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Bangladesh lawmaker points a finger at Begum Khaleda's role in failed December 2011 coup

Dhaka , Tue, 14 Feb 2012 ANI

Dhaka, Feb 14 (ANI): A senior Bangladesh lawmaker has pointed a finger at former premier Begum Khaleda Zia, claiming that she played a role in a failed coup to overthrow the Sheikh Hasina's government with the help of retired and serving army officials.


The Chairman of the Bangladesh Parliament's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, told ANI: "In December 2011, there was a coup attempt by some serving and retired officers. Begum Khaleda Zia said in the beginning of December that the Hasina Government will not last beyond this month. Now, this coup attempt has been foiled, and there is a link between Begum Zia's statement and the failed coup attempt."


The Bangladesh Army had disclosed on January 19 about the failed coup against the Sheikh Hasina Government in December 2011.


This is the first time that people of the country have heard about things going inside their armed forces.


It also shows the maturity and confidence of the government to allow the army to disclose details of the failed coup.


A radical outfit-the Hizb-ut-Tahrir - was blamed for masterminding the attempted coup with the help of middle-level army officers.


The organisation, which was banned on October 22, 2010, is said to have circulated provocative leaflets based on fugitive Major Syed Zia-ul Haq's Internet message throughout Bangladesh.


Major Zia had apparently contacted a few serving and retired officers and instigated them to engage in anti-state activities.


The role of Khaleda Zia's exiled son Tareque Rahman in triggering a mutiny within the army with the aim to topple the Bangladesh Government is also being probed.


Rahman, who is now living in exile in London, is alleged to have coordinated a part of the conspiracy with the UK-based operatives of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir.


Criticising the Khaleda Zia-led Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Ali said the opposition was plotting against the government, as they are not ready to face parliament and want to spoil the democratic process.


He added that they are also threatening the government to protect the 1971 war criminals.


Unconfirmed reports point out that the Jamaat-e-Islami, which collaborated with the Pakistan Army in 1971, is desperate to topple the Hasina Government as it fast-tracks the trial of its leaders on war crime charges.


The Bangladesh Army had said that 16 people were linked to the plot, but there is the alleged involvement of about 50 to 60 officers, all of whom are said to be under surveillance.


The rebels are said to have circulated a note at the beginning of 2012 among some fellow officers, in which they accused the Hasina Government of acting as a stooge of India, and also claimed that senior army officers are on the Indian Government's payrolls.


The note has been seized and two retired officers, who reportedly admitted to their role in the plot, will be tried. These officers were members of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir.


The banned outfit is also reported to have circulated a leaflet in both Bengali and English in December 2011 seeking the removal of Sheikh Hasina from power and to "establish Khilafat".


Bangladesh is no stranger to the military interfering in politics, having faced several coups and mutinies in the over 40 years since it was created out of undivided Pakistan in 1971. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)


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