Bangladesh Rifles Uprising : A Jihadi Warning

28 02 2009

Source: DIKGAJ’s Blog

I began to write this post on the 26th of December last year, but held it as I thought it might appear too paranoid. Now the drama of the BDR uprising made me rethink that my earlier worry about the real strengths of the Jihadis within the Bangladesh state machinery and armed forces were justified. I have already written at some length about the general long term societal balance of forces within Bangladesh society. Here I have maintained that the forces of Bengali nationalism is slightly weaker than the forces of Islamic retrogression – and it has been so right from the post-47 start of the journey as part of Pakistan.

The immediate background of the BDR uprising could turn out to be a damp squib officially – it will be blamed on long-standing grievances, and “wayward” soldiers. But it takes a greater significance in the light of the recent urging by the emissary of Pakistan to the BD government to drop the proceedings towards war-crimes trials of the Rajakaras and the AlBadrs, Al shams for their atrocities during ‘71. On top of that the AL led government moves ahead with transit and trade agreements with India, a reasonable and pragmatic move on the part of Bangladesh as the country is even now crucially dependent on Indian imports of essential commodities. This draws immediate vehement protests by the nearly decimated BNP, as expected. Just like many political parties in Pakistan, a lot of political careers are made in Bangladesh by inflating up the “demonic” “Hindu” India. However, it is Pakistan’s palpable fear at possible re-exposure of Pakistan’s role in the ‘71 war of liberation that is significant.

Why does Pakistan have to be so paranoid about it ? It is already almost 40 years old – and could be passed off as a historical event, and not redounding on the current regime! There could be question of compensation and fear by a bankrupt Pakistan government. But financial compensation is a lesser worry, given the Pakistan government’s traditional expertise in moving money around meant for one purpose to fuel another pet agenda, and the fact that it can still milk the USA for some time into the near future. With the increasing acceleration of the Pakistani Army and the Taleban coalescing into a neo-Caliphate on the gray borderland between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the now overtly Jihadi Pakistani state can be worried that the war-crimes trials could damage and expose the true character of Jihadi Islam, to a population which has so far proved a safe haven for Jihadi terror to be launched on India. It is the ideological delegitimization that worries the Jihadis of the subcontinent, and the transit agreements could actually cover eventual move towards military agreements between India and Bangladesh to destroy the Jihadis themselves in the eastern part of the subcontinent.

I will primarily characterize this election as a four-cornered struggle for state power in which the forces in order of “strength” are (1) the military establishment (2) the Jamaat (3) the Awami League and associates (the so called “great alliance”) (4) the BNP +non Jamaat associates. The military as per my earlier analysis is in favour of Islamic consolidation of the state regime – in tune with the power base of the military command among the elite of Bangladeshi muslim society, whose prime feudal motivations of gaining and controlling “land” and dominance over society is best served under strengthened Sunni Wahabi authoritarian framework. The military has consistently reasserted its dominance over the state machinery whenever it had felt that its long term strategy of bringing Bangladesh closer to the Islamic axis centred in Saudi Arabia is being threatened – this was why it eliminated Mujibur and even its own – like Jia, or leftist “heretics” like Col. Taher. At present, the prime tool is the Jamaat. As I have mentioned before, the Jamaat will be the key political force which can be used by the military to serve its agenda. The Jamaat was allowed to suffer the least in the anti-corruption drive against the political establishment. To be fair, the military’s weakness for the Jamaat could be coming out of reasons very similar to those that kept the two major political groups also “strangely” weak towards the Jamaat – that all the political elite including the Jamaat share core social networks at the same level and that all the non-Jamaat political elite share political secrets as to activities during the 71 struggle as well as post-Independence that could be used by the Jamaat to manipulate them.

