Space For Rent
Sunday, May 15, 2016, Jaistha 1, 1423 BS, Shaban 7, 1437 Hijri

BNP's ISI, Mossad connections
Syed Badrul Ahsan
Published :Sunday, 15 May, 2016,  Time : 12:17 PM  View Count : 84
For years there have been whispers of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party's foreign connections. Its closeness to Pakistan and especially with Islamabad's notorious ISI has been a subject of endless discussions. Now into the picture comes Israel's dreaded Mossad and its alleged linking up with the BNP. That is a deeply disturbing report and will remain so as long as the BNP is unable to prove it wrong.
Anyone who has even the most elementary idea of Mossad knows of the ominous role it has played in undermining governments with which the state of Israel has had problems over the past many decades. Additionally, Mossad has perfected the art of abduction, a technique it has routinely applied against those deemed dangerous by the Zionist state.
That being the dark legacy upheld by Mossad so far, one is rather amused that for one of those rare times reports have come in of Mossad being in link with a political party of a foreign state, the ostensible goal being a possible overthrow of the elected government of the foreign state. It was Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, who first threw light on the BNP-Mossad connection a few days ago. While initially the junior minister's revelation may have been taken with a grain of salt, it now appears that there might have been something that could not be dismissed outright. Media photographs of a newly promoted politician in the BNP hierarchy (he is today a joint secretary general) in the cheerful company of a senior Mossad official have been doing the rounds. 
The BNP of course has been dismissive of such reports. It and its politician in question have come forth with the pretty weak statement that the meeting with the Mossad man was a pure coincidence, meaning the two men simply ran into each other. But what has been left unexplained is the presence of the garlands on the BNP politician and the Mossad official as appeared in photographs. Unexpected meetings do not produce garlands or other such demonstrations of happy companionship. Obviously, there is a huge question here which the BNP needs to answer. BNP's new Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has of course informed the nation that the BNP has no connections with Israel and that it believes in a change of government in the country through peaceful and electoral means. That still does not allay citizens' worries about the incident. One is reminded here of the request a leftist politician in Bangladesh sent to Pakistan's prime minister Z.A. Bhutto in 1974 soliciting financial and armed aid to overthrow the legally and constitutionally established government of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The Mossad issue is not the only problem we are confronted with today. In these past many days, a clearly irate Pakistan, unable to accept the war crimes trials in Bangladesh and the execution of five of the war criminals who collaborated with its murderous army in the genocide of 1971, has been trying to raise a storm over the issue. Its leaders have once more chosen to interfere in Bangladesh's internal affairs through raising the war crimes issue in their national assembly, in the process whipping up a frenzied campaign against Bangladesh all over Pakistan. The irony is that Pakistan's politicians have lauded the executed collaborators as dedicated Pakistanis whose only fault, in their view, lay in upholding the Pakistan constitution and the law in 1971. Unwittingly they gave themselves away and in the process only proved what Bangladesh's people have been saying all along --- that these men were complicit with the Pakistan army in its genocidal operations during Bangladesh's War of Liberation.
In what is clearly a circumstance of supreme irony, the foreign affairs advisor of Pakistan's prime minister has threatened to move the United Nations on the execution of the war criminals in Bangladesh. Sartaj Aziz feels that gross injustice has been done to Motiur Rahman Nizami and the other war criminals hanged so far, that indeed pressure should be brought to bear on Bangladesh to stop all further trials and executions on the war crimes issue. And here is where the irony comes in: Sartaj Aziz, in shedding tears for the war criminals, conveniently ignores the crimes these men, in cahoots with Pakistan's army, committed in 1971. The Pakistani establishment is fully aware of the sins and crimes of its soldiers in Bangladesh and yet is unwilling to move out of its state of denial. That 30,00,000 Bengalis were murdered by the army and its local henchmen and more than 200,000 women were raped by the soldiers has all been documented not only in Bangladesh but around the globe. There are old soldiers in Pakistan who, in their youth, were appalled by the atrocities they saw their fellow soldiers carry out in Bangladesh. One wonders if men like Sartaj Aziz have ever thought of setting the record for Pakistanis straight by taking the views of these traumatised soldiers into consideration. 
For Bangladesh, it is now of the utmost importance that a strong, well-devised and coordinated campaign be mounted in the international arena fundamentally on two issues. The first will of course be a drawing of attention to Pakistan's blatant interference in Bangladesh's internal affairs and thereby vitiating the atmosphere of friendship and cooperation in South Asia. The second will relate to the need to remind the world again of the atrocities the Pakistan army committed in Bangladesh in 1971 and of the sinister assistance the soldiers were provided with in this macabre mission by the war criminals whom Dhaka has been bringing to justice in recent years. Let our diplomatic missions everywhere be activated around these two issues. Pakistan must not be permitted to get away with its outrageous behaviour.
Finally, there is the matter of what Turkish President Recep Tayyep Erdogan has been up to with regard to Bangladesh's internal politics. He has recalled his ambassador to Ankara as a sign of his displeasure over the execution of the war criminals by Bangladesh. He has, therefore, shown complete disregard for diplomatic niceties, to a point where his government did not see any need to keep Dhaka officially informed over its stance. That said, Erdogan has been engaging in double standards here. Not long ago, he made it clear that the execution of dissidents in Saudi Arabia was an internal issue for the kingdom. Today, he feels not at all embarrassed in adopting a directly reverse position on the war crimes issue in Bangladesh.
That is again ironic. Turkey is on record with its harsh treatment of its Kurdish population. Two journalists who recently revealed the Erdogan government's arms links with the anti-Assad rebels and quite possibly ISIS in Syria are in jail. The space for free speech has been shrinking fast for Turkey's people. More ominously, there is the persistent suspicion that President Erdogan and his government, based on a religious political platform as they are, could well be a new danger for secular dispensations in the region. 
For Bangladesh, the clear need is to stand firm against all attempts to harm it through conspiracies at home and abroad. Let a strong, unambiguous and unequivocal message go out, from the people and the government of Bangladesh, that no one --- be it an individual, group or state --- will be permitted to dictate Bangladesh. We are a proud people who waged a war for freedom against all odds. Our pride is forever, our self-esteem defines us every livelong day. 

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka. Editorial, News and Commercial Offices : Aziz Bhaban (2nd floor), 93, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000. Phone :9586651-58. Fax: 9586659-60, Advertisemnet: 9513663, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected].