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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Conspirators want to turn Bangladesh into a failed state

A conglomerate of culprits comprising pro-Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), pro-jihadist Jamaat-e-Islami, BNP’s convicted fugitive mini-boss Tarique Rahman and his lap-dogs such as Tasneem Khalil, Zulkarnain Saer Sami alias Chhintaikari Sami (snatcher Sami), Mushfiqul Fazal Ansarey and a number of BNP-Jamaat lobbyists in the United Kingdom and the United States are continuing notorious conspiracy with the target of turning Bangladesh into a failed state. This conglomerate of culprits is running vile propaganda against Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, members of the Bangabandhu family, the ruling Awami League, and law enforcement and intelligence agencies in Bangladesh while very unfortunately such propaganda and notorious lobbyist bids are left un-countered despite the fact that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has repeatedly asked for confronting and countering anti-Bangladesh propaganda in particular as well as evil lobbyist activities of BNP, Jamaat and their cronies.

In this article, I shall debunk some of the notorious propaganda spread by the enemies of Bangladesh, although there is reason to be pessimistic that the state machinery would simply ignore these points and may not take immediate steps in further spreading such exposures.

BNP-Jamaat allegations of massive corruption

For the past several years, Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and their cohorts have been repeatedly stating that corruption has crossed the “all-time record” in Bangladesh. They are raising this issue through lobbyists in the US and Britain and whenever BNP-Jamaat leaders are meeting members of the diplomatic missions in Dhaka, despite the fact of reality being just the opposite.

Bangladesh Nationalist Party formed a coalition government with war-criminal Jamaat-e-Islami in 2001 and during their tenure, Bangladesh had topped Transparency International’s most-corrupt nations for three consecutive times. During the 2001-2006 rule of the BNP-Jamaat government, corruption was rampant while then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and her infamous sons – Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman Koko along with other members of Khaleda Zia’s family were indulged in massive corruption, loot of public wealth and smuggling of millions of dollars from Bangladesh to foreign countries. Tarique Rahman’s business partner and “special friend” Giasuddin Mamun had told interrogators that Tarique was taking a 10 percent “kickback” from each of the foreign purchases and development projects.

During the 2001-2005 rule of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its coalition partner Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s son Tarique Rahman was known as “Mr. 10 percent”, as he was demanding a ten percent bribe on every development projects and foreign purchases. While his business partner and “special friend” Giasuddin Mamun was assigned to collect ten percent from each of the development projects and foreign purchases in the country, Tarique succeeded in using her mother, Khaleda Zia in suggesting all ministers to “look into” her son’s “business interests”. A large number of foreign investors had abandoned their plan of investing in Bangladesh due to Tarique Rahman and his infamous Hawa Bhaban gang’s unjust demand of paying ten percent of the proposed investment amount as a “commission” to the son of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

According to a credible source, during the 2001-2005 period, Tarique and Mamun had placed their own man at the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) for enjoying a monopoly in supplying urea fertilizer. Although at that time international market price of urea was less than US$300 per ton, Tarique Rahman’s man was selling it at a rate ranging between US$900-1,400 per ton while the remaining balance was secretly transferred into foreign bank accounts of Tarique Rahman and Giasuddin Mamun. Each year, this vicious circle was cashing hundreds of millions of dollars by selling 1.20-1.50 million tons of urea to BCCI, which ultimately resulted in a huge price of fertilizer and cost the country badly. This also disrupted the country’s agricultural production.

Tarique Rahman and his syndicate also made hundreds of millions of dollars by selling rice, sugar, salt, lentils, and other essentials to the Bangladesh government, Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), Ministry of Food, and private consumers at an exorbitant price. Tarique and his infamous Hawa Bhaban were also behind the sugar scandal during BNP-Jamaat rule, where he and his cohorts made massive amounts of cash by directly exerting influence. They also were behind the import of melamine-mixed baby food from China, which they sold in the local market thus pushing the lives of hundreds of thousands of children towards extreme health hazards.

It is further learned that, during BNP-Jamaat rule, Tarique Rahman and his syndicate were importing contaminated powdered milk from East European countries, while such an item was unfit for human consumption as milk powder produced by those East European countries were seriously contaminated by the Chornobyl nuclear disaster.

During the rule of the BNP-Jamaat coalition government, Indian conglomerate Tata, in 2005, canceled a US$ 3 billion deal after Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Tarique Rahman placed a bribery demand on the Indian company.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ICT Advisor Sajeeb Wazed Joy in a post from his verified account on Facebook in March 2022 said that the unchecked greed of BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman and his friend Giasuddin Mamun took a toll on the investment sector of Bangladesh, causing many foreign investors to turn their back.

“Why did Tata pull out of a thousand-crore dollar investment plan at the last moment? How were the youths of Bangladesh deprived of their employment opportunities?” wrote Sajeeb Wazed Joy.