The Jamaat is the direct descendant of the philosophy of Moududi – the ideologue and founder of a strict Wahabi/Sunni interpretation of Islam whose core message therefore almost always inevitably landed up into the domain of cataclysmic confrontation with everything deemed “unIslamic and therefore anti-Islamic”. The top leadership has been accused persistently of war-crimes but they take pride in claiming that apparently none of these accusations could be proved – they can do so, as the Bangladesh military post-Independence ensured (with the help of factions within the “liberators”) that cases/investigations/charges were withdrawn and that the Jamaat were politically rehabilitated. The Jamaat has minuscule vote share, but displays an impact and influence on Bangladesh state power hugely out of proprtion to its apparent electoral strength. The Jamaat will be the most likely stable political Islamic group to receive Saudi and extended Islamic expansionist network support, and this Islamic axis will see Bangladesh and Jamaat’s role as crucial to its overall expansionist agenda of takeover of the subcontinent in the name of Islam. The Jamaat of course has now turned ultra-nationalist and pretends to fight “colonial aggression” which of course as conveniently for Islamic agenda is seen only in India which is portrayed as “Hindu/Kaffir”. Hiding under the ultra-nationalist slogans is of course the mother of all colonialism – the ultimate Jihadi Islamic takeover of not only Bangladesh but the entire subcontinent – an experiment already started by the Taleban in the west of the subcontinent. The recent Mumbai attacks is a signal that Islamic agenda for the subcontinent is intensifying and Indian “war posturing” will be used as a rallying cry and panic button to push further for Islamic consolidation in Bangladesh. (Mumbai Islamic message)

The Jamaat’s strength does not lie in numbers, but the social networks among the elite, the theologians and the international Jihadi and Sunni Wahabi fundamentalism – (1) the military has ensured that it suffered almost nothing in the anti-corruption drives and so will claim themselves as “pure” and untainted compared to the others – and is likely to be rewarded for this by the electorate (2) the various military regimes as well as political ones, by failing to try the culprits of war-crimes and infighting among the “liberators” has ensured that newer generations have far less concerns about what happened almost 40 years ago than other “more pressing” concerns (3) the Islamic propaganda machinery allowed to flourish under the pro-Islam military regimes as well as political forces have been able to increase the rate of Jihadi Islamization of the rural as well as a section of urban Bangladeshi youth – Islam holds several attractions for males especially – it promises all that they biologically desire, consumption, women and power – without having to make the hard effort of intellectual skills development required to compete in a modern knowledge based economy, or having to tolerate modern rights given to women over their sexuality or their bodies. (4) sections of the younger generations are likely to be relatively free of qualms about experimenting with an authoritarian Islamic system which of course at first they would like to believe would be along the lines of Malaysia or Iran- especially since the military has succeeded in discrediting the pre-existing political establishments. All these factors could have been instrumental in repeating the general pattern observable all over the subcontinent – of increasing radicalization of younger recruits who gravitate to the armed forces in Islam dominated countries.

The Awami League represents strongest electoral combine as of date but will have to reckon with the Jamaat. The BNP has taken a bad knock but will not lag far behind the Awami League, as the military would have strong connections with the setup and would like to keep it afloat as a second line of defence and the major political face of the Islamic agenda which will be led from behind by the Jamaat – this is simply a tactic to allow the Jamaat to grow and takeover.

The uprising was most likely to have been carefully planned, with sleepers trained by Pakistan and Jihadi organizations acting in careful coordination to use genuine grievances and liquidate the older generation of commanding officers – a group less likely to be submissive completely to the charms of the Jihadis. The core group has most probably now vanished, and been taken to safe havens maintained by the Jihadis in West Bengal under a tolerant Leftist regime. This was simply a warning, in showing that the force which is on the border of Bangladesh is out of control, and that the Jihadis still hold the keys of state power. It could not have happened unless key elements of the security apparatus allowed it to happen.

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28 02 2009

Source: MEMRI

THE MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Special Dispatch – No. 2265 February 27, 2009

Leading Pakistani Columnist: ‘All Pakistan’s Cities Are Within the Taliban’s Reach – Lahore, Faisalabad, Karachi, Hyderabad, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad’

On February 16, 2009, the Taliban militants and the government of Pakistan‘s North WestFrontierProvince (NWFP) signed a Shari’a-for-peace deal. Under the deal, the Taliban militants led by Maulana Fazlullah have been allowed by Pakistan to establish Islamic Shari’a in the province’s Swat district and broader Malakand region. [1]

A few days before the deal was signed, noted Pakistani columnist, senior journalist, and commentator Nazeer Naji wrote an article in the mass-circulation, Urdu-language newspaper Roznama Jang, titled “Toward Bloodshed.” In it, Nazeer Naji, who lives in Pakistan‘s cultural city of Lahore, warned that the Taliban militants are gradually taking over parts of Pakistan, and that even Islamabad is under threat.

Following are excerpts from the article: [2]

“It is Useless to Discuss Whether Pakistan Came into Being in the Name of Islam or as a Separate Homeland for Muslims; However the Process to Break Up Pakistan [Once Again] Has Started in the Name of Islam

“[In my previous columns I have hinted] at those armed groups who claim to be Islam’s Mujahideen and who have established their own states in different regions of Pakistan. In FATAs [Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border] several administrative units have come into being which are under the control of different warlords [Taliban commanders].

“A separate administration has been established in the Swat [district by the Taliban in the North West Frontier Province, or NWFP]. All big cities of NWFP are under the influence of terrorists to some extent. Hyatabad, a posh area of Peshawar, is being vacated rapidly, as the rich are moving toward Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi – whereas those who cannot afford living costs in these cities are shifting to Peshawar Cantonment or streets in the interior of the city that appear safer than Hyatabad.”

“The Distance Between Swat and Islamabad is Not Much… All Pakistan‘s Cities are Within the Taliban’s Reach – Lahore, Faisalabad, Karachi, Hyderabad, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad

“In a column about Swat written a few days back, I warned that the distance between Swat and Islamabad is not much. Militants operating in the Swat district are active up to the Afghan borders on one hand, while on the other hand, their influence is also spreading in the opposite direction [toward Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi]. The Taliban militants are able to freely enter and leave Mansehra, a district of NWFP on the Punjab border and separated from Islamabad by the Margalla Hills, the mountains surrounding the capital city.

“In a report today, well-informed journalist Hamid Mir discloses that the Taliban leadership has decided to send fighters to Islamabad and has warned Islamic scholars in the federal capital to support the Taliban or leave the city. The Taliban have listed the names of the Islamic scholars who are refusing to support them on their hit list.

“For a long time, I have been expressing the view that all Pakistan’s cities are within the Taliban’s reach. Lahore, Faisalabad, Karachi, Hyderabad, Rawalpindi and Islamabad – indeed, there is no big city that has no madrassa in its populace. These madrassas have hundreds to thousands of students; a large number of them come from backward areas and impoverished families. Even in madrassas, they lead a life of deprivation; these students consider even the ordinary homes of the lower middle classes as wealthy. They think a television and a refrigerator are a luxury.

“This sense of deprivation can create a spirit of hate among them. Someone only needs to light the fire; the Taliban movements can easily use them. They have been inciting the madrassa students to work to establish their dominance in the name of Islam; then these people take the law into their own hands and march on the path to taste the conquering of people.

“Most of the poor youth active in the Taliban movements have indeed been using religion to show their class hatred. When Islam’s name crops up in an issue, every cruelty is seen as legitimate; and from ransacking to slitting throats, they present a reason for every action aimed at spreading terror.

“Manpower is Already Present in Every Madrassa – And Has The Capability, With a Slight Hint, To Turn into a Fighting Taliban Force”

“To my mind, such manpower is already present in every madrassa, and has the capability, with a slight hint, to turn into a fighting Taliban force. Hate for people living a prosperous life already exists in these youth. To them, all those who have been living on more than two loaves of bread have accumulated their wealth illegally. And when they find a pretext to give their wishes free rein in the name of Islam, when they get the power to use arms and rule over people, then it is not easy to stop them. We have already been experiencing this in the FATAs and Swat.

“The Qaed-e-Azam [i.e. the Great Leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan] must have foreseen the present situation when he said that there will be no theocracy in Pakistan. Whenever religion is used to gain control of power and wealth, the champions of religion begin finding ways to justify their power and control by interpreting religion. If politics and state are subservient to the constitution, one can hope to get arguments accepted through logic and reason. But when religion is involved, reason, infidelity and logic are seen as means to discredit religion.

“The issue does not end here; every group starts depicting such thoughts as religion on the basis of which it can lay the foundation of its own interests. What follows is what has been happening in every theocracy: Muslims do not consider it bad to kill another Muslim in the name of Islam.”

“Such a Large Number of Muslims Would Not Have Been Killed Even by Hindus in India, As Have Been Killed by [Their Fellow] Muslims in Pakistan

“If we see the examples of East Pakistan [before its creation as Bangladesh in 1971] and Pakistan’s northwestern [tribal] areas today, we realize that such a large number of Muslims would not have been killed even by Hindus in India, as have been killed by [their fellow] Muslims in Pakistan. This is the necessary result of theocracy.

