October 2007


Anyone who is following the events surrounding government forced split in BNP will know of the following events that happened yesterday and was in the news today. Yesterday’s events as they were published by most of the print media and reported by electronic media are:

1. Khondokar Delwar Hossain could be traced back at BIRDEM hospital and surprising every quarter, he remained as defiant as before. He claimed his legitimate authority as Secy general of BNP and termed the formation of the turncoat faction with Saifur Rahman and Major Hafiz as illegal. BNP office secretary Rizvi Ahmed had a press conference today and he categorically termed the Saifur- Hafiz fraction illegitimate.

2. Major Hafiz claimed the authority of the party citing that party constitution is not applicable all time. This turncoat faction also sent a team to EC to record their claim of the EC invitation of dialogue.

3. As a part of continuing suffocating pressure on Khondokar Delwar Hossain, who remained almost isolated and confined at BIRDEM hospital today, expectedly his son Paban was arrested in weapon and Yaba charges.

Most of the newspapers except two major dailies reported all the news mentioned above. Two dailies, the daily Star and Prothom –Alo reported part of the news.

anam.jpgmatiur-rahman.jpg

Today’s edition of the daily Star had three banner headlines on this matter. Their first headline was “Saifur-led BNP all set to get EC nod. Given assurance to use party HQ, symbol”. This reporting was clearly an attempt to create an environment in favor of their wishful thinking reporting. Their second banner headline was, “Infamous Paban Captured.” The report started this way, “Akhter Hamid Paban, son of immediate past BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain, was placed on a two-day remand yesterday in an arms case”. In this rather long reporting Daily Star printed a long chronology of unsubstantiated allegations against Khondokar Delwar Hossain family and Paban, trying to depict him as the worst of the worst criminal. Surprisingly in this long reporting there is absolutely no mention of possible connection of Paban arrest and pressure on Khondokar Delwar Hossain to resign. and not to mention Daily Star qualification of Delwar Hossain as immediate past general secretary. In their 3rd first page report, a headline quoted Hafiz, the acting Secretary of turncoat faction as saying “BNP to go to power with Saifur at helm: Hopes Hafiz”, and gave extensive coverage to Hafiz press conference and reported a little bit about Rizvi press conference in the same reporting.

On the other hand Prothom-Alo went one step further. It had only two reports. One, again about creating an environment favoring EC recognition of turncoat fraction, is on Hafiz’s demand for EC recognition. The other is definitely the first page headline reporting of Paban’s arrest with plethora of unsubstantiated allegation against Khondokar Delwar Hossain family. In this reporting, as in Daily Star, there was not a single mention of the possible connection of this arrest with Khondokar Delwar Hossain’s refusal to give in to the demands of a military intelligence agency. And there was total blackout of any news about Khondokar Delwar claiming legitimate authority of BNP and Rizvi’s press conference declaring Saifur led faction as illegal.

Reading these two newspapers makes me wonder what kind of journalistic teaching these two editors had and what kind of standard they are creating? Why such a blind partisanship towards this military government? What favor really they want in return?

During 36 years of independence we have seen how successive governments have hired street thugs to disperse opposition processions, ransack meeting places, blockade opposition leaders’ trips or harass opposition activists. Now a days what these two editors are doing to harass opposition political leaders, weaken opposition political activism is little different from what those street thugs did in the past for their political masters.

Saudi Arabia executes 3 Bangladeshis
Agence France-Presse . Riyadh
Three Bangladeshis were beheaded in Saudi Arabia on Friday after being convicted of robbery and sexual assault, the interior ministry said. Thakeer Abdul Rahman, Tafeel Abdul Rasheed and Nayoon Jowley were executed in the kingdom’s capital city Riyadh for breaking into the home of a fellow Bangladeshi, robbing him at knifepoint and sexually assaulting his wife, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

Many questions come to my mind,

1. Did they really do the crime? There have been many allegation that local Saudi’s crimes are usually covered by scapegoating poor illiterate foreign workers.

2. Did they get a lawyer to represent them? Was there any appeal process?

3. Did Saudi Government bother to notify the family of those convicted or at least Bangladesh government? Isn’t it a diplomatic norm to notify the country whose citizen are being executed?

4. Where was Bangladesh embassy? Did they know of the case? What did they do to legally represent them?

5. Howcome no Bangladeshi media knew of it until after they were beheaded?

6. The three names sound too strange to be Bangladeshi names. Waht is going on?

7. How these three poor souls felt while waiting death in a solitary chamber in a Saudi jail? Could they communicate as Saudi criminal system runs in arabic only? Did they long for their long left green village, the little river while awaiting death? Did they get some rice and daal during the weeks awaiting death?

8 Did any Saudi cheer in joy when these three were lined up in a public square in Riyadh and being slaughtered?

[Stop the Barbarism. Say No To death penalty]

BNP Secretary general Khondokar Delwar Hossain was threatened to be killed by intelliegence agency officials on Sunday evening. This threats were confirmed to the press by Major Akhteruzzzaman. While Kh delwar was seen busy in party activities until Sunday, he was suddenly reported to be admitted in BIRDEM Hospital on Monday morning and he is now even missing from there. Reports have been flying around that he may have been kidnapped by military intelligence agency DGFI agents. A commenter just posted this appeal in this blog,

I’ve chance to talk with a close relative of KDHOSSAIN. His and his family’s life under danger!!! Pl. raise your voice. Brig. Amin and Fazlul Bari of DGFI repeatedly treatened him to kill through medication/injection and also threatened to kill all memebers of his family. Pl. let human right commission, international organizations know this matter. PL. HELP HIM AND HIS FAMILY!!!

Also missing is another senior outspoken BNP leader Brig General Hannan Shah. It is not yet clear what is the fate other BNP leaders who dared remain vocal during this bad time. Rizvi Ahmed is prominant among them.

The military junta in Bangladesh has crossed all the limits of decency. It is about time a resistence begins.

Look what they have done to my country!

What was going on behind a veil of decency has finally exposed its’ ugly face.

This military crony desperately needed an exit partner. They tried many ways. Their plans failed one after another. Latest we saw was an attempt to rob two leaders, Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia of the leaderships of their parties and implant some turncoats and agents of the current Military government. That plan was gloriously defeated by the grassroots activists and mid level leaders of the two major political parties. After the efforts to take over BNP and AL failed miserably, the defeated forces kept trying.As a result, we see a Tofail Ahmed led AL delegate for EC which will have turncoats like Abu Sayeed, Manna etc. While Sazeda Chy got implicated in corruption case and another dissenting voice, Motia Chy remained suspiciously silent lately.

And in BNP,  recently a new conspiracy started in the name of unity. Mannan Bhuiyan kept struggling to serve his masters after horribly flunking the initial attempts to hijack BNP. Talks on party unity started. Certain newspapers ( prothom Alo at forefront) started driving the process of somehow installing Mannan Bhuiyan/ his crony as the Secy general again. Per their wishful thinking AKA reporting, “Delwar was doing badly, he was not popular at all, he had other problems etc and there was a strong demand from the grass root to re-install Mannan Bhuiyan… etc. “BNP Secy General Khondker Delwar Hossain started facing intimidation. Protom Alo started re-reporting his and his son’s alleged crimes. Delwar Hossain and his family were barred from performing prayers at Shahjalal shrine at Sylhet. This intimidation coordinated with shrewd invasion tactics by Mannan bhuiyan group was, however, not sufficient to take control of BNP. Kh delwar was holding the fort with quite a resolve (It is clearly evident how prudent was Khaleda Zia’s decision to fire Mannan at the last moment and install Delwar).

With the date of EC sending a letter to mainstream BNP coming closer, the turncoats and their backers got more and more desparate to somehow snatch BNP. The latest, as reported by BDNews24.com, was a direct government threat to Khondker Delwar Hossain to attend a meeting at Saifur Rahman’s house and hand over party to Saifur Rahman and Mannan Bhuiyan. Quoting BNP maverick leader Akhteruzzaman, BD News also reports that the intelligence agency members visited Khondker delwar’s house earlier today, abused him verbally, threatened to kill him and ordered to attend the meeting at Saifur Rahman’s house by 730 PM Monday and help appoint saifur Rahman as acting chair and Mannan Bhuiyan as acting SG.

