-day employment generation scheme implemented during the army-backed caretaker government involving Tk 1200 crore. Food and Disaster Management Minister Abdur Razzak disclosed it in parliament yesterday while replying to a query of Awami League (AL) lawmaker Major General (retd) Abdus Salam.

The minister said the government decided to investigate the irregularities if any in implementing the scheme. The caretaker government allocated Tk 1200 crore in first phase under the project, he mentioned. “Reports on alleged irregularities in implementing the programme were published in different newspapers and the order has already been given to investigate them,” Razzak said. He said action will be taken if any specific allegation is proved. ... ?nid=78322

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 01:01
by ramana
The BDR mutiny has to be handled with sagacity and fortitude. Looks like quite few BDR soldiers were press ganged into the actions. Each soldier has to be interviewed personally and further course of action has to be determined wheter to punish them or to rehabilate them by cashiering them or retaining in a new force.

At same time the grievances against BDA have to be looked into to ensure no repeats.

The RAB units have to be professionalized to give credible inputs about future disenhantment.

The BD govt has to pursue the trail wherever it leads if they are serious about returning BD to lawful status. Its a good thing there were no summary trials or justice after the BDA suffered such grevious losses.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 01:32
by Vikas
But if BDA does nothing other than twiddling thumbs, what credibility would they be left with. After all in Islamic world, the one with bigger stick rules. Would be interesting to see how BDA strikes back.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 01:35
by ramana
BD's future is to look forward and not backwards like the TSPA.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 02:14
by Vikas
ramana wrote:BD's future is to look forward and not backwards like the TSPA.

But would they ?

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 03:01
by ramana
As I expected....

Bangla to rename BDR March 3rd, 2009 PTI

Dhaka: Bangladesh is to rename and reorganise the paramilitary force, Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), to give it a new look and reorientation apparently to wash away the stigma of the last week’s bloody in which most of its officer cadre were killed by the men.
“The government in principle has decided to rename Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) as soon as possible,” Chief of General Staff of Army Sinha Ibne Jamali told reporters.
The Bangladesh Rifles is a 215-year old force set up during the British rule to guard the countries eastern frontiers. It’s earlier name was Eastern Rifles.
No decision has yet been taken what would be the new name, Mr Jamali said, but discussions are underway to give it a new name suggested by security experts and military officers to help overcome its stigma.
“BDR has earned a permanent stigma. The force is demoralised and will never again regain the pride unless it is renamed after a thorough reorganisation,”
retired Major Gen Moinul Hossain said.
Former president and army chief General H.M. Erashad earlier demanded the dismantling of the BDR in line with military practices of abolishing units after mutinies.
But, the country's top brass want to continue with the force with the strength of over 40,000, but with a new name and a fresh orientation.

Should use this incident to weed out all the polticised elements in both the outfits.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 03:47
by Shafqat
Stan_Savljevic wrote:RayC saab, Shafqat and others, I have a question:
If BDR takes care of the frontier with India, who takes care of the small sliver of a frontier with Burma (Chittagong and Cox's Bazar)? How does the army get any operational training with this background? What does the army do other than UN ops? Would they have been weary to take on the BDR in the immediate aftermath of the mutiny given this deficiency in facing up to the BDR? Hypothetically, if they had taken on the BDR, would nt it have been a long drawn attrition with BDR probably being overwhelmed only due to numbers?
different proposition.

BDR controls the Burma border too - though CHT usually has high army presence. Army is mostly involved with UN and other domestic humanitarian ops most of the time, while the BDR is considered 'battle-hardened' via regular fist fights with BSF. That was the reason put forward by many against any quick combat solutions. But my personal opinion is that, the govt was wary of the fallout on the nearby public as the BDR HQ is surrounded by the urban jungles of Dhanmondi, Azimpur, and Hazaribagh, and also shares wall with Dhaka College and two DU Residence Halls. If fighting broke out, who knows who'd be affected among these people. Another important reason could have been the reaction of BDR soldiers around the 24 sector zones. If they heard that the HQ is being attacked by Army, would they stand still? And was the army prepared to control the fallouts across the country? I believe not! So in retrospect, I agree that the government showed maturity in its response. There are some detailed questions regarding how the BDRs fled, how were the arms brought in and how many were killed when etc ... let's hope we'll soon see more light on these issues.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 05:12
by Atri

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 12:28
by Stan_Savljevic

Commerce Minister Faruk Khan said the barbaric incidents in the BDR headquarters could not divert government's attention from trying the war criminals or executing other agenda. “No conspiracy can cause the government deviate from its desired goals, including the trial of war criminals,” he told reporters after a meeting with the leaders of Bangladesh Bread, Biscuit and Confectionery Manufacturers Association and Bangladesh Auto-biscuit and Bread Manufacturers Association at his office yesterday.

He said the mutiny that claimed lives of brilliant army officials and civilians was not an ordinary incident, rather an evil force was behind the brutality. "The conspiracy is still on to weaken the government….We all should be united in this critical situation," said the former military officer.

Commenting on the reconstitution of BDR mutiny probe body, he said the government excluded two members, including Home Minister Sahara Khatun, to ensure fair investigation. "Findings of the probe body and its relevant facts will timely be revealed for the countrymen to ensure transparency" he added. Denouncing the allegations raised by the opposition, Faruk Khan said: "The extent of loss of life might have been doubled if we had directed the army to carry out attacks." "Many civilians might also face tragic end of their life," he said to the reporters.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has agreed to help Bangladesh in forensic investigation into the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) carnage. Acting Deputy State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid told a regular press briefing in Washington Tuesday that he believed that the FBI would agree to help Bangladesh in investigating the BDR mutiny.

The confirmation come as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on March 1 sought the FBI assistance during the telephone conversation with US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Richard Boucher. Boucher spoke on behalf of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and offered the assistance. Gordon Duguid told the briefing in Washington that they have received a request from the Bangladesh government for the FBI help in forensic investigation into the mutiny. “I believe the FBI has agreed to do that,” Duguid told a correspondent. He, however, could not give further details about when, where and how the FBI will work.

Smuggling thru' Rajshahi border points goes up
Anwar Ali, Rajshahi

Smuggling through the Rajshahi border points have increased considerably due to laxness of border guards in the last few days, said people in the bordering villages. Indian drugs including heroin and phensidyl and clothes are entering the country through the borders in huge quantity, they said. “One has to cross the Padma River twice to go to the Indian border at Char Majardia. There are at least 10 boats at ferry points for carrying smuggled items,” said a villager.

While going to the village at daytime, this correspondent saw some 11 boats at the first ghat (ferry point) on the Padma and 14 boats at the next ghat but only one boat in each ghat was engaged in carrying villagers across the river. Villagers said smugglers use the other boats only during the night. Similar picture is available also at other Padma ghats toward the Indian borders including Sonaikandi, Khar Chaka, Bidirpur and Char Asariadaha.

Five BDR men were seen on duty at Char Majardia BDR camp. Asked about the boats, Havildar Daud Hossain said those boats are used during the rainy season. He denied smugglers' activity on the border. “A section of border guards were always helpful to us. Now anxious about their fate after the incident in Dhaka, many of them are staying inside their camps,” a smuggler told this correspondent during the latter's visit to Godagari.

Mansur Ali, a member of Char Asariadaha union parishad, said Indian villagers with the help of Indian BSF members are taking away crops and grass from Bangladesh fields on Manik Chalk border areas. “Anti-smuggling operations have almost become ineffective,” he said in a tone of disappointment. BOP officials at different borders claimed they returned to their duties as before. “Smugglers have no scope to be active as Indian BSF are on high alert following Bangladesh incident”, said a BOP official. ... ?nid=78296

Coal import thru' Tamabil resumes
Staff Correspondent, Sylhet.

Coal import from the Indian state of Meghalaya through Tamabil land port resumed yesterday. Import of coal through the port remained suspended for three weeks as Indian exporters stopped their export protesting imposition of additional taxes by their government. Their action caused huge financial loss to Bangladeshi importers and left about 2,000 labourers jobless.

After resolving the tax issue with the government, the Indian exporters yesterday resumed exporting coal. Sources said about 150 coal-laden trucks entered Bangladesh yesterday. Coal Importers said about 200 truckloads of coal are imported through Tamabil port everyday. Meghalayan coal has long been used in the brickfields in greater Sylhet region as well as in other parts of the country. Sylhet chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Director Kolondor Ali, said the Indian exporters often create obstacle to importing coal through Tamabil and put the importers in great trouble. ... ?nid=78300

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 16:11
by RayC
I don't understand the rationale of the whine.

If Indian exporters cause problems, then go elsewhere. If the Indians then suffer, then they will stop giving trouble!

Eh bhi wah wah, tan bhi wah wah!

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 22:02
by Stan_Savljevic
Some give and take between the army and Sh. Hasina following the previous report that she was going after corruption strongly...

The government named a retired army officer to be director general at the Anti-Corruption Commission Wednesday. Retired brigadier general Jabed Ali was appointed to the ACC job for two years.

Take the following report with a pinch of salt.

The minister spoke after ruling Awami League MP Hafiz Ahmad Majumder asked for diplomatic initiatives to stop India constructing the dam. He said unless Bangladesh lodged a strong protest right away, India would go ahead with the project. "India has assured us that it will not take any initiative which will go against Bangladesh's interest," Dipu Moni said.

She said Bangladesh did discuss the construction of the Tipaimukh dam with India at bilateral meetings. She said sharing of Meghna waters would be included in the upcoming meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission. Majumder said India had said the issue would be negotiated when Bangladesh protested the construction of Farakka Dam, but the dam was finally commissioned.

"India is going ahead with the (Tipaimukh) project." He said many Indian people are against the project. {That again is a wishful thinking from BD press} India undertook the Tipaimukh dam project over the common river Meghna, known as Barak across the border, a few years back. Environmentalists both in Bangladesh and India have been opposing the project over the Meghna fearing adverse impact on environment. {And some of the vocal ones are like NBA, of course}

Originating in India the river runs through the greater Sylhet before emptying itself into the Bay of Bengal. A good number of rivers and water bodies in Sylhet region are dependent on the Meghna's flow. Bangladesh has repeatedly been urging India to share technical data on the project. But New Delhi is yet to share the data though it diplomatically agreed to provide the same.

Sh. Hasina following along the CTG in the JMB destruction... So far, so good.

7 JMB suspects arrested in Gazipur

Gazipur, Mar 4 ( - Law enforcement agencies arrested seven suspected members of banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh within 24 hours in Konapara, Gazipur, police and RAB said Wednesday. Major Masud Parvez of RAB-1 told Osman Gani (28) and Azizul Hakim (30) were arrested Wednesday morning from Enayatpur in Konapara union.

"A diary was recovered from them with important information," said the RAB officer. The two are from Baghmara in Rajshahi district. Jajydevpur SI Nazmul Islam told another five suspects were arrested Tuesday night. Md. Salahuddin (21), hafej Abu Usuf (25), Ali Hossain (35) Saiful Islam (22) and Jaker Hossain (24) were also arrested from Ambagh in Konapara, he said.

"All five are from Patharghata in Barguna." Quoting RAB officials, Islam said, "The five arrested Tuesday admitted in primary interrogations that they were connected with JMB." RAB handed the five over to Jaydevpur police Tuesday night, said the SI. He said the five were arrested on information from Motassim Billah, a JMB leader who was also arrested in Ambagh on Feb 20.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 22:41
by Rahul M
wow, this link apparently has a mp3 file of the meeting b/w Hashina and the BDA officers. ... hp?t=29225

unfortunately it isn't playing for me but the posters there seems to have no problem.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 23:02
by Rahul M
a scene from the first few days.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 23:05
by Stan_Savljevic
Rahul M wrote:a scene from the first few days.

First few days of what? Afaik, this pic has been floating around for a long time.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 23:05
by Raju

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 23:06
by svinayak
Stan_Savljevic wrote:
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has agreed to help Bangladesh in forensic investigation into the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) carnage. Acting Deputy State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid told a regular press briefing in Washington Tuesday that he believed that the FBI would agree to help Bangladesh in investigating the BDR mutiny.

Has anyone noticed that FBI is in Pak, India, BD, Nepal etc. It is all over the place and they are gathering information which could be used in different ways

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 23:21
by Raju
this trend started a few months ago and since then terrorist attacks have quadrupled in the region.

what regional govts do not realize that if they suspect a transnational player then they might also do themselves some good by being well aware that FBI and couterparts may have links to them as well.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 23:48
by Raju
Rahul M wrote:wow, this link apparently has a mp3 file of the meeting b/w Hashina and the BDA officers. ... hp?t=29225

unfortunately it isn't playing for me but the posters there seems to have no problem.

Rahul, download from megaupload, I am now listening .. lots of bengali being spoken.

Interspersed with madam this .. and madam that.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 05 Mar 2009 01:15
by Stan_Savljevic
Some weird happenings in BD, not that this is new or out of the blue.
A concerted effort of the government and the opposition could help Bangladesh overcome the aftermath of the BDR mutiny, US ambassador James F Moriarty said on Wednesday. Moriarty, after meeting with opposition leader Khaleda Zia, lauded her offer to cooperate with the government to overcome the crisis.

The BNP chairperson and the US ambassador discussed the current situation during the hour-long meeting, he told reporters. Moriarty conveyed the US's sympathy for the Peelkhana tragedy to Khaleda Zia, said her adviser Shamsher Mubin Chowdhury. "The ambassador had underlined the need for the government and opposition to work together so the country's democratic process is not impeded," Chowdhury said. He also emphasised that parliament was the place for discussion, said the adviser.

Some background info on the weirdly named James Moriarty.... A long read

“Diplomatic activism,” if we can call it that, has been key in the recent developments in Bangladesh not least in the installation of the current military-backed caretaker government. So what can we expect in the future? Judging from his recent stint in Nepal, Mr Moriarty is not the type to engage in sensitive diplomacy. Indeed one journalist wrote “Moriarty was to prove very much an American cowboy in a Nepali china shop.” Read “cowboy” as euphemism for stoking conflict, murder and mayhem. As the results favouring the Maoists come in from Nepal, Mr Moriarty - their implacable opponent - must be wondering where he went wrong. The truth is that he never did possess a realistic view of what was possible in Nepal. Mr Moriarty’s CV on the web tells us he has won several performance awards. Perhaps these were won mainly when he was behind a desk in Washington. In Nepal, his performance would have earned him a severe dressing down given the perverse outcome. And hence perhaps his appointment/demotion to Bangladesh.

So what did he do in the last four years in Nepal? And what can Bangladeshis anticipate? Since 2001, with the appointment of Christina Rocca as Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, the USA’s military involvement in Nepal has been considerable. The US pumped millions of dollars into building up Nepal’s security forces. Military exchange programs got expanded, and the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) saw its numbers swell from a pre-2001 figure of 35,000 to 100,000 in 2005 and a projected 150,000 by this year. US military advisers swarmed the place, and the compliant RNA did their bidding from sabotaging peace talks to murdering people in cold blood. Many people believe that US arms support during this period intensified violence and killings of innocent people. John Mage writes:

Mr Moriarty arrived in 2004 and lost no time in engaging in “diplomatic activism.” The infamous killings and destruction of property in Kapilvastu in the Terai by the death squads revealed Moriarty’s political objectives. Earlier this year, another commentator, Mohan Nepali, had this to say about another massacre in the Terai:

“James F. Moriarty visited Nepal’s Terai region (bordering India), met Madhesi leaders and instigated them to take actions against the Maoists. Immediately after this, devastating communal violence erupted in the Terai region. The Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, comprising not only armed robbery, smuggling and kidnapping gangs from both India and Nepal but also political workers and supporters from different mainstream parties ranging from moderate to ultra-rightist views, massacred 29 civilians in Rautahat in March 2007. The massacre is globally known as the Gaur Carnage.”

Moriarty’s job therefore was to stop the Maoists at all costs. Pratyush Chandra, writing in CounterPunch says, “for the US, the main task of the Nepalese politicians must be to eliminate the Maoists, not to bring in a stable democracy. The latter could be just an instrument in this regard. The “authoritarian rule” imposed by Monarchy per se was not wrong, If it had eliminated the Maoists, it would have been declared successful.”

A large number of writers describe how time and again James Moriarty over-stepped the boundaries of diplomacy to pursue these aims. On the eve of the historic April 2006 revolution which humiliated King Gyanendra, Moriarty was machinating to get the Seven Party Alliance to break their pact with the Maoists “and reconcile with the monarch contrary to the spirit of the people” according to Narayan Prasad Wagle. He goes on to state that

“Moriarty’s visits of army camps and frequent speeches about domestic political affairs do not confrom to diplomatic norms and etiquette, and principles of Vienna Conventions on diplomatic relations. The arms deal between the government and the Maoists was unreasonably delayed partly due to the threat of suspension of aid by America if the conditions put forward by it (were) ignored.”

I wonder now that Moriarty has left the country whether he has come to terms with why the Nepalese did not swallow his viewpoint. I wonder if he remembers his words from 2005 when he said the maoists were a “terrific threat” and wanted an “absolutely terrific totalitarian state in Nepal that also threatens the stability of the entire region.” His use of the word “terrific” is a bit strange as the writer Professor Gary Leup noted. He means it in the pejorative sense clearly. (Again according to his CV he speaks many languages including Nepali and Bangla. Some would say he should practise his English more - preferably back in the USA).

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 05 Mar 2009 01:37
by Stan_Savljevic
How many times have we seen an ambassador of another country studying the poll manifesto of either party?
Although Moriarty had studied the AL poll manifesto and praised its content at the meeting, Hasina dwelt on the party’s “Vision 2021″ that speaks of economic strides, of digitising and other modern scientific advancements, and promises to fight corruption in a country rated high on that score. ... 31386.html

During the CTG, Moriarty had many a time criticized the arrest of Begum Khaleda Zia's son and many others on corruption charges. The US is now playing for both the political parties and trying to sideline the army. There is nothing else that can explain why Moriarty had to have a meeting with BKZ when he had a phone call with her right in the aftermath of Pilkhana. He was trying to assure BKZ that the US could help BD and keep the army at safe lengths. Watch this space, this is a complex web with the US actions putting "The Departed" to shame.

Moriarty was openly against the CTG somuchso the following piece turned up a while back.

It is learnt that present rulers in Dhaka are increasingly taking anti-American stand. It was made clear when the foreign office issued a statements following a comment by Geeta Pasi [who was then charge de affaire]. Military backed interim government is looking for new allies. That is why, during the current tour of Chinese foreign minister in Bangladesh, the issue of enhancing defense cooperation between Dhaka and Beijing came very prominently. There are also indications of Dhaka´s refreshed initiatives in boosting relations with Tehran, while everyone in the world are absolutely aware of the fact that Iran is the country, which patronizes global terror.

Anti-american forces such as leftists, communists and notorious Islamists like Hizb Ut Tahrir, Khelafat Majlish etc., are becomingly increasingly active in their notoriety against United States and the West. Government is even planning to hold a planted election to house some minor political parties including leftists, communists and Islamists in the parliament. Authorities in Bangladesh are reportedly delighted to see the victory of Maoists in Nepal. Dhaka is even looking for closer ties with military juntas in Myanmar.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 05 Mar 2009 04:02
by ramana
Again I say its 1965 Indonesia redux. How do we know his didnt confabulate with the BDR backers?

There was movie made a few years ago about how the US orchetrated the Indonesian Army retaliation against the PKI commies. So cant be ruled out when they have an activist ambassador.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 05 Mar 2009 05:08
by anjali

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 05 Mar 2009 13:43
by Stan_Savljevic
What do we have here? Read it again and again...

Chittagong Arms Haul: 4-party bigwigs were in plot, accused say

The process of 2004 botched attempt to transport 10-truck load of arms and ammunition to the United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa) started in late 2001, involving some big time political honchos of the last four-party government, according to confessional statements of two persons accused in the Chittagong arms haul case. The two accused -- Md Hafizur Rahman and Din Mohammad -- also said on Monday afternoon that the huge cache of weapons was being smuggled under the direct supervision of Ulfa leader Paresh Barua, who was residing in Dhaka back then.

Ministries for home and industries under the 4-party government, some high officials of intelligence agencies concerned, and the coast guard were well aware of the smuggling which also involved a former Jatiya Party {HM Ershad's party} MP, and a film director, the accused two said in the confessional statements to the Metropolitan Magistrate Md Osman Gani. In the 10-page confessional statement one of the principal accused Hafizur Rahman claimed to have given the same statement on different occasions divulging the truth behind the case, since his surrender on October 25, 2005.

But, the confession was never recorded, instead the officials concerned warned him against making such statements in the future, threatening him with death as well, sources said quoting from Hafiz's statement. Three others including one Ashik, and one Jewel with a Mongoloid appearance, received the delivery of the arms cache from a ship near Saint Martin's Island, and guided two engine boats, loading them with the weapons, up to the jetty of Chittagong Urea Fertilizer Limited (CUFL) across the River Karnaphuli, said Hafiz. Hazi Sobhan provided the engine boats while Din Mohammad, and another local resident identified as Arju alias Pagla Arju hired the labourers and the trucks from Md Yakub, for offloading and transporting the arms supply, said the sources quoting from the confessional statements of Hafizur Rahman and Din Mohammad.

Hafiz confessed, after getting involved in Jatiya Party, he got introduced to Azmal Huda Mithu, a film director. A month before the October 2001 parliament election, Mithu invited Hafiz to a private event in his residence in the capital, and introduced Hafiz to former Jatiya Party MP Golam Faruk Obhi, and another man named Zaman. Since Hafiz retuned to Chittagong the next day, Zaman kept contact with him over the phone.

Fifteen days into their introduction, Hafiz got a phone call from Zaman, and met him and Obhi in a fast food shop, Wimpy, in Dhaka. Following a proposal from them Hafiz agreed to help Zaman in receiving and transporting 'imports' the latter quite often used to get at Chittagong port. After several months interval, Zaman called Hafiz over the phone again, and met him on the third floor of Rapa Plaza in Dhaka sometime in January 2002, when they talked business.

Since then Zaman was paying Hafiz Tk 50 thousand to Tk 70 thousand a month. At one stage of the increasing intimacy between the two, around a year later Zaman invited Hafiz to his residence in Dhanmondi of Dhaka. In his apartment, about half a kilometre behind 'UITS', Zaman introduced Hafiz to his wife, two children Babu and Aaksah of eight to ten years of age, and another 7-year old adopted son. He also gave Hafiz Tk 80,000 that time.

After paying some Tk 18 lakh in this way, Zaman finally called Hafiz to Dhaka to reveal his real identity in February 2004. "As I met him in Rapa Plaza, Zaman this time around had with him a girl of about 10 years of age. He revealed himself as the Ulfa military wing chief Paresh Barua, and the girl as the daughter of Anup Chetia," said Hafiz in his confession.

Anup Chetia is one of the top leaders of Ulfa, detained in Bangladesh for quite a few years now since his arrest in the 1990s. "Zaman or Paresh Barua also claimed that he looked after Anup's family, while some people of intelligence agencies ensured their safety," Hafiz continued to confess. "On March 23 or 24, Paresh called for me on an emergency basis. I immediately rushed to Dhaka and rented a room in Red Star Hotel opposite Rajarbagh Police Line, and met him in Wimpy again."

"Paresh asked me to help him to transport a delivery of some machinery from a ship anchored in the sea near the Myanmar border near Saint's Martin Island. He also said the goods could not be brought to Chittagong port due to some technical problems. Asked about the required permission from the Bangladesh Navy, coast guard, customs authority, and the CUFL jetty authority, he said the NSI and DGFI chiefs had made all arrangements, and the jetty permission had also already been there, so no body would ask me any question," said Hafiz.

"I returned to the hotel and went to the same restaurant again early next morning. After some fifteen minutes, Paresh came with another person in a white car which had 'on test' written on the registration plate. The man with Paresh was introduced to me as Ashik. He gave me 50 lakh taka in four packets. Then I and Ashik went to Chittagong in the same car. Leaving Ashik in Golden Inn hotel in Chittagong I went to meet Hazi Sobhan, and rented two engine boats for around 13 lakh taka. Sobhan was to keep the engine boats ready near the Marine Academy pier. On March 28, I took Ashik and two other persons including one Jewel from the hotel to the pier in a taxi cab. We reached Saint Martin's Island on the engine boats the next morning. Jewel and the other guy guided the boats following a map."

"Around 10:30 that night a vessel came to our view. We approached the vessel and following directions given by Paresh, Ashik started talking to the captain in English. Following exchange of some codes which sounded like passwords, Ashik was allowed to anchor the boats next to the other vessel." Half an hour later Ashik handed over some papers satisfying the captain of the other vessel and offloading of wooden boxes onto the engine boats started.

The offloading was completed around noon the next day, some 14 hours into the rendezvous, the date was March 30, 2004. "Then the engine boats were re-anchored in the Bay of Bengal near Teknaf until we started back towards Chittagong in the early morning of March 31, 2004," said Hafiz. "I and Sobhan got off the engine boats in Cox's Bazar and went to Chittagong in a microbus."

"As I contacted Ashik who was still with the boats, he expressed fear that they could be robbed or get caught. I talked to Paresh about the fear over the phone, and he assured me that the coast guards would protect and guide the engine boats. I conveyed the message to Ashik. Then I went to CUFL jetty area and made a deal with Arju, who took 9 lakh taka for providing me with some 25 labourers for transferring the boxes from the boats onto the trucks," Hafiz went on.

A vessel was being loaded with fartiliser at the CUFL jetty. But, they asked the vessel crew to move it aside to make room for the engine boats. "I talked to Ashik over the phone and told him to moor the engine boats at the CUFL jetty around 9:00pm," Hafiz said. As it was proving difficult to moor the engine boats due to pitch darkness of the night, lights were flashed from a coast guard vessel to help them moor safely. Transferring of the wooden boxes filled with firearms and ammunition onto three trucks started right away, when Sergeant Alauddin and Sergeant Helal suddenly appeared.

"Replying to their queries I told them that the goods belonged to the government, and had the required permission," Hafiz said. But the sergeants challenged Hafiz's claim, alleging that the goods were being smuggled from Myanmar. "I contacted Paresh over the phone, and he asked me to put Ashik on the phone," Hafiz went on. Following Paresh's direction, Ashik informed the sergeants that the goods were for Ulfa, and they had the required permission from the government.

But, the sergeants were intransigent and insisted on opening the boxes. As they opened them they found the firearms. At that point Ashik urged the sergeants to talk to 'someone' over the phone, and even tried to offer them money in exchange for a safe passage. But, the sergeants refused to talk to anybody other than the erstwhile deputy commissioner (port) of Chittagong metropolitan police.

"When I wanted to know why he didn't tell me about the illegal caches of arms being transported, Paresh told me that he had already talked to DGFI and NSI chiefs regarding the matter." As the offloading continued, a good number of police arrived there by mid-night. "Around 3:00am Paresh Barua phoned me again, and told me that everybody had betrayed him, asking me to leave the spot quietly," Hafiz said.

"I left the spot and went home through the River Karnaphuly. Paresh contacted me later and advised me to stay in hiding." "I found my name in newspaper reports three days later, and the arms shipment was confiscated in the early hours of April 2, 2004." "After charges were pressed against me, I surrendered to the High Court on October 26, 2005."

"I was shown arrested in a pending case, and was interrogated in the Taskforce Interrogation Cell, where I made the same confession as I am making now. But, the statement was not recorded," Hafiz said. "They instead warned me against making such statements in the future, threatening to kill me if I disclosed anything regarding the matter," he added. "I made the same statement when the erstwhile investigation officer CID ASP Mohammad Ismail interrogated me in remand at CID HQ," he said.

"But again instead of recording the statement, I was sent to jail custody. I want a proper probe and a trial of the real criminals in the case. I didn't know that the boxes were carrying deadly weapons and ammunition," Hafiz claimed. The erstwhile director (counter intelligence bureau) of the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) Maj Gen (retd) Rezakul Haider Chowdhury said DGFI had known nothing about the 10-truck load arms haul in Chittagong before its seizure. "After seizing the weapons, the government formed a probe committee headed by the then home secretary Omar Faruk. I was one of the members on the committee. We could not bring out the key findings due to a time constraint," he said. ... ?nid=78433

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 05 Mar 2009 16:27
by Raju
Raju wrote:try this rahul

Did anybody translate this ? Do we have any idea what is being said ?

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 05 Mar 2009 17:24
by Stan_Savljevic
A Dhaka court sent former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar to jail Thursday after his surrender in an arms case in which he has already been sentenced to 17 years in prison. The Supreme Court denied to extend bail of the BNP leader Tuesday and ordered him to surrender to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court, Dhaka. The High Court handed him six months' bail in the case on Oct. 6, 2008. {How did he get bail in the first place?}

The government appealed against the order on Oct. 23, on which the Supreme Court reduced Babar's bail in the case to three months and ordered him to surrender to the trial court. The BNP leader was convicted in Oct. 2007 in the case filed with Gulshan Police Station on June 3 last year.

Pakistan's tour of Bangladesh has been postponed in wake of the attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore, a BCB official said Thursday. Bangladesh Cricket Board media committee chairman Jalal Younus told "The government advised us this morning to postpone the tour and we have acted according to their suggestion."

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 05 Mar 2009 20:09
by Stan_Savljevic
Sh. Hasina rearranging her advisors, the first one has left already

Maj Gen Ruhul Amin, military secretary to the president, has been transferred to Tea Board as its chairman, an official announcement said Thursday. Gen Amin, a former chief of protocol at the foreign ministry, was promoted to the two-star rank and appointed to the Bangabhaban job only last year. Gen Amin's replacement was not immediately named.

Besides, the government appointed Brig Gen (retd) M Jabed Ali director general (DG) of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for two years on contractual basis and Lutfor Raman assistant personal secretary (APS-1) to the president. According to gazette notifications, DG of National Museum Samar Chandra Pal has been made acting secretary of the information ministry. ... ?nid=78536

Satkania camp feels the jolt the next day
Monirul Islam Monu, Bandarban

Newly recruited members of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) rampaged through Baitul Ijjat Rifles Training School (RTS), the only training centre of BDR, at Satkania in Chittagong on February 26, the day after the mutiny. The journalists who went there with the investigation committee headed by an army officer on Tuesday saw signs of destruction let loose by the unruly jawans on 177-acre RTS area.

Earlier on February 27, a group of journalists went there but they were not allowed to go round different areas of RTS. Armed BDR members on February 26 broke open armouries and came out with heavy weapons, the journalists were told during their visit to the RTS. BDR took out ammunitions after breaking open five rooms of the two ammunition godowns.

The jawans burnt a car of Dr Mamun and sprayed with bullets personal cars of two other army officers. The mutineers also shot around 30 rounds of bullets at the residence of RTS Commandant Col Nafis on the compound, broke open the doors, ransacked the house and looted valuables including gold ornaments. Col Nafis was killed in BDR headquarters in Dhaka. His family members were out on holiday.

Members of Armed Police Battalion (APBN) are now guarding the armoury and two buildings for keeping ammunition. Some non-commissioned BDR officers and jawans said the situation at RTS was completely under control on February 25, when BDR members started an armed mutiny at their Pilkhana headquarters in the capital. But following rumour of army heading towards the training centre the next morning, the newly recruited BDR members took control of the RTS and rampaged through the area.

The authorities are now making a list of the looted arms and ammunition. Five newly recruited BDR members went missing after the February 26 incident. Two of them, Belal Hossain and Shahadat Hossain, who returned on March 2, claimed themselves as innocent. Acting chief of the RTS BDR Assistant Director M Harun, however, said the two did not join duty on time and they along with some other newly recruited BDR members have been arrested on suspicion of their involvement in subversive activities. ... ?nid=78439
Something for the other threads and useful for us too

This new method, developed by agricultural scientists at BRRI is a wonderful innovation for Bangladesh. It drastically reduces the water needed for irrigation of our rice crop. The news has been published in all the dailies over the last few days. It represents a valuable breakthrough for our agriculture greatly benefiting the country.

Very simply it does away with flooding of rice fields all the time, which our farmers have been doing over generations. BIRRI recommends that the rice sapling be covered with only two or three inches of water. No water needs be added till the water is all soaked and the field has no standing water and dry. Then again another two or three inches of water be filled on the paddy field. This step is to be repeated for irrigation, rather than keeping the field continuously flooded with high level of water covering the rice saplings as these grow. ... ?nid=78247
BD has trade imbalances with Thailand also...

Bangkok keen to reduce trade gap with Dhaka, Says envoy

Thai Ambassador in Dhaka Chalermpol Thanchitt speaks at a press meet in the capital yesterday, in connection with Made in Thailand Exhibition 2009, a four-day fair to be organised on March 11. The government should conduct a joint study to pinpoint products that would help reduce trade gap between Thailand and Bangladesh, said the Thai Ambassador in Dhaka.

“To reduce trade gap between the two countries, I have proposed to the commerce minister to conduct a joint study to assess some 15 to 20 Bangladeshi products, which would be a hit in the Thai market, and could reduce 5 percent tariff on those items,” Chalermpol Thanchitt told a press meet in Dhaka yesterday. ... ?nid=78494

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 05 Mar 2009 20:55
by Avinash R
'Khaleda Zia govt. behind botched ULFA arms shipment'
Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dhaka (IANS): Senior political leaders along with civil and military intelligence chiefs of then Khaleda Zia government were involved in the botched arms shipment seized at Chittagong port in 2004 that was meant for the Indian insurgent group ULFA, two people have told a court.

The two accused, Mohammed Hafizur Rahman and Din Mohammad, told a court on Monday that the huge cache of weapons was being smuggled under the direct supervision of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leader Paresh Barua, who was then residing in Dhaka, The Daily Star reported on Thursday.

The reported confessions corroborate the Indian allegation that elements in Bangladesh, with direct support from the Zia government, were fuelling insurgency in India's north-eastern region and hosting fugitive rebels.

Rahman told the court that he had actually met Barua, chief of ULFA, along with a 10-year-old girl, who was introduced as daughter of Anup Chetia, the body's military wing chief. Chetia is in detention in Dhaka long after his jail term was over.

The leaders of the Zia government have not been mentioned in the report.

However, the name of Salahuddin Qader Choudhury, owner of the shipping company that owned the vessels that brought the arms shipments from Teknaf on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border to Chittagong port, has figured in connection with last month's mutiny by troopers of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR).

Choudhury, a senior lawmaker of Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), is believed to be close to the former prime minister and in touch with Pakistan's intelligence set-up.

The confession statement, made before Metropolitan Magistrate Mohammed Osman Gani, says that the Zia government's "ministries for home and industries, some high officials of intelligence agencies concerned, and the Coast Guard were well aware of the smuggling."

It also cites Golam Faruq Obhi, a former Jatiya Party MP (who belonged to the Zia-led alliance) and Azmal Huda Mithu, a film director.

In the 10-page confessional statement, Rahman claimed to have given the same statement on different occasions, since his surrender Oct 25, 2005.

"But, the confession was never recorded, instead the officials concerned warned him against making such statements in the future, threatening him with death as well, sources said quoting from Hafiz's statement," the newspaper said.

The operation for smuggling in 10 truckloads of arms was botched as policemen on duty, unaware of the orders from high authorities, challenged the consignment and upon finding arms, placed the seizure on record.

The court was told that Barua, a wanted man in India, went by the name of Zaman in this country.

Rahman gave details of his meeting with Zaman (Barua).

"As I met him in Rapa Plaza, Zaman this time around had with him a girl of about 10 years of age. He revealed himself as the ULFA military wing chief Paresh Barua, and the girl as the daughter of Anup Chetia," said Hafiz in his confession.

"Zaman or Paresh Barua also claimed that he looked after Anup's family, while some people of intelligence agencies ensured their safety," Hafiz continued.

"On March 23 or 24, Paresh called for me on an emergency basis. I immediately rushed to Dhaka and rented a room in Red Star Hotel opposite Rajarbagh Police Line, and met him in Wimpy again."

Rahman confessed to having received money during his meeting with Barua and payments were made to him subsequently as well, totalling Taka 1.8 million ($250,000 approx.).

"Paresh asked me to help him to transport a delivery of some machinery from a ship anchored in the sea near the Myanmar border near Saint's Martin Island. He also said the goods could not be brought to Chittagong port due to some technical problems.

"Asked about the required permission from the Bangladesh Navy, coast guard, customs authority and the jetty authority, he said the NSI (National Security Intelligence) and DGFI (Directorate General of Forces Intelligence) chiefs had made all arrangements, and the jetty permission had also already been there, so nobody would ask me any question," said Rahman in his statement.

Hafizur Rahman and Din Mohammed were detained by authorities after the arms cache was confiscated April 2, 2004.

"After charges were pressed against me, I surrendered to the High Court on October 26, 2005.

"I was shown arrested in a pending case, and was interrogated in the Task Force Interrogation Cell, where I made the same confession as I am making now. But the statement was not recorded.

"They instead warned me against making such statements in the future, threatening to kill me if I disclosed anything regarding the matter," Rahman told the court.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 05 Mar 2009 20:58
by Stan_Savljevic

India, Bangladesh to renew transit, trade deal

Dhaka (IANS): Bangladeshi and Indian officials will meet here later this month to renew their inland water transit and trade deal. The current deal expires March 31. The Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade, aimed at boosting the inland water trade between the two South Asian neighbours, was renewed at a meeting in New Delhi May 1, 2007, New Age newspaper said quoting foreign ministry sources.

Bangladesh proposed inclusion of Ashuganj as a new port of call, especially for easy transport of Indian goods from Kolkata to Agartala through Bangladesh. This proposal was made during the Dhaka tour of India's Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee last month. A Bangladeshi official said before finalising the date of renewing the protocol, the technical committee at a meeting will assess all the aspects of the deal by March 10.

The inland water transit protocol was first signed in 1980 under the bilateral trade agreement of 1980 that facilitated mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of the waterways for commerce, maintaining the river routes within each territories a navigable condition. Later, the protocol was first renewed in 1999, then in 2001 and the last time in 2007. ... 051221.htm

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 05 Mar 2009 20:59
by Avinash R
sum wrote:
"It was a joint operation of the RAB intelligence wing and local RAB 2, based on information from another intelligence agency,


The agency seems to be NSI (National Security Intelligence). check chindu report posted above, mentions the name.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 05 Mar 2009 22:01
by Keshav
Stan_Savljevic wrote:What do we have here? Read it again and again... ... ?nid=78433

Proof of what people have been saying on BRF for a long time. This article's a keeper.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 06 Mar 2009 00:00
by Stan_Savljevic
First useful leads come in... I started bolding facts, but then started giving up. Read the damn article again and again N times....

Carnage plotted at least 2 months back
Investigators cite phone records; so far 100 people's involvement found in Pilkhana killing

Citing telephone records of some suspects, investigators said the February 25 massacre at BDR Pilkhana headquarters was planned at least two months back. Those involved in the investigation said so far they have collected the suspects' phone records for the last two months. “Most likely the networking between them had begun much before that time. Further investigation will shed light on that,” said a high official of a law-enforcement agency, requesting anonymity.

The information obtained in interrogations of the arrested mutineers bears out the 'finding', he added. So far, the investigators have gathered that at least 100 people were involved in the vicious killings of scores of army officials deputed to BDR. “However, this number [of mutineers] could shoot up to 1,000 in the end.”

Another investigator who too would not speak on record said the maximum participation was from Rifles Security Unit, intelligence wing of BDR, a certain battalion and Regimental Police (RP) of the paramilitary force. He said the suspects being grilled have disclosed that plotters who include outsiders had been motivating the border guards against the army officers deputed to BDR. Particularly, the ones who joined the service around two to three years ago had been more involved.

"Some of the mutineers were told that only a few officers would be killed while others were told that none would be killed. The officers would be taken hostage only to be released after the demands are met," the investigator continued. But as the revolt began, things went way beyond their control and an orgy of killings took place.

Investigators believe almost all border guards inside the Pilkhana compound knew that something was going to happen. They said they would not face any major difficulty detecting the border troops now that they have access to the database containing details of the 67,000-force. "Initially, there was no reliable source of information as the mutineers have burnt or destroyed most of the documents inside the headquarters," said an investigator.

A member of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) tasked with investigation of the bloodbath said they are sure the runaway mutineers have taken with them small firearms and grenades. The efforts are on to know the number of missing grenades and firearms. Asked about reports that some mutineers have managed to flee the country by air and through Comilla border, the investigators said they too have such information, but could not yet confirm if it is correct.

The law enforcement agencies and security forces will bring back the suspected rebels to the capital immediately after their capture in the 'Operation Rebel Hunt'. They have a helicopter all ready and waiting to fly the rebels back in the city. Sources in the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) said over 200 suspected mutineers have already been held in custody. Besides, they said, they have also identified the 14 border guards who participated in the negotiations with the government. Of them, five are deputy assistant director (DAD), two havilders, two nayeks, one lance nayek and four soldiers. The sources, however, declined to divulge the names.

Intelligence agencies and committees formed to probe the carnage are working in coordination to help CID come up with a strong chargesheet after investigation. Meanwhile, a Dhaka court yesterday granted a petition for permission to defuse 17 grenades seized from BDR headquarters. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate AKM Enamul Haque passed the order following a prayer submitted by CID ASP Abdul Kahar Akand, also investigation officer (IO) of the mutiny case.

In another development, 22 BDR jawans held in Tangail were shown arrested yesterday in the case filed with Lalbagh Police Station in connection with the mass killings at Pilkhana. Metropolitan Magistrate Abdur Rahim granted the prayer for the jawans to be shown arrested in the case. The IO said the BDR troops have been arrested at different parts of Tangail district for alleged links to the bloody mutiny. The court also ordered that they all be shifted to Dhaka Central jail. ... ?nid=78610

Begum Khaleda Zia fulminating and warning Sh. Hasina to not accuse them, obviously in an indirect tone...
Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Khaleda Zia said yesterday the killers in the BDR massacre were 'foreign spies' and it needs to be known whether they are from 'within the present government'. “I don't believe any Bangladeshis were involved in this killing. {Wow, was she watching TV on Feb 25?} The killers were hired from outside and entered the Pilkhana headquarters in BDR uniform,” the BNP chairperson said while addressing a mourning procession organised by her party to pay respects to all killed in the BDR mutiny.

“Bangladesh is under attack. A conspiracy is going on, that is why unity is necessary now,” she said calling on all people to remain united and alert to safeguard the sovereignty of the country. Khaleda alleged that delays were caused in the name of dialogues during the mutiny to give the killers a chance to escape. She said the BDR incident proves that spies of foreign forces have infiltrated into all sectors of the country and have been launching attacks from 'within'. {And they are from pakisatan, madam, as if you did nt know that already}

Terming the Pilkhana carnage a deep-rooted conspiracy against the security of the country, Khaleda Zia said more serious problems would crop up if the incident is not investigated properly and the culprits brought to justice She warned that 'More blood would be spilled and more damage incurred' if the real criminals are not punished.

“We guessed the conspiracy before the election, even our arrests were part of it to place the army in this difficult position before the people,” the former premier alleged. She said the nation's independence and sovereignty had been affected by this incident. 'The force protecting the borders of the country has been destroyed through outside instigations and a large number of army officers killed -- this was nothing but a deep rooted conspiracy to divide the country, Khaleda said.

She called on the members of the armed forces to show patience and the people to remain united during this tough period of time. The BNP leader also claimed that a huge number of lives would not have been lost if action was taken on time. She also questioned why delays were made and the army was 'prevented' from entering Pilkhana. Referring to the prime minister's meeting with BDR rebels Khaleda Zia asked, “Did you (the prime minister) ask the rebels if the army officers were still alive?"

“People understand the intention behind announcement of a general amnesty without asking rebels about the officers and their family members,” she told the gathering of her party activists and leaders. The leader of the opposition also called on the government to admit its failure and take quick action against the rebels. She said, “We are still ready to respond if the government wants cooperation,” but alleged that the government was not willing to discuss the matter with the opposition.

Expressing her deep condolence at the killing of army officials, Khaleda Zia said the families of those killed should be compensated and properly rehabilitated. Wearing black badges and carrying black flags, hundreds of BNP leaders and activists attended the procession led by its chairperson from the party office at Naya Paltan to the National Press Club at Topkhana Road. ... ?nid=78615

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 06 Mar 2009 00:02
by Stan_Savljevic
Finally, they can find judges for the 1975 murder. If people here in India thought our legal system is effed up, across the border, it is EFFED up.

Bangabandhu murder case may resume soon
Appointment of 2 judges at Appellate Division paves the way, legal experts say

Initiatives are going to be taken soon for disposal of the long-pending Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman assassination case following appointment of two new judges to the Appellate Division. Legal experts say the appointments have paved the way for forming the required three-member bench of the apex court to hear appeals of five condemned prisoners against their conviction handed down by the High Court.

President Zillur Rahman on Wednesday appointed the most senior judges of the HC Justice Shah Abu Nayeem Mominur Rahman and Justice Md Abdul Aziz as judges to the Appellate Division. A gazette notification on the appointments was published yesterday. The judges will take oath of their new office to Chief Justice MM Ruhul Amin Sunday morning, sources say.

The chief state counsel for this case, advocate Anisul Huq yesterday told The Daily Star he will convey the present status of Bangabandhu murder case to the Supreme Court (SC) through submitting a "concise statement" next week, as there is no bar to constituting a bench for hearing this case now. Meanwhile, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said yesterday his office is fully prepared for hearing of the case.

"A possibility has been created for constituting a bench of the Appellate Division for hearing the case. The chief justice will now constitute the bench and then we will move to the court to proceed with it," he said. Of the five sitting judges of the Appellate Division, Chief Justice MM Ruhul Amin and Justice MA Matin had earlier felt embarrassed to hear the case in the HC. Justice Mohammad Fazlul Karim had heard the case and delivered judgment at the HC, Anisul Huq added.

The appeals against death sentence handed down by the HC have remained pending in the SC for about 16 months due to shortage of judges. Lt Col (sacked) Syed Farooq-ur Rahman, Lt Col (retd) Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Lt Col (retd) Muhiuddin Ahmed, Major (retd) AKM Mahiuddin Ahmed (Lancer) and Major (retd) Bazlul Huda filed the appeals with the apex court in the last week of October 2007 as per the court order.

Neither the defence nor the state has made any move for hearing of the appeals since then. A special bench of the Appellate Division comprised of Justice Tafazzal Islam, Justice Md Joynul Abedin and Justice Md Hassan Ameen on September 23, 2007 granted the leaves to appeal filed by the five convicts. The court also asked them to file regular appeals for hearing by October 30, 2007.

District and Sessions Judge Kazi Golam Rosul awarded death sentence to 15 accused on November 8, 1999 and acquitted four others including Taheruddin Thakur. Another accused Khondker Moshtaque was by then dead. The death reference of the Bangabandhu murder case was then sent to the High Court for disposal. On April 30, 2001, the third HC bench of Justice Md Fazlul Karim confirmed capital punishment against 12 and acquitted three others. ... ?nid=78612

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 06 Mar 2009 00:05
by Stan_Savljevic
From elsewhere,

RAB hints at major breakthrough
Thu, Mar 5th, 2009 9:54 pm BdST

Dhaka, Mar 5 ( - The Rapid Action Battalion hinted Thursday at a major breakthrough in the BDR mutiny investigation. "We have something really big to help the CID in its investigation," Hasan Mahmud Khandker, chief of the elite anticrime force, told He would give no further details, but said to "wait and see."

The Criminal Investigation Department joined the investigation into the mutiny after Lalbagh police filed a case on Feb 28 against more than 1,000 BDR members, of whom six were named. Alleged mutiny leader BDR deputy assistant director Touhidul Alam, and four others, arrested Tuesday night, were remanded by CID for questioning the next day. The Feb. 25-26 armed uprising by rebel border guards at their Peelkhana headquarters left at least 62 army officers dead or missing.

FBI, Scotland Yard teams likely next week
Thu, Mar 5th, 2009 11:12 pm BdST

Dhaka, March 5 ( – The FBI and the Scotland Yard teams are likely to arrive next week, the foreign secretary said Thursday. They would provide forensic investigation support to trace some slain army officers who are still missing. "I hope they will arrive sometime next week," Md Touhid Hossain told

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina and foreign minister Dipu Moni sought forensic assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Scotland Yard of the UK following killing of army officers in the BDR mutiny on Feb. 25-26. The army could not confirm the identity of four army officers. US ambassador James F Moriarty and the British high commissioner Stephen Evans had separate meetings with the foreign minister last week.

The FBI and Scotland Yard teams would visit the BDR headquarters in Pilkhana, the foreign ministry sources said. Richard Boucher, US assistance secretary of state, phoned the prime minister after the mutiny and assured her of all possible support to investigate the grisly events.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 06 Mar 2009 00:06
by ramana
I think she or her supporters are at the root of this coup attempt. Thats why she met uncle's dhoot. The investigation will reveal that if its not tampered with.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 06 Mar 2009 00:08
by Stan_Savljevic
A 3 day old piece now makes more sense,

"We suspect some field-level RSU members might have been involved in the carnage and they did not make aware their senior officials," Maj Awal said. "If they informed the blueprint of the conspirators, the incident could not have been so brutal." Sources say a huge number of arms were found under the beds and pillows of the sepoys.

Besides, most of the doors to the arsenal and the office of RSU and all the boxes of the firearms were found broken. Some of the army officials said they suspect the culprits might have left behind various other materials in the ponds. If the ponds are thoroughly searched it could be helpful in unfolding the mystery, they added. Apart from this, personnel from the army and fire service dug out huge ashes from a hole at a place in between Ripoks and Darbar Hall.

Maj Awal said the hole was dug out with the suspicion that it was a mass grave but no body was found there. "But this huge quantity of ashes hidden into the hole confused us," he said. "The CID investigation team would probe it whether the culprits have burned something important and later hid those in the hole."

Moreover, another mystery over the presence of two foreign nationals, a female and a male, inside the BDR headquarters was yet to be unfolded. Witnesses say foreign nationals Tang Yunpeng, 30, and Xang Zhaoua, 28, came out of the BDR Headquarters in the afternoon on February 26. Sources say the reason behind their stay at the BDR HQ could not be known and they also did not make any comment on the condition during the hostage period.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 06 Mar 2009 00:16
by Stan_Savljevic
Has this been posted before, I dont think so..

Commentary: Pakistan still alive in Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Rifles mutiny will be considered by historians an event of significance next only to the military coup by General Ershad in the '80s. That was preceded by the assassination of General Ziaur Rahman and the killing of General Mansur. The officer casualty toll is higher than what Bangladesh suffered in the 1971 war, in which 51 officers were killed. This time the officers were not merely shot, but in many cases their bodies were disfigured. It brings to mind the atrocities committed by the Islamist collaborators of the Pakistan army in 1971 and the massacre of the Dhaka intellectuals a day prior to the surrender at Dhaka. Nor can one forget the massacre of Awami League leaders in jail following the military coup in 1975. The world witnessed the horror of the entire family of President Mujibur Rahman being slaughtered without mercy, including a young child, Russel.

These are particularly hate-filled and hate-inspired crimes and not spontaneous emotionally charged acts. This burning sense of hatred is at the core of Bangladesh politics. On one side are Bangla nationalists who define their nationhood in terms of the Bengali language and culture and an indigenous Easternised Islam. For them, national, cultural and linguistic identity supercedes loyalty to an Arab-dominated Wahhabi Islam. There is a minority of fanatical Islamists conditioned by Wahhabism for whom the Islamic identity comes first. These are the elements on which Pakistan depended to keep East Pakistan subservient to West Pakistan.

Typical products of this conditioning are General Ershad, Begum Khaleda Zia and all members of Jamaat-e-Islami. Though her husband made the first broadcast proclaiming the independence of Bangladesh, Khaleda Zia spent the war in Pakistani military cantonments in East Pakistan, away from her husband. There is a view that even Ziaur Rahman, emerging as one of the four sector commanders leading the Mukti Bahini, was not a person committed to Bangla nationalism but a smart officer who took advantage of the existing situation.

His ambition and his Islamist orientation came to the fore after the assassination of Sheikh Mujib and the reinstatement in important positions of officers who returned from Pakistan after sitting out the Liberation War. There is a belief — widespread among high-ranking Awami League leaders — that General Zia was at least an accessory to Mujibur Rahman's murder, if not an actual conspirator. General Ershad was one of those who stayed on in Pakistan during the entire war and he never professed any loyalty to the ideals of the Awami League.

While the Mukti Bahini of the Awami League fought the Pakistan army with support from India and the international community, a civil war was raging within Bangladesh in which the Islamist collaborators — with the active support of the Pakistan army — carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing, of a magnitude that resulted in a million dead within Bangladesh and 10 million refugees on Indian soil. Many Pakistanis still argue that this campaign had in fact subdued the Bangladeshi freedom struggle and, but for the Indian intervention, with Soviet support, Pakistan would still be ruling East Pakistan. While all genocides after the mid-'70s have been subjected to UN investigation, the Bangladesh massacre is yet to be investigated and fully accounted for. Even the Cambodian war crimes trial on the Khmer Rouge massacres of the '70s has at last begun in Phnom Penh. The dimensions of the Bangladesh killings are so stupendous and are such distant memories that when I referred to those figures in an article post-2000, a young assistant editor of a national daily cut down my figures to a small fraction on the ground they were highly implausible. I had to refer him to the original documents from the period.

Today the Awami League has been voted back to power with an overwhelming majority. The Government has indicated its intention to bring the collaborators of 1971 to trial. This could not be done earlier for two reasons: first, except for one term when the Awami League was in power, for the rest of the period since 1975 the regimes in power in Bangladesh were collaborator-friendly.

Second, the present army leadership, commissioned at the earliest about 1971, is free from the taint of collaborationism. The way in which the army conducted the elections also shows that it has no Islamist, Wahhabi bias.
Its leadership has come out strongly in support of the present Awami League government after the uprising; its own assessment of the uprising's significance does not differ from the government's. The army understands that the uprising was targeted not only at the Awami League government but also at the army which is today against Wahhabi Islamism and collaborationism. The army clearly demonstrated its commitment by hanging those who carried out the serial terrorist bomb attacks three years ago.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has wisely decided to seek US and UK help in the investigation. That will expose the extremist inspiration for this uprising and the likely external support it received. Her government has indicated its willingness to examine the feasibility of transit rights for India through Bangladesh territory and promised to cooperate in the elimination of terrorist camps in Bangladesh and contain the operations of the ISI in and from Bangladesh territory. It is also logical to expect more meaningful economic cooperation between India and Bangladesh. It should be noted that the interim army regime had under consideration many of these initiatives. Thus, for the Islamists, both the Awami League government and the present army are enemies. That explains why a large number of army officers were targeted with such brutality.

Some elements in Bangladesh with deep Wahhabi Islamist roots going back to the 1971 civil war have since then developed strong links with Al-Qaeda or with the ISI. It will be unrealistic to expect that they will give up their jihad after the failure of this uprising. There is a reasonable probability that with the Awami League government and a professional army in place the Islamists will try to make it into a battlefield for spreading jihadi Islam.

The Obama administration is placing increased emphasis on Indonesia and Southeast Asia in its efforts to connect with gentle Islam. Bangladesh is an important transit point for jihadi operations in Southeast Asia. There is a good case for the US, the European Union, Japan, India, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries to support Bangladesh politically, economically, militarily and in terms of intelligence cooperation.

The writer is a senior defence analyst

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 06 Mar 2009 00:20
by Stan_Savljevic
Can someone xlate this from Bengali -- claims that 4 of the BDR folks went to Saudia

I seem to have missed a lot of updates/analyses going on...

March 4, 2009 — Diganta

The India-Bangladesh relationship can take another twist very soon if the truth is uncovered from the Chittagong Arms haul case. On April 2nd, 2004 Bangladesh Joint Forces seized 10 truckloads of submachine-guns, AK-47 assault rifles, other firearms and bullets on tip-off in the largest ever arms haul in an early morning swoop on the Karnaphuli coast in Chittagong. The description says -

"The cache included 690 7.62 mm T-56-I sub-machine guns (SMGs); 600 7.62 mm T-56-2 SMGs; 150 40 mm T-69 rocket launchers; 840 40 mm rockets; 400 9 mm semi-automatic spot rifles; 100 `Tommy Guns'; 150 rocket launchers; 2,000 launching grenades; 25,020 hand grenades; 6,392 magazines of SMG and other arms; 700,000 rounds of SMG cartridges; 739,680 rounds of 7.62 mm calibre; and 400,000 cartridges of other weapons. Most of the arms and ammunition were reportedly of Korean, Italian, Chinese and American make. "

To compare it with the recent Mumbai attacks, I can say that at least ten to twenty similar attacks could be launched using these arms and ammunition. To put it in another way, it can actually arm a small troop of a few thousand people.

There were a lot of opinions and comments floated throughout the country at that time. One editorial in the Daily Star captures some of these. The investigation started almost immediately but there were little progress. The initial report suggested -

"After checking circumstantial evidences, the committee came to the conclusion that three men — Din Mohammed, a labour contractor, Haji Sobhan, proprietor of a trawler, and Hafizuddin, owner of a car found near the Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Limited (CUFL) jetty — were involved in the arms smuggling."

But, the first twist came when Assam CM Tarun Gogoi claimed to BBC that the arms was heading for ULFA (Asom based organization fighting for separate country for Asomiya people). It was at that time rejected by many Bangladeshis as a routine allegation. However, the issue complicated when -

"Chittagong City Mayor and Awami League leader A.B.M. Mohiuddin Chowdhury alleged that Indian insurgent groups ran "at least 50 to 60 camps" in Bangladesh to train militants."

And it was never the same again. A year later, one leading Intelligence Agency confirmed the allegation. Not only that, they also mentioned how the logistics were sent there and how it was heading towards NSCN (Nagaland based organization fighting for separate country for Naga people) and ULFA camps. It also reported that both NSCN and ULFA chief were present when the truck was getting unloaded.

Even after all these, Bangladesh Govt were not interested to take it up seriously. After the regime changed and the Sheikh Hasina led Awami League govt came to power in Bangladesh with an overwhelming win, the case was reopened. A month ago an Indian TV Channel CNN-IBN revealed that they got access to confession document that was supressed by BNP led Govt. The main accused was drawn to court once more a couple of days back.

Hafizuddin, the prime accused, confessed that the Arms passage were made in presence of (and with the help of) Govt officials - including coast guard, NSI and DGFI officials. Hafiz said (translated from Bengali) -

"The trawlers carrying Arms were attacked by pirates just before it entered the channel (entry of the port). Coast guards rescued it. It was difficult to embark at night. Coast guards helped in getting it to the dock."

And about his involvement with Paresh Baruah, the ULFA chief (translated from Bengali) -

"On 29th March, Paresh Baruah told me to unload a trawler full of machinary at St Martins Island. He also claimed that he had talked to DGFI and NSI chiefs about it and there is no reason to be afraid of anyone. … He paid me a sum of 50-60lakh taka (USD 90,000) to get it done. … At the jetty, after a few trucks were unloaded, a couple of civil-dressed Policeman came up. They wanted to see the papers. I called Paresh Baruah. Jewel, the other ULFA cadre present at the spot, challenged them to open up a box and see what's inside. Once it was opened, I was afraid and called Paresh once more. He assured me that he has links in influential circle and he would rescue him. Later, Paresh Baruah told me that everyone has betrayed him."