The post titled, “Subject – Tata’s Investment”, also incorporated an audio-visual detailing why Tata pulled out, at the eleventh hour, of the investment plan they were so excited about.

“It was May 8, 2005. Former Energy Advisor Mahmudur Rahman announced that Tata was set to invest three billion dollars in Bangladesh, which would defy all previous foreign investment marks in the country. According to the plan, they would invest in the fertilizer and steel factory sectors in return for an undisrupted gas supply to Tata for 25 years. Tata also offered 10 percent equity to Bangladesh”, said the post.

Attending a meeting with the Tata board of directors in India, Tarique Rahman, flanked by his friend Giasuddin Mamun and Silver Selim, wanted to talk to Tata privately. As other directors left, Giasuddin Mamun cleared his throat, demanding a 10 percent commission, a proposal rejected outright by the billionaire philanthropist. Still, Tarique stubbornly dwelled on his demand. At one point, Tata inquired about the recipient’s bank account, which Giasuddin Mamun said was in Dubai, Singapore, and Malaysia. Mamun demanded BDT 2 billion in the first phase and BDT 1 billion during the election, the report added.

These are some of the reasons why Bangladesh had topped Transparency International’s list of most-corrupt nations for three consecutive times. Should there be similar corruption during the 2009-2022 Awami League tenure, Bangladesh would have again topped the list of Transparency International. Has it happened? No! Still, BNP and its cohorts are raising false allegations of rampant corruption during Awami League’s rule.

Negative propaganda centering anti-terrorism and anti-militancy drives

Ever since Awami League came to power in 2009 under the magnanimous leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, BNP and its cohorts are repeatedly spreading heinous propaganda by labeling the government’s ongoing drives against terrorism and militancy as “human rights violation”. They have been circulating propaganda materials amongst key policymakers in the Western capitals, including Washington bringing outrageously false allegations against Bangladesh’s law enforcement agencies, especially the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), despite the fact that this elite force of Bangladesh Police has played an outstanding role in containing militancy and violent extremism in the country, where several officers of RAB had to sacrifice their lives. In my opinion, Western policymakers, particularly the US authorities are either grossly misled or willingly cooperating with BNP-Jamaat’s gruesome propaganda against the Bangladesh government’s anti-terrorism and anti-militancy drives.

Recently, being totally misled by BNP-Jamaat’s propaganda US ambassador to Bangladesh Peter D. Haas went to attend a meeting organized by the family members of an armed cadre of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and had willingly or unwillingly helped those anti-Bangladesh conspirators in giving birth to false propaganda. Feeling encouraged by the US ambassador’s partisan behavior, the sister of BNP’s armed cadre came up with a new allegation stating “a police team attempted to enter the building” resided by Sanjida Islam Tulee. It is well-anticipated although allegations brought by Sanjida Islam Tulee are outrageously false, anti-government propagandists as well as Bangladesh Nationalist Party will try to mislead people, including members of the diplomatic missions in Bangladesh with another fabricated story.

Sheikh Hasina warns people of anti-Bangladesh conspirators

Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina on December 25, 2022, said that the anti-liberation forces and the killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman are always active in their efforts to turn Bangladesh into a failed state.

“We all should keep in mind that Bangladesh is our country. We’ve brought the country’s independence. But, the anti-liberation forces and the killers of Bangabandhu are always out to turn Bangladesh into a failed state”, she said.

Sheikh Hasina came out with this observation with her party leaders and activists at Ganabhaban a day after her reelection as party President for the 10th consecutive term.

She mentioned that in 29 years in two phases from 1975 to 1996 and 2001-2009, the governments who were in power during that time had tried to make the country a failed state.

Sheikh Hasina said that now Bangladesh has attained the status of a developing country while people have got dignity as since 2009 Awami League is in power for three consecutive terms through elections getting the votes of the people.

The Prime Minister said only one decision to construct the Padma Bridge with their own finance has immensely brightened the image of Bangladesh in the world.

Highlighting that people are the source of the power of Awami League, she said that “the general people who support us are the greatest source of power for us. So, each leader and activist will have to work for the welfare of the common people”.

The Prime Minister said that General Ziaur Rahman, Hussain Muhammed Ershad, and Khaleda Zia turned Bangladesh into a beggar nation after 1975 (the killing of Father of the Nation). But, when Awami League came to power, then Monga (famine-like situation) and famine went away from the country. “Today, we’ve achieved self-sufficiency in food”, she said.

She said Awami League is an organization that has been formed at the hands of Father of the Nation and this organization had been born through movements of establishing the rights of the people of Bangladesh.

Talking about the global economic downturn, she said her government is trying its best to continue keeping the economy vibrant and exercising austerity in undertaking and implementing development projects.

The head of government said now her government’s goal is to make Bangladesh a developed and prosperous country as well as build it as a “Smart Bangladesh” by 2041.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Editor of the Weekly Blitz, a Bangladeshi tabloid. A contributor to The Eastern Herald.

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