“We have been trapped in this game. Poverty and ignorance happen to be the biggest sources of power for a theocracy. We have provided this power; and the U.S. and [Pakistani] military dictators, in their attempt to further their own interests and needs, have armed and trained those [the Taliban] who use this power in the name of religion. They have now found a way to establish their own governments too. Al-Qaeda has further expanded their aspirations. They have been using modern technology.

“They have also established infidel [objectives] [to fight against], in the shape of the U.S. Helped by the U.S., they can now declare any one or any party as infidel who wants to stop them in order to establish law and order. They [Taliban militants] have also been exploiting the spirit of [Pakistani] nationalism to further their movements.

“Further Down the Road, [The Taliban] Will Also Try to Establish a Nuclear Islamic Power”

“It is useless to discuss whether Pakistan came into being in the name of Islam or as a separate homeland for Muslims; however, the process to break up Pakistan [once again] has started in the name of Islam.

“Yahya Khan [the former Army chief and president of Pakistan] had together with religious parties led a military raid on East Pakistan in the name of Islam. As a result, East Pakistan became Bangladesh. [Pakistan’s former military dictator] Zia-ul-Haq fought the U.S.’s war in the name of Islam [during the 1980s in Afghanistan] and the same Mujahideen of Islam are now trying to break up Pakistan.

“An Islamic Emirate of Waziristan [in Pakistan’s tribal district] has been established [by Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud], while another is in the offing in the Swat district under a new Emir [Maulana Fazlullah]. Further down the road, they will also try to establish a nuclear Islamic power.

“An international battle front had to be established [by the U.S.] against the war on terror. [We] did not anticipate that this battlefield will be in Pakistan. The bloodiest war in the history is going to begin in our homeland and some say that the fate of Afghanistan too will be decided in Pakistan. It is, however, not clear when this decision will be made. But [when we think of] how and what decision will be made about the fate of Pakistan, different maps emerge in mind…”


[1] Roznama Express (Pakistan), February 17, 2009.

[2] Roznama Jang (Pakistan), February 12, 2009.





COMMENT: The Swat deal is wrong —Shaukat Qadir

28 02 2009

Source: Dailytimes

The Swat deal amounts to the opening of a Pandora’s Box: where will it stop? The other chapters of the Taliban are only waiting to ask for their own ‘Islamic’ government. Is this the beginning of the real Talibanisation of the NWFP?

The Taliban in Pakistan are far from a monolithic structure. There is, at best, a loose union with a disputed leadership and undefined hierarchy. However, the undisputed Taliban leader in Swat is Fazlullah. Pakistan has attempted to strike a peace deal with the Swat Taliban, in return for the imposition of sharia — Islamic law — in Swat. The attempt has been heralded by some, viewed sceptically by others, and condemned by a few. Let us attempt to examine what is wrong with this deal.

To begin with, the government’s deal has been brokered with Sufi Muhammed, Fazlullah’s father-in-law, not with Fazlullah who, despite their relationship (or because of it), is not on the best of terms with Sufi. If Fazlullah accepts Sufi’s terms, it might result in Sufi becoming more powerful; else the endeavour could deteriorate to an internecine battle for turfs, doomed to fail from the outset.

If one vectors into this equation that the Taliban are hated by the population for all that they stand for and can rule only by force, it is obvious that the deal can, at best, offer a breather and no more.

The provincial government, having announced that it is prepared to go the extra mile to ensure the success of this deal, has now announced its intention of arming the local population to fight against the Taliban and that ‘arms not being used against the Taliban would be withdrawn’. How that will be discovered or how the arms, once given, will be recovered remains a mystery. The central government is having second thoughts anyway.

However, irrespective of whether it works or not, this deal is a recipe for disaster, unless we are prepared to hand Islam over to the Taliban and allow them to legalise their violation of every law of the land and every tenet of Islam.

The Quran states again and again that Islam is progressive; even Saudi Arabia that had been living with its archaic laws is attempting to change. Pakistan is, on the other hand, prepared to allow itself to be held hostage to these self-styled saviours of Islam.

I have persistently numbered among those who advocate negotiating with terrorists, though from a position of strength, and that the use of force alone is not the answer. I have continued to quote the IRA and Sein Fenn as an example of erstwhile terrorists who are today negotiating the fate of Ireland with the British government.