Neither of these officials acknowledged their involvement. As expected, they denied and said that the accused is making false statements. However, if all these are false, then why was the confessions kept secret so far? The case could have proceeded and the truth would have revealed by now. Why did it require the case to reopen after almost 5 years?

India has long been accusing that Bangladesh has been used for anti-Indian activities, especially with ULFA. Bangladesh has so far denied all these. However, if this confession statement is true, the allegations would be difficult to deny. Sheikh Hasina has promised the countrymen that they will free Bangladesh from any traces of terror. If she is sincere to her promise, ULFA is going to face tough time ahead. As we can see, the ball-game has already changed.

The Daily Star has published the detailed review on the incident. The Headline says - "4-party bigwigs were in plot, accused say". One interesting quote -

"In the 10-page confessional statement one of the principal accused Hafizur Rahman claimed to have given the same statement on different occasions divulging the truth behind the case, since his surrender on October 25, 2005.

But, the confession was never recorded, instead the officials concerned warned him against making such statements in the future, threatening him with death as well, sources said quoting from Hafiz's statement.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 06 Mar 2009 20:41
by Stan_Savljevic
Seems like Sh. Hasina has proof of BNP involvement, what else to read from this... The BNP wants to compromise and wants the AL not to use the Pilkhana outrage as an excuse to kick their butts majorly now that Saka, his cronies and BNP have their hands full in 1) The arms drop to ULFA, 2) Pilkhana massacre, 3) Razakar issue, 4) dishonoring Bangabandhu, 5) Bangabandhu murder case, 6) anti-corruption drive etc.

I love this, cos I can see where this shit is headed --- Anyone remember what happened in 96 and 01 in TN... De javu all over again for me.

Hasina-Khaleda talk may make headway in mutiny probe: Mosharraf

BNP leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain today said talks between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia might make headway in the investigation into the Pilkhana carnage. "The two leaders could sit together in the parliament building or somewhere else. Top leaders of some other parties can take part in it and it should be an open discussion. I believe it will be fruitful," Mosharraf told private television ATN Bangla.

He came down hard on the government saying its recent activities indicated that the government did not want any help from the opposition. "We are ready to help the government, but the prime minister's speech in the parliament attacking our leader Khaleda Zia helped people understand about their intention," the former minister said.

CID almost done with evidence collection

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Police has almost completed the collection of evidence and samples of the massacre at the Bangladesh Rifles headquarters in Pilkhana. Investigation Officer Abdul Kahar Akhand told reporters today that the investigation report could be submitted soon, private television station ATN Bangla reports. "We are almost done with the collection of evidence. We are quizzing people arrested at various places," Akhand said.

Three teams have been working on identifying the people who were involved in killing, committing arson and looting during the mutiny on February 25-26. The CID team has been trying to detect the culprits through fingerprints on the arms, helmets, belts, nameplates and uniforms left by the BDR members. Sources said DNA tests would be done to dried blood at various places in Pilkhana too.

Akhand said they were trying to find out if any other group in addition to the BDR members was tied to the incident. He said it would take time to get more details about the incident. Meanwhile, an army team was digging deep for the position of the BDR personnel as part of its investigation.

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 07 Mar 2009 02:45
by Stan_Savljevic

Grilling on as very few open mouth

So far, only a few of those arrested in the BDR mutiny case have admitted their role in the carnage that left at least 74 people including 55 army officers killed and scores injured on February 25-26. An interrogator said this yesterday, speaking to The Daily Star in return for anonymity. However, for the sake of inquiry, he would not disclose names of the accused who have confessed their involvement in the massacre and other offences committed at the BDR headquarters. Neither would he elaborate on their role.

Investigators are now grilling the arrestees at the Task Force for Interrogation cell for further information about the bloody revolt staged by disgruntled border troops. In another development, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court in Dhaka yesterday placed BDR cook Amirul Islam on a five-day remand. {Was there a plan to poison the army folks? Wow!!} Investigation Officer and ASP Abdul Kahar Akand of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) produced Amirul before the court and sought 10 days' remand. With the cook's arrest at Pilkhana Thursday, the number of people rounded up in the case filed with Lalbagh Police Station stands at 28.

Meanwhile, as the hunt for rebels and firearms missing from the BDR headquarters continued across the country, a pistol and 42 rounds of bullets meant for government use were recovered from the city's Shahbagh area yesterday morning. At Pilkhana, two pistols and 200 bullets of rifle were recovered during a search yesterday. Locals found the small gun and ammunition beside a drain at Shivbari and informed the police. Police suspect those had been dumped by fleeing mutineers.

Abdul Kahar Akand yesterday said there has been some progress in their investigation into the Pilkhana butchery. He said he hopes they will be able to submit their report soon. Talking to The Daily Star, he said, “We have almost finished the work of gathering evidence.” According to sources in the law enforcement agencies, CID is now working to detect offenders through fingerprints on the firearms, helmets, belts, nameplates and uniforms they left before fleeing the scene. Intelligence agencies and probe committees are working in coordination to help CID come up with a watertight charge sheet after investigation.

Spl tribunal after probe reports

The government will form a special tribunal to try those involved in the February 25-26 mutiny and killings at Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) headquarters in the capital only after getting inquiry reports. “At this moment, we can't say anything specifically about formation of the tribunal. Everything depends on the outcome of inquiry reports,” Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shafique Ahmed said last night.

They would take a decision in this regard after going through the inquiry reports, he told The Daily Star when contacted. Explaining this, the minister said nature of the tribunal will vary if BDR personnel only are involved in the mutiny and killings, and if civilians are also involved. Earlier, the government had announced a special tribunal would be formed for trial of the carnage.

Remembering March 7, 1971 --- A.B.M.S Zahur

The month of March is one of the most memorable months for the people of Bangladesh because four important events occurred during this month in 1971. They were postponement of the Pakistan national assembly session on March 3, the famous speech of Bangabandhu on March 7, Pakistan army's treacherous attack on innocent civilians on the night of March 25 and declaration of independence on March 26. Among these most memorable events is the speech by Bangabandhu in the then Race Course (Suhrawardy Uddayan now) on March 7, 1971. In fact, the speech changed the character of the people of Bangladesh and elevated him to new heights of leadership.

To some political analysts the speech raised him to the height of a statesman, and clearly brought together various strands of thought that Bengalis happened to experience at that time. The speech touched the sentiment of the common people of the country so much that it is still heard throughout the country on March 7 every year. In the speech, Sheikh Mujib spoke briefly about the state of Pakistan during 1947-71. To him, it was a period of bitterness, a period of martyrs. He referred to the shedding of blood in 1952, the treachery committed by refusing to show respect to the results of the elections of 1954, imposition of martial law in 1958.

The mysterious postponement of the Pakistan National Assembly session, scheduled for March 3, 1971, resulted in the raising of the flag of Bangladesh in Dhaka University campus. This resulted in fear throughout Pakistan that Sheikh Mujib would unilaterally declare independence of Bangladesh. An eminent politician like Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan stated that Mujib was the last link between the two wings of Pakistan. He pointed out that if Bangabandhu was not allowed to form the government Pakistan would be destroyed.

Truly speaking, by postponing the parliamentary session of March 3, 1971 Yahya destroyed chances for any sensible dialogue with the military junta. Banbabandhu rightly rejected the invitation of President Yahya for a round table conference on March 10. Certainly, he could not step on the blood of the martyrs. At the same time he considered the point carefully that it would not be proper for an elected political leader to take the road to secession. The consideration of such critical and sensitive points indicates his maturity as a politician.

On March 7 the Pakistan army was kept in readiness for pouncing upon Sheikh Mujib and simultaneously start publicising him internationally as a traitor. At this critical stage we found that Sheikh Mujib was an adroit politician fully capable of adjusting to any situation. On one hand, he let everybody know that he was no longer interested in having any link with Pakistan. On the other, he carefully considered a new plan for a parliamentary session on March 25. Thus, Sheikh Mujib showed his political wisdom and sagacity and came out successfully from the dilemma. Sheikh Mujib placed four demands before the military regime. Two of these demands were withdrawal of martial law and transfer of power to the elected representatives of the people. This move by Sheikh Mujib was supported by the people openly and vociferously.

After the conclusion of the discussion with Yahya, Sheikh Mujib disclosed his premonition and told the people that he might not be around to lead them. In that case, people should close down every thing, and starve the enemy of food and water. On March 7, Sheikh Mujib in his own style asked the people to start throwing out the Pakistan army to free the country from the enemies of Bangladesh. This appeal for independence was not much short of declaration of independence. Thus there should not be any scope for ambiguity that Sheikh Mujib considered Bangladesh as an independent nation from March 26.

The way of his declaration was unique. As the greatest Bangalee, his language was well understood by all, literate or illiterate, rich or poor, Bangalees. On the memorable day of March 7, he clearly stated that he was bitterly disappointed by the repeated betrayals and treacheries of Pakistan government and there was absolutely no point in continuing the link with that state any farther.

A.B.M.S. Zahur is a former Joint Secretary.

Bangladesh in the Middle East --- Mamun Rashid

“Middle East” -- the two most favourite words to thousands of young men in Bangladesh. About fifteen years back, a television drama showed a young man, who always kept saying -- “Taka Den, Dubai Jamu” (Give me money, I will go to Dubai). Like that young fellow, each year thousands of young men from rural Bangladesh want to go to their dream destination. Young men from Bangladesh go to the Middle East for economic reliance. Over the years, they send money back home to their families and our country reaps the benefits of these hard earned foreign currencies. In fiscal year (FY) 2007-08 we received $4.97 billion from the Middle East as inward remittances, which is around 6.3 percent of our country's GDP.

My question is, when those young men contribute to the country's foreign exchange earnings, what do we do to facilitate them? What have we done to uphold Bangladesh's name in the Middle East? Why is Bangladesh unheard of in the Middle East? As per the latest Statistical Year Book and sources from the Bureau of Manpower, roughly 3.7 million Bangladeshi workers are currently working in the Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman, which constitutes around 25.3 percent of the total labour force of those countries.

The remittances inflow from these countries doubled from $2.4 billion in FY 2003-04 to $4.97 billion in 2007-08. In the last fiscal year, Bangladesh received 63 percent of the total remittances inflow from the Middle East. Since 2004, remittance inflow from the above mentioned countries increased at an average rate of 20 percent. However, the number of new workers migrating to those countries has significantly declined over the years. In 2007, about 0.2 million workers went to Saudi Arabia from Bangladesh, whereas in 2008, the number has dropped to 0.13 million. The number of new entrants also declined in Bahrain and Kuwait.

Bangladesh, being predominantly a Muslim country, should leverage its relationship with other Muslim countries. Despite what we have seen on the electronic media, about how Bangladeshi workers are being harassed by law enforcers in those countries, my UAE experience reveals that often Indian or Pakistani criminals are passed on as Bangladeshis. According to an Indian taxi driver in Jeddah, the crime list suggests Yemenis, Pakistanis, Philippinos come before Bangladeshis, if not some other countries too. Even then, Bangladeshis face hurdles in getting “transfer visa” (in fact this is closed now), they are not being paid regularly or arrested by law enforcing agencies all of a sudden. New visa issuances have almost stopped in all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

Our foreign missions should be responsible for ensuring safety, security, well-being and respect of our workers. They should play an active role to make sure that our workers are paid at par in the foreign market and are aware of their rights. Till now, our country depended on the success of the manpower agencies. However, the prevalent malpractices and fraudulent activities of these agencies do not guarantee safe migration. Post 9/11, the movement of workers was affected all around the world. If foreign countries feel threatened, it will not bring any good for us. However to resolve these issues, we need to develop a trustworthy, stable, and long-term relationship with our partner countries, especially with their upper echelon in the Middle East.

There is also a need for efficient banking and investment services. The workers need secured and low cost fund-transfer services. In Bangladesh, a low share of remittance enters through official channels, largely due to the migrant workers' lack of knowledge on the formal sector and the time and cost involved in channeling money through the formal sector. Bangladesh Bank has taken several measures over the years, like competitive exchange rates, fixing a time limit for remittance transfer or credit to the beneficiary's account, allowing expansion of exchange houses and correspondent banks, and encouraging banks, which facilitated the growth of remittances inflow.

We still have a long way to go in terms of automation and building technological infrastructure. We may also facilitate alternate distribution channels by including the MFI's into the remittance grid. Added to these, come efficient and effective guidance at the departure counter (having a bank account number or at least 2 weeks of formal training, can also be included as mandatory documents by the immigration department) in the airports. We need to remember that Bangladesh has mostly been a low skill manpower exporting country, while our neighboring countries (India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan) were able to send workers at mid to high skill levels. Hence, it is time that we raise our level of expertise if we want to make our presence felt in the Middle Eastern and enter the next trajectory of employment.

Now let's get into the issue of Bangladesh not being heard off in the Middle East. In late January, a regional head of a large global bank told me, “Despite being a predominantly Muslim country, I wonder why Bangladesh is not even mapped in the Middle East or considered as a destination for Middle East investment.” Similarly, a senior executive in a Saudi Bank explained why they bought a bank in Pakistan, and not in Bangladesh, or why their board feels that Pakistan will by all means come out of the mess.

Being a Muslim country, while Pakistan was able to attract the large sovereign funds of the Middle East based institutional investors; Bangladesh could not convey the message to those investors that it also has immense potential to be an Islamic financials destination. Hence, we should develop country specific strategies and policies to promote Bangladesh in the Middle East. The government may appoint a special adviser, whose role will be to strengthen the relationship with the Middle East and capture the highest possible benefit from the GCC countries. The key to success is “Effective Relationship Management”.

The writer is a banker and economic analyst.

Parliament building to get heightened security

Dhaka, March 6 ( – Parliament secretariat has decided to shore up security at the parliament building and the complex after security concerns raised in the wake of the bloody BDR mutiny. The decision was taken at a meeting Friday with speaker Abdul Hamid in the chair. The meeting formed an 11-member committee, headed by deputy speaker Shawkat Ali, to review the parliament building's longer-term security arrangements.

"The MPs will have to enter parliament building through a carefully-monitored archway so that no intruders can get through the gate," Ali told after the meeting. He said, no cars including those of the ministers and MPs will be allowed to be parked in the tunnel close to the parliament building. "All cars will go to the parking area and no gunman of the VIPs and the VVIPs will be allowed to enter the parliament building."

He said the meeting discussed the possibility of prohibiting the visitors to use mobile phones inside parliament building. "But we will discuss the issue at our next meeting Monday," said the deputy speaker. The committee will meet again at 11am Monday. MPs now enter the parliament building through an archway but influential people very often enter the House using the archway defying security men's protests. Drivers of the most ministers and the MPs park vehicles inside the tunnel, hardly 20 metres from the parliament building.

The parliament building endured an arson attack in April 2006. The chief whip, additional secretary at parliament secretariat (legislation), a home ministry joint-secretary, serjeant-at-arms, one member from such agencies as the National Security Intelligence (NSI), RAB, DMP, special security force (SSF) and special branch (SB) of police will also sit on the committee. Whip Noor-e-Alam Chowdhury Liton, directors general of RAB and NSI, one representative each from the DMP, the SSF and the SB attended the meeting.

Tightening the screws....

Corrupt of BNP govt will be prosecuted: Nahid

Khulna, March 6 ( – Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid has said his government will bring the corrupt of the former four-party alliance government to justice. Some bigwigs of that coalition government pillaged the country's assets and people's money, Nahid said Friday at the mayor award distributing programme at Shahid Hadis Park. The minister said the higher education system needed to be upgraded to global standards, "otherwise we will lag too far behind the outer world". He declared that the government would establish technical education institution at every Upazila. More than 20 persons received mayor award with a certificate and Tk. 5000 in cash each for their outstanding performance in seventy different categories.

And the whining from BNP continues... Did they offer an all-party probe for the 500 simul bomb blasts by JMB?

BNP wants all-party probe headed by ex-CJ

Dhaka, March 6 ( – BDR bloodbath mystery can only be unravelled {read, covered up} by an all-party inquiry committee headed by a retired chief justice, BNP policymakers say. "It is not possible to conduct a neutral probe with the government's re-constituted probe committee. Rather, it will be acceptable to all {read, us} if a former chief justice heads a probe committee," said former law minister Moudud Ahmed Friday. He suggested that, the all-party committee will also have representatives from the civil society, army and BDR. {And in which country does the accused gets a say in the probing organization? How do we define civil society, ahem, BNP?! And are nt the army probing this incident already, so whats this non-sequitur?}

"It was a deep-rooted plot against independence and sovereignty of the country. The government should seek out the perpetrators through a 'proper probe'." He said, the government has formed an inquiry committee firstly by the home minister and later by a former secretary; both are constituted by the government. It is not possible for them to be free of any influence from the government in such an investigation, he argued. {Wow, what circular logic, and AL won an overwhelming majority not more than 2 months back}

Another policymaker, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain alleged, the government does not want to take any assistance from the opposition even in such difficult times. {Sounding very paki-like :(( :((} The government should have consulted the opposition leader after the carnage, "but the prime minister did not do that". The former health minister said the mutiny was plotted to destroy the armed forces and BDR {by us, of course}. It is a bigger threat to the independence and sovereignty. It must not be belittled in any way. "And so, we want a just probe so that the real perpetrators are identified and their severest punishment is ensured."

Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Posted: 07 Mar 2009 05:57
by himadri
Stan_Savljevic wrote:Can someone xlate this from Bengali -- claims that 4 of the BDR folks went to Saudia

Stan there is not much detail in that article which isnt known, except bursts of emotions and sympathy for Hasina. I have translated the text here, apologies for all the spelling and grammar errors.

In VIew of Economist: Shek Hasina has come out of danger

Manabzamin Desk: When the dead bodies of 56 army officers were being discovered from mass graves and city sewarage as aftermath of BDR mutiny on 25th and 26th, the history of the conspiracy has been unfolding since then. An international pereodical Economist states this in an article titled "Bangladesh after the rebellion: bad or mad?'. In a sub-header to the above mentioned title, "Sheik Hasina has a good mutiny", it has also been stated that, BNP-sympathetic angry nationalists of the country had put blame on India for the wake of BDR mutiny at the BDR headquarters and BRD camps spread all over the nation. Also some theorize that Awami League was involved in the mutiny as they wanted to disassociate BDR with its 45,000 members from the clutch of army to build a private political army for itself. Some also put blame on army who were involved in more than a dozen of act of rebellion in the short period of history of Bangladesh. In contrast to that the Indian press raised finger to Pakistan. Irrespective of the cause, India wants a good relation with 2 months old Sheik Hasina Wazed's Awami League government. But there has been found no proof for all the above theories. In this situation, the kind of explanations come to mind- are that few hot tempered gunned people's incoherent and thoughtless plans gave rise to this inhuman killing of 74 people with 2 army officers and their wives. A few thousand BDR members started opening fire during or after their scheduled meeting with their supreme officers. At that time BDR members expressed their long standing discontent on the issue of getting lower salaries. As a result the scheduled discussions in the meeting room were disturbed by the presence of many BDR personnels armed with automatic rifles. Within one or two hours of this, most or all of the army officered who were later found dead were killed. But a large group of the mutinieers and their "scared friends" kept on their blockade for another 30 hours, even though the government hailed them to surrender their arms. Seik Hasina promised them of mass amnesty. But only when the army sent tank units and Seik Hasina threatened to use force BRD surrendered arms. The handling of the whole situation has increased the reputation of Seik Hasina. Not long ago the caretaker government backed by the army had put her behind the bars for several charges of corruption. She has every right to be afraid of the army generals. Even then she had been supporting the army all along in this incident. When the army officers are furious over the death of their colleagues-especially during excavations of mass graves - she announced that the arrested 5 and the rest of the masterminds will never be forgiven. But the hope that the political parties may go beyond their usual mud slinging attitude in this juncture, is not real any more. During the mutiny BNP went forward to support the government but in this week they are back in the track, they have also demanded resignation of home minister. In effect when Sheik Hasina warned people of more bloodshed, " the game is afoot and the mutineers are not inactive" on 3rd March she actually had pointed at her political rivals.