Zia’s son did not meet Indian militant, says BNP


Dhaka : Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Tuesday denied reports that its key official and party chief’s son Tarique Rahman had met Indian fugitive militant Paresh Barua.

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Barua is the top functionary of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and, along with many other fugitives, staged violent operations in Assam from the Bangladeshi soil.

The alleged meeting was supposed to have taken place in 2004 when the BNP chief, Begum Khaleda Zia was the country’s prime minister and her son, a key functionary said to be behind the government’s decision-making.

Opposition chief whip in parliament Zainal Abedin Farroque told journalists that the reports were “a concocted story” based on a confession made by Mohammed Hafizur Rahman, a key witness in the Chittagong arms haul case.

The case pertains to 10 truckloads of arms, ammunition and explosives brought to Chittagong port in April 2004 that were meant for the ULFA.

In the ongoing trial in the port town, several top officials of the Zia regime, including two army generals, who were then chiefs of the National Security Intelligence (NSI) and the Directorate General of Field Intelligence (DGFI) and the then home secretary, have been held and interrogated.

Farroque warned the intelligence agency involved in the investigations and the trial, saying: “You should keep in mind that this government is not the last government. Many other governments will come to power in future,” Star Online, website of The Daily Star newspaper reported.

An earlier report circulated last December, quoting Commerce Minister Faruq Khan, had alleged that the Zia Government had facilitated a meeting between Anup Chetia, another Ulfa fugitive, and visiting Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf in 2002.

The present government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has worked to end the activities of ULFA and other banned Indian outfits and in last November, facilitated the arrest by the Indian authorities of ULFA chief Arabinda Rajkhowa and six others.