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A dubious award for BNP leader Khaleda Zia

Canadian Human Rights International Organization, CHRIO, Khaleda Zia, Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Awami League, Bangladesh


A dubious award for BNP leader Khaleda Zia

Canadian Human Rights International Organization (CHRIO) has conferred pro-Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia with ‘Mother of Democracy’ award for her “outstanding contributions to democracy”. A section of Bangladeshi media claims this award has also been endorsed by the Canadian High Commission in Dhaka. Despite such media buzz in Bangladesh, there is no such announcement about conferring this award to Khaleda Zia on the website of CHRIO. The ‘Awards’ page of the same website also does not say anything about this. No foreign or even Canadian newspaper or media have published this news, proving the entire episode is dubious enough. It is not clear as to how the Canadian High Commission in Dhaka has “endorsed” an award or if at all the high commission has endorsed it. Hopefully Canadian High Commission in Dhaka will issue a statement in this regard.

What is the mystery behind? In my opinion, this award titled ‘Mother of Democracy’ has actually been bought by Bangladesh Nationalist Party by giving donations to CHRIO and that might be the only reason behind no information of this award on the website of this organization.

Canadian-Hispanic Mario Guilombo is the co-chair and co-founder of CHRIO.

According to its website, Canadian Human Rights International Organization (CHRIO), is located at Jane & Finch, 1725 Finch Avenue West Toronto Ontario, M3N 1M6 Canada. The Jane and Finch community is a high density, multicultural and low-income neighborhood. It is made up of single-family detached and semi-detached houses, along with several high-rise apartment buildings.

Before commenting on this award, let me remind the readers that Khaleda Zia’s party considers Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah as their best ally, while the party vehemently promotes anti-Semitism, anti-Hindu and anti-India sentiment. Bangladesh Nationalist Party, during its rule of 2001-2006 had played key role behind the rise of radical Islamic jihadist outfit Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB), which has later declared affiliation with Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). It may also be mentioned here that, BNP has extended fund and patronization to separatist groups in the northeastern part of India and had also supplied them with weapons and explosives. Khaleda Zia’s government had attempted to assassinate Sheikh Hasina on August 21, 2004 through orchestrated grenade attacks on a rally of Awami League in Dhaka. This attack took place at an anti-terrorism rally organized by Awami League in front of its headquarters in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which had left 24 dead and more than 300 injured. Sheikh Hasina was also injured in the attack. The government was also criticized for hurriedly burying two unidentified dead bodies from the terror attack in the middle of the night.

At the instruction of Khaleda Zia and top-brasses of Bangladesh Nationalist Party, including her elder son Tarique Rahman (who has been on run since 2007 skipping imprisonments and criminal charges), Bangladesh Police refused to register any criminal case filed by Awami League over this nefarious attack and only registered a general diary. The BNP government initially refused to hand over bodies of the victims. At the instruction of the Islamist coalition of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami assigned Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Bangladesh Police to foresee the investigation. Later they came up with a concocted story stating an individual named Joj Miah, also known as Jamal Ahmed from Noakhali district along with 14 other members of local terrorist groups had plotted and carried out this attack.

The government of Bangladesh formed a one-man judicial probe led by Justice Joynul Abedin. The Awami League rejected the commission which blamed the attack on India. Dhaka’s leading English newspaper The Daily Star described Abedin as a “shame for the judiciary” in Bangladesh.

In 2009, Awami League came to office and decided to launch a further investigation into the incident and appointed a retired CID official Abdul Kahar Akhand as the person in charge.

In the same year, Abdul Majed Bhat alias Yusuf Bhat gave a confessional statement with the details regarding the source of grenade used in the attack. He claimed that Muzaffar Ahmad Shah of Tehrik-e-Jihad Islami (TEJI) gave the grenades to Maulana Tajuddin to send those to Indian militant groups. Tajuddin, instead of sending those to India, kept those with him. According to Yusuf Bhat, these grenades were later handed over to Mufti Hannan to carry out the attack.

After two years, in 2011, Mufti Hannan gave another confessional statement implicating many big names, mostly BNP leaders and some former officials of the government including Khaleda Zia’s son Tarique Rahman, former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu, former member of parliament Kazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad and some officials of the Home Ministry, police, Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), National Security Intelligence (NSI) and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with involvement in the planning of the bombing.

In the statement, Mufti Hannan claimed that the attack was aimed at destroying the top leadership of Awami League including Sheikh Hasina, and BNP leader Tarique Rahman along with Jamaat-e-Islami’s leader Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid assured them with government support.

Now my comment about Canadian Human Rights International Organization (CHRIO)’s award to Khaleda Zia. After initial investigation and cross-checking several issues with multiple contacts in Canada, it has become crystal clear that Bangladesh Nationalist Party has purchased this fake award to salvage this already bankrupt party. Khaleda Zia does not deserve anything for “promoting” democracy, as her politics solely has been patronizing radical Islamic militancy, terrorism and arson attacks. Her political agendas include inciting anti Hindu and anti-India sentiment in Bangladesh. Her party has been a loyal defender of Hefazat-e-Islam, a group of madrassa teachers and students that denounces democracy and advocates establishment of Caliphate in Bangladesh.

An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, research-scholar, counter-terrorism specialist, and editor of Blitz. Follow him on Twitter Salah_Shoaib

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