Here is the excerpts from BDNews24.com report,

BREAKING NEWS
Akhteruzzaman alleges intelligence agents asked Delwar to give up BNP pos
t
Mon, Oct 29th, 2007 11:08 pm BdST Dhaka, Oct 29 (bdnews24.com) – Former BNP MP Md Akhteruzzaman Monday claimed that two senior officials of an intelligence agency had asked party secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain to leave his post in 24 hours.In a written statement to the media, he said the officials had allegedly asked Delwar to go to the house of former finance minister M Saifur Rahman by 7:30pm Monday and declare Saifur the party’s acting chairperson and Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan secretary general.
The former MP, .. also alleged that the intelligence agents had threatened to kill Delwar unless he complied with the order.The officials went to Delwar’s home Sunday, he said.Delwar, last seen in BIRDEM hospital Monday evening, could not be reached immediately for his version of events.“They not only threatened the secretary general but aimed verbal abuse at me. If necessary, they will even kill me for helping Delwar,” he said. The officials allegedly told Delwar that “Begum Khaleda Zia will not be allowed anymore to do politics on the soil of Bangladesh”, the statement said.Akhteruzzaman sought intervention from the army chief and said people expected “rule of law”.“Nobody is above the law,” he said.“It’s not the job of an intelligence agency or officials of such agency to decide who will be the party’s secretary general, the president or who will do politics,” said Akhteruzzaman, former MP from Kishoreganj-2 constituency.“Everything has a limit. I think government officials—military or civilian—should not stretch the limits of responsibilities, nor should they go out of their way.”bdnews24.com contacted several senior government officials and advisers, including information adviser Mainul Hosein, for comment.Mainul only said: “I would not comment on it as I did not read the statement.”

Latest news per the newspapers says that the junta has finally managed to cause a division in central leadership in BNP. A new BNP was formed with Saifur Rahman as acting chair person and Maj Hafiz as SG. Extreme form of fear tactic was crucial no doubt. It was a face saving thing for the illegal military government, as sending the invitation to Mannan Bhuiyan was impossible under any standard of legitimacy. Latest news also reports that both Kh delwar Hossain (? admitted in hospital to prevent arrest) and Brig Hannan Shah were missing.

The way Khondker delwar Hossain was holding BNP together, the courage and conviction he is showing in the face of relentless pressure/threats from the government is an example our media esp the editors need to learn from.

And the way the military government with the help of Manan Bhuiyan gong managed to capture BNP today, there remains no scope for any more hope on this government to deliver back democracy by a free and fair election. For everybody concerned it is now a point of no return. Simply a one way lane to either submission to fear tactic of this army junta or protest the junta by all means.

Its about the time you pick your side my friends.
(more…)

An overwhelming majority of Bangladesh do believe that top Jamaat leaders including the Emir, Seretary general, and other senior leaders like kader Mollah, Saidee etc have actively opposed liberation war of 1971, supported Pak army in 1971 and took part in the mass killing of the intellectuals during late 1971.

Similarly a large portion of Bangladesh do also feel disgust when different political parties demand ban on Jamaat e islami when they meet general Moeen or they get a chance to visit the EC. What kind of shameless demand is it? Now a government is power whose legitimacy is questionable and the generals are trying to rob the nation of all the freedom it enjoyed over the last 15 years. On what righteousness of mind one would go and humbly request him to ban jamaat? Who is the general or the EC to ban a party? If you do believe in banning, please come out elected and then ban whoever you want to with people’s mandate.

What a shame. Its sounds like, ‘ I can’t touch jammat with my own power. So respected General Sir, you are very powerful man Sir, Please Ban jamaat for us Sir. You came to power Sir. This is a chance for us to ban jamaat Sir. Please help us use the chance Sir….etc”.

Politicians should not think the people as a bunch of fools. People understand it clearly that demands for banning jamaat has nothing to do with the spirit of 1971. It has more to do with the political calculations of winning an election. These headless politicians also forget that if jamaat is vanished from the scene, the ultimate gainer will be other radical Islamist parties like Hijbut Tahrir. Is hijbut tahrir better because it leaders are not collaborators of 1971?

We tend to forget that the strongest response to what Mujahid or S. A. Hannan said is not by spitting or yelling at them. There are better ways. This, this or this are the examples. The more you inform the nation, the more passionately or positively you describe your war of freedom, the weaker Mujahid or Saidee will be.

In Bangladesh general peoples’ disgust over corruption can’t be over emphasized. The collective anger, hatred and the plea for a relief is enormous. It is clear that, even in the short term, people are ready for any sort of sacrifice, like giving up their fundamental rights like freedom of speech, freedom of meeting, politics etc, if that helps routing out corruption from the society. In this context, it is not very surprising that this current government has enjoyed an overwhelming public support despite many drastic measures.

It is also not a meticulously hidden secret that General Moeen U Ahmed is the de facto ruler of the country although he maintains that he is merely the army chief under civilian leadership. Let me give some example why I say so. Example 1. Remember the camera front outburst of estranged Magistrate Rokonuddoula? He was saying that he visited General Moeen three times regarding the separation of judiciary issue and Gen Moeen rebuffed the demand to halt stripping administrative magistrates of judicial power. Why a leading administrative magistrate will go to army chief for such a purely non military issue and how the general will give decision in that regard? In Example 2, General Moeen has been repeatedly making statements about election date. In an ideal civil government, the army chief will only be there to help out the civil administration during election time. When or whether election will be held or not, that is purely the decision of the civil cabinet and the election commission.

So I don’t think that there will be too much argument in my statement that Gen Moeen is the prime leader of the government.

There is no doubt that this governments’ mandate is corruption. That means that the government leadership themselves are free of corruption allegations and they will not tolerate any sort of corruption be it nepotism, be it unconstitutional use of power.

However, recently the blogs came up with serious allegations of corruption against General Moeen U Ahmed. Some of the allegations are,

1. General Moeen breached existing rule by rehiring his brother as the MD of a bank which he is the chairman of.
2. General Moeen inappropriately (Does his income/asset allow the bank to grant 1 crore taka loan?) took nearly 1 crore taka loan from the same bank.
3. He paid off 66 lac taka in one year (Where did all these money come from?).

General Moeen however strongly denied all these allegations in an unprecedented media campaign both here in USA and in Bangladesh. General Moeen claimed that he only took 35 lac taka house building loan for building his DOHS home and also claimed that he had documents in support of that.

However the blogs immediately came up with impeccable evidence in support of the allegations they posted in their blogs. The evidence they came up with,

1. The audited prospectus of Trust Bank, (of which General Moeen is the Chairmen and General Moeen’s brother Iqbal U Ahmed is the managing Director) submitted to Bangladesh securities and exchange commission on May 17 2007, clearly states that General Moeen had an outstanding loan amount of Taka 99,69,215 at the end of 2005 and an outstanding loan amount of Taka 33,15,323 at the end of 2006. That means he paid off 66 lac taka between 2005 and 2006.

2. The bloggers also came up with the audited 2005 financial statement of Trust Bank which again confirms the loan amount shown in the prospectus of the bank submitted to SEC in Bangladesh.

3. The bloggers also came up with Bangladesh Bank regulations that prohibits
a. Having family members in the board of directors of a bank.
b. The amount of loan General Moeen took from the bank he is the chairman of the board of directors and his brother is the managing director.

These are serious documents and all were in public domain and taken from the website of Bangladesh Bank, Trust Bank and Securities and Exchange Commission of Bangladesh. So mere statement that “I only took 35 lac taka loan. The story of 1 Crore taka loan is false and fabricated story to malign me” is not enough. People tend to believe in what General Moeen says. He really comes across as a very honest gentleman. But a clarification is urgently needed about the trust bank and SEC documents. Why trust bank financial statement and prospectus repeatedly showing that general Moeen took 1 crore taka loan? It is essential that clear statements from General Moeen, Trust Bank authorities and SEC, clarify the controversies regarding the discrepancies in the loan documents and the claims made by General Moeen about the amount of loan.

This post absolutely is not intended to taint, demean or vilify General Moeen U Ahmed. It is agreed that a big portion of the people in Bangladesh do love him, and appreciate his efforts/courage to get Bangladesh rid of corruption. But for the sake of a better future of this government as well as that of Bangladesh, General Moeen U Ahmed must clear the confusions created by his statement and bank documents. This is needed for the sake of Bangladesh.
The bloggers remain hellbent in following the doctrine they have preached all these days. Everyone is innocent until clearly proven guilty by a due process in a transparent and independent court of law.

The CHT Peace Accord and the Voters List
Zobaida Nasreen Kona
Along with various parts of the country, the listing of voters in Chittagong and the three Hill Districts of Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban began on 22nd October, 2007 (Prothom Alo, 23rd Oct.2007). Each part of Bangladesh has its own historicity and geographical characteristic.

From that perspective, the Chittagong Hill Tracts with its cultural richness and geographic distinctiveness has always deserved special attention. On 2nd December, 1997, a Peace Accord was signed between the Parbottyo Chattogram Janasanghati Samiti and the erstwhile Government. But over the years, the implementation of the Accord has been questioned from time to time by Adivasi leaders. The reason for bringing up the issue of the voters list is due to a writ petition issued by the High Court to the Government of Bangladesh on 27th August  in response to a case filed by Tajul Islam (writ petition 6451/2007). The petition asks the Government to give reasons as to why the Peace Accord between the Government of Bangladesh and the Parbottyo Chattagrram Jana Shanghato Samiti (PCJSS) should not be considered as unconstitutional. (more…)

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