Principal Secretary to the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia told the US ambassador that he suspected that the ruling BNP had ties with the assassination of former Awami League finance minister Shah A M S Kibria.
He pointed his finger at the then political secretary at the prime minister’s office Harris Chowdhury for having ties with the local BNP leaders charged with the crime.
Retorting to the ambassador’s reiteration of bringing the killers to justice and reference to media speculation regarding the tie, Siddiqui asked rhetorically if the ambassador wanted him to name the individual who everybody knows, he said, comes from Sylhet and is a “problem’.
He told the ambassador that the pressure from the US government and World Bank had ‘finally convinced’ the then prime minister Khaleda Zia that the ‘protection’ of Rajshahi area BNP parliamentarians ‘needs to be brushed aside’.
She had also realized that the members of Islamist outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) have to be arrested to save Bangladesh’s international reputation, the top bureaucrat said in the meeting.
According to the cable, he added, “That’s the problem with this BNP government. It only acts under pressure, so it doesn’t get the credit it deserves for doing what it should have done months ago.”
Siddiqui also shared the ambassador’s view that the arrest of vigilante group leader Siddiqur Rahman alias “Bangla Bhai” was also critical.
“They know where these people are,” the cable quoted the official as saying.
Where is Harris Chowdhury?
According to a number of sources, ever-since fleeing Bangladesh, Harris Chowdhury took refuge in Iran, where he had lived for many years and only recently has moved to the United Kingdom, where he is maintaining regular contacts with Tarique Rahman.
Sitting in Britain, Harris Chowdhury has been contacting several key figures of jihadist outfit Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh and lately he also has been trying to establish a link with the Rohingyas in Bangladesh with the notorious agenda of launching series of jihadist strikes inside Bangladesh, Myanmar, China and India.
According to information, Harris Chowdhury, who was dealing in second-hand vehicles before becoming the mighty political secretary of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars through corruption and illegal activities. He also was maintaining regular contacts with kingpins of United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA).