Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tasneem's Master Piece

This is the one of the Master Pieces of Talanted Tasneem Khalil "Price of Bogra."He has been
arrested because of this. please Go for it-

"The Prince of Bogra by Tasneem Khalil


10:26am Friday, May 11
A sensational report by Tasneem Khalil for which he got arrested.

The Prince of Bogra by Tasneem Khalil
Think you know everything about the crimes of Tarique Rahman? Think again. Tasneem Khalil blows the lid off the sensational untold story of Tarique’s sponsorship of Islamic militancy during the past five years For five eventful years he ruled with an iron hand. And his lackeys were appointed across the country with the sole purpose of serving His Excellency’s dynasty. Bangladesh became their fiefdom while Tarique Rahman — eldest son of the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and BNP’s Joint Secretary General — presided over the darbar of all that was evil and corrupt. The top boss at Hawa Bhaban was the undeclared crown prince before whom everyone was supposed to bend down and submit.
After five long years, January 11 saw the fall of Hawa Bhaban and within weeks we watched in shock and awe how the military-backed interim government unceremoniously dispatched the Prince of Bogra to a prison cell at the Dhaka Central Jail. The story of Tarique Rahman came to an end. Then chapter by chapter the whole story started surfacing for public consumption. Years-old rumours and conspiracy theories got a fresh supply of blood and were confirmed as factual. The empire built by Tarique and his crony Giasuddin al-Mamun was exposed for inspection by the intelligence agencies and their findings started making headlines: bank accounts in Switzerland, Singapore, South Africa, Malaysia; investments in UAE; deals with Subrata Bain and Daud Ibrahim; Khamba Limited, Channel One, Dandy Dyeing, Orion, One Group; commissions, extortions, lobbying.
But not everything was exposed. Missing, till now, were two sinister chapters, Tarique Rahman’s sponsorship of the “jihad” that crippled and terrorized Bangladesh in recent years: International Khatme Nabuwat Movement and JMB.
***
For security and terrorism analysts across the globe, “End of Prophethood” was, from the very beginning, a movement to watch out for as it is widely believed to be highly influenced by Wahhabi jihadist philosophy and massively backed by Saudi money through the Muslim World League (Rabita al-Alam al-Islam). In recent years, Islamists tied to the International Khatme Nabuwat Movement (IKNM) wreaked havoc in Pakistan and Indonesia and are active in many other Muslim-majority countries with the declared goal of “preserving the finality of Muhammad’s prophethood.”
In its June 2005 report titled “Bangladesh: Breach of Faith,” Human Rights Watch commented:
An unprecedented climate of fear now pervades Bangladesh’s minority Ahmadiya community, a heterodox religious group that considers itself part of the larger Muslim world. Ahmadis have been the target of deadly violence and organized and widespread intimidation. Extremist Muslim groups have organized mass political rallies calling for an official declaration that Ahmadis are not Muslims and for a ban on their publications and missionary activities. Ahmadiya mosques have been attacked, individuals have been beaten up or killed, and others have been denied access to schools and sources of livelihood. While the police have generally provided protection to Ahmadis against mob violence, the current Bangladeshi government has aligned itself politically with groups and individuals inciting violence against Ahmadis.
It continued on the political connections the group maintained:
Throughout 2004 and into 2005, the Khatme Nabuwat (KN), an umbrella organization of Islamist groups dedicated to the preservation of “the finality of the prophethood” of Muhammad, has threatened the Ahmadiya community with attacks on their mosques and campaigned for Ahmadis to be declared non-Muslim. The KN enjoys links to the governing Bangladesh National Party (BNP) through the BNP’s coalition partners, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and the IOJ.
And observed in one of the concluding paragraphs:
The BNP at times has sought to please its coalition partners JI and IOJ and some of its own members by implementing discriminatory policies — such as the ban on Ahmadiya publications — and by turning a blind eye to acts of violence and intimidation against minorities such as Ahmadis, Hindus, Christians, and others. While the BNP claims it is not a communal party and that it is not leading or instigating attacks on minorities, it has failed to take any serious action against those who carry out attacks or incite violence. The government’s capitulation to certain anti-Ahmadi demands, moreover, belies its assertions that if there are any religious fundamentalist groups in Bangladesh they have little power.
That the IKNM had ties with the BNP did not take a rocket scientist to figure out. Given the level of active support the group received from the police across the country during anti-Ahmadiya hate rallies and defacement of Ahmadiya mosques, any independent observer knew that they had special ties with the BNP high-command.
A wire I filed from Bogra for banglarights.net on March 11, 2005 illustrated the typical charade Ahmadiyas had to suffer in different parts of the country:
Bogra, March 11, Friday: Bending down to pressure and threats by leaders of International Khatme Nabuwat Movement (IKNM), Bogra Kotwali Police has pinned a notice on the walls of the Ahmadiya mosque here, as demanded and instructed by the anti-Ahmadiya activists. “Bogra Kadiani place of worship, do not mistake as a Muslim mosque,” the notice written on a tin-frame reads.
As instructed by Maulana Mahmudul Hasan Mumtazi and Maulana Noorani — IKNM leaders, Sub-Inspector Siraj and a constable of Bogra Kotwali Police carried the notice to the mosque gate by 6 PM and hammered it into the walls while Additional SP Zakir and OC Mansur supervised.
“We will not be able to provide you with security and if you do not allow us to hang this sign-board, we will withdraw our forces right now and will not take any further responsibilities,” ASP Zakir told Abdul Awwal Khan Chowdhury — Central Ahmadiya Missionary — as he, along with some members of Ahmadiya Jamaat tried to block the entrance of the mosque complex. OC Mansur said he would rather quit his job instead of providing the Ahmadiyas security. “We are not ready to take responsibility,” he said. With the apparent blackmail by the police officers Awwal and other Ahmadiyas backed off as IKNM leaders looked on.
“We cannot afford a street-battle in this town. So, in greater public interest, we are taking this action,” OC Mansur said while Abdul Awwal told reporters, “This is in violation of our basic human rights. We as citizens of this country protest this unlawful action by the police, but as we are law-abiding people we will not resist any man in uniform. But the painful fact is that these ‘men in uniform’ are now taking orders from some religious bigots.”
Earlier, central and local IKNM leaders threatened to turn the capital Dhaka into a “bleeding battleground” on December 23, if the government does not declare the Ahmadiyas as “non-Muslims” by then, from a rally — attended by about 7,000 people — in Sathmatha after Jumma prayers.
“This is just a warm-up and we are not using the least bit of violence, but if they (Ahmadiyas) are not declared non-Muslims by December 23, we are all-set for a blood-bath in Dhaka,” Maulana Noor Hossain Noorani, told the rally.
“We have discussed this program with Tarique Bhai (an apparent reference to Tarique Rahman) and he has assured us that we will have all-out support from the administration in carrying it out,” Maulana Mumtazi said.
After the rally, a four-member team of the IKNM — lead by Maulana Mumtazi — was taken to the Ahmadiya mosque by some police officials. Earlier, they (police and IKNM leaders) discussed and agreed upon a “procedure to end the rally peacefully.” Police lead by SP Mortaza thanked the IKNM leaders for leading a “well-organised rally” and offered full-cooperation while thousand of IKNM activists, carrying long-sticks, kept the town under siege. Till filing of this wire (9 pm) police was guarding the signboard in front of the Ahmadiya mosque.
At the rally in Bogra, Mufti Noor Hossain Noorani declared that Tarique, “the guardian of Bogra,” was “our Amir and same-aged friend” and threatened the police officials with Tarique’s direct intervention if IKNM’s demands were not met. The riot-gear clad police melted down before the bigots and gave in. Weeks later, a video footage of the statement came into my possession and is now hosted online at my blog (see end of this story for the address).
“We are part of the alliance-government. We have already consulted with Bhaiya (Tarique Rahman) and DGFI (Directorate General of Forces Intelligence). They have offered us full support,” with a broad smile on his face a central IKNM leader told me hours before the rally at Sathmatha while a few others smiled and nodded in agreement.
Months later, one evening I met Mufti Noorani for an interview at the rooftop restaurant of Grand Azad Hotel in Dhaka. Over a bowl of Thai soup, I inquired whether IKNM’s anti-Ahmadiya movements were anti-state or not. “We have blessings from the top,” Noorani told me with a sheepish grin. Ruling out the allegation of engaging in anti-state activities, he told me, “We are in regular contact with Major General Sadiq Hasan Rumi, the DGFI chief. If we are engaged in anti-state activities how come they are assisting us? Don’t tell me now that the DGFI is anti-state. We hold regular meetings at the cantonment.” He added, “Tarique Rahman is our leader, we are part of the government. In fact, whoever opposes us, the so-called civil society are the enemies of the Bangladesh state.”
April, 2005. In Satkhira, Noorani told local newsmen that he met the DGFI chief in Dhaka cantonment thrice and consulted over a possible bill in Parliament declaring the Ahmadiyas as “non-Muslims.” Weeks later, copies of a CD containing the video footage (a clip also hosted at my blog now) of that press briefing were circulating in Dhaka and reached the hands of human rights activists and the international community. Noteworthy is that the DGFI never issued any public rebuttal dismissing any of the claims made by Noorani. One of my sources close to the DGFI told me that the DGFI chief had received queries on the footage from different directions. Explaining his alleged ties with IKNM, Major General Rumi told at least one member of the diplomatic corps in Dhaka that he did have meetings with IKNM leaders as the Prime Minister Khaleda Zia directly instructed him.
The DGFI chief was not the only state official exploited by Khaleda Zia and her son in sponsoring the IKNM. Following the footsteps of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and General Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan who used the anti-Ahmadiya hate groups there to gain control over Islamists in the 1970s, Tarique Rahman wanted to build IKNM as his own army of ultra-right storm-troopers. In engineering the countrywide hate campaigns, Tarique was assisted by the then chief of National Security Intelligence (NSI) Major General Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury.
As local and international fury was building up on the Ahmadiya issue, in late 2005, I was told by one of my sources close to the agency that the NSI chief had assigned one of his deputies to pressure the leaders of the Ahmadiya Muslim Jamaat in signing a testimony stating that the Ahmadiya community in Bangladesh were enjoying absolute religious freedom and were not suffering any violence or hate campaigns. A delegation of Ahmadiya leaders who reportedly met four NSI officials humbly turned down the offer demanding that the government first take steps to free their mosques under occupation in different parts of the country.
Tarique’s anti-Ahmadiya adventure aimed at gaining political currency with the right was carried out with active participation by two of his most trusted men: then State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfuzzaman Babar and Mossadek Ali Falu. While Babar made sure that the police assist IKNM with their rallies and mosque defacements, Falu was in charge of coordinating with their leaders and different madrasahs that fed IKNM with a supply of young members. “Every time the police obstructs an IKNM program, Babar picks up his phone and showers the officers with obscene threats. Who is going to stand up to the home minister,” one of my sources close to the Hawa Bhaban told me in early 2006. The same source detailed earlier in 2004 how Mossadek Ali Falu used madrasah students close to IKNM for casting fake votes in the Dhaka 10 by-election.
***
On March 30, Siddiqul Islam Bangla Bhai, Shaykh Abdur Rahman and five other JMB militants were hanged in different jails around the country. The mystery surrounding who was the lead sponsor of JMB was never publicly exposed. By now we know about some junior BNP ministers and MPs who aided JMB at the initial stage. However, we are yet to hear the whole story.
Just a few days before the executions my chance conversation with a regional commander of JMB opened a new lead on the story. “Minister Aminul Haque and Dulu (Ruhul Quddus) used to have regular meetings with leader (Bangla Bhai) in 2003 then in 2004. Then they used to consult directly with Tarique Rahman over Aminul Haque’s mobile phone. Leader used to inform Tarique before every crucial operation and seek his support,” he detailed. Confirming this version, a recent report by vernacular daily Bhorer Kagoj quoted JMB sources who claimed that Bangla Bhai maintained such a close tie with Tarique Rahman that he used to address Tarique as mama (maternal uncle).
Even after the August 2005 bombings Tarique’s support for the jihadist organizations in Bangladesh continued. On many occasions intelligence officials tried investigating financial links of these terrorist organizations and faced huge pressure from government high-ups. “It was Tarique who played the dirty game and derailed investigations, always,” one senior intelligence official told me about their frustrations.

On March 23, The Daily Star reported:
Intelligence agencies may investigate alleged links between arrested Senior Joint Secretary General of BNP Tarique Rahman and Dubai-based Indian underworld don Daud Ibrahim. Communications Adviser M.A. Matin made this comment to reporters yesterday when he was asked about a Kolkata-based newspaper report that quoted Indian intelligence agency officials as saying Tarique had close links with Ibrahim as well as the al-Qaeda.
“I saw this in newspapers but this is just a bit of information. Now it is the duty of the intelligence agencies to investigate the matter and find out the evidence,” he said. The government will have to check the veracity of the report’s claims, he added. “Tarique will be charged and legal action will be taken against him if the allegation is proved true,” said Matin, also chairman of the National Coordination Committee to prevent grievous crimes.
A report titled “Khaleda’s son contacted Daud to buy arms” was published by the daily Anandabazar Patrika citing an intelligence report of the Indian external affairs ministry. Tarique also established contacts with the al-Qaeda through his involvement in the international money laundering, the report claimed.
The newspaper said Tarique and the then National Security Intelligence director general Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury travelled to Dubai in March 2006 to secure a series of deals at a Dubai hotel to buy arms and ammunition in the lead up to the cancelled January 22 parliamentary elections. The report said Tarique also purchased a palatial mansion worth $60 million in Dubai. The two also came to an understanding that Tarique would buy large swaths of land which would be locally managed by Ibrahim, the report claimed.
My Hawa Bhaban source, however, had a clarification and claimed that the Dubai meeting in question did not take place between Tarique and Daud. In fact, it was Giasuddin al-Mamun who met Daud Ibrahim, the terror don, on behalf of Tarique Rahman. Whoever met Daud Ibrahim, Tarique or al-Mamun, it was confirmed that Tarique was very much in contact with the international terror network through Daud while Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury co-ordinated the deals. The source also claimed that Tarique was, at one stage, supporting the activities of Shahdat-al-Hikma, a banned militant organization. Al-Hikma is widely believed to be an outfit sponsored by Daud Ibrahim himself.

That Tarique Rahman was one of the key sponsors of right-wing militancy in Bangladesh is one of the most under-reported stories of the past five years. While we see stories on how he and his cronies used public money and offices to fatten their wallets there seems to be a conspiracy of silence as to his role as the Amir of jihad in Bangladesh. That the story of militancy in Bangladesh is not complete without the details of Tarique’s involvement is a fact we must come to terms with before it is too late — and it is towards the Dhaka Central Jail that we must look for the answers that only the Prince of Bogra can provide.

1 comment:

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