However, there is a line beyond which it is not possible for any state to cede its authority. While it is possible to negotiate a mutually acceptable form of government that reflects the aspirations of the people, no state should be prepared to accept a state within a state, which is governed by force, irrespective of the wishes of the governed.

One meaning of the word ‘Islam’ is peace; the Quran forbids its followers to kill innocent people or to take their own lives. However, the Taliban preach that to take one’s own life as a suicide bomber is not only the path to heaven for the bomber, but that he/she is also doing a favour to those killed for, unknowingly, they too will have died in the cause of Allah and will thus go to heaven.

Hazrat Bibi Khadija RA asked the Prophet PBUH for his hand in marriage. Islam permits each woman to choose her mate and seek divorce if unhappy, just as to the male. Yet the Taliban find justification for ‘honour killing’; the killing of disobedient female offspring, and women who choose their own mate or seek divorce against their parents’ wishes.

Islam asks its followers to seek knowledge and educate themselves; one of the most famous sayings of the Prophet PBUH is ‘seek knowledge, even if you have to travel to China for it’. Yet the Taliban condemn knowledge as being un-Islamic: they burn girls’ schools, throw acid on the faces of girls who defy them in persisting to seek knowledge, and murder persistent teachers.

Even if schools in Swat resume classes, what will they teach? If they have their own courts, what justice will they offer? Will not the next generation of Swatis be condemned to become Taliban?

They forget history and declare democracy to be un-Islamic. The first Caliph, Hazrat Abu Bakr RA was deemed to have been nominated by the Prophet PBUH, since he was asked by the Prophet PBUH to lead the Friday prayers when He fell ill. Yet, Abu Bakr RA did not assume his office until the Friday congregation following the death of the Prophet PBUH, when he was accepted unopposed and unanimously by the congregation. The same occurred following the death of Hazrat Abu Bakr RA when Hazrat Omer RA became Caliph. Following Hazrat Omer’s death, Hazrat Ali RA decided to contest the nomination of Hazrat Osman RA, but withdrew when he realised that Hazrat Osman RA was likely to win. What else is an election or democracy?

In fact, Islam is the first democracy in which not only was the Caliph appointed in accordance with the wishes of the people, he was accountable to the people during his rule. Numerous instances are recorded in history when common people challenged ruling Caliphs and had to be satisfied.

Finally, the Swat deal amounts to the opening of a Pandora’s Box: where will it stop? The other chapters of the Taliban are only waiting to ask for their own ‘Islamic’ government. Is this the beginning of the real Talibanisation of the NWFP?

If so, does no one realise that if they are permitted to take over a province, they will find time to consolidate and, some day in the not too distant future, threaten Islamabad, something they are incapable of doing, now or ever, unless the state gives them such an opening in Swat.

This article is a modified version of one originally written for the National





Maoist splinters becoming cause for concern for India too

26 02 2009

By Anand Gurung
The breakaway Maoist groups including the latest one led by fiery Maoist leader Matrika Yadav is not only a cause for concern for the ruling Unified CPN (Maoist) party and the country, but increasingly India too which is reeling under its own version of red terror.
Until recently, the Indian media was abuzz with speculation about breakaway Maoist group in Nepal collaborating with Indian Naxalites (Maoists). However, this serious issue concerning India’s internal security has now started to find its way into the floors of the Indian parliament – the Rajya Sabha.
This became clear after a senior Indian minister Wednesday denied rumors about Maoist splinters in Nepal collaborating with Indian Naxalites as baseless, saying that there is no valid evidence to suggest the same.
“There is no firm evidence of any breakaway Maoist group in Nepal collaborating with Naxalites here,” Indian Home Minister P Chidamabram was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India (PTI).
Replying to a query on the issue during the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, Chidamabram also denied any Naxalite activities in the Indo-Nepal border. He, however, said the government is vigilant and “would take firm action against Naxals”.
The Minister further said the government would welcome and rehabilitate any Naxalite if he/she wants to return to the mainstream.
Chidamabram also said that the aim of Naxalites “is to overthrow an established government through armed struggle”, and they are not for development. “Naxalites are the worst enemy of development as they are targeting schools, telephone towers and other infrastructure,” he said, adding that they are motivated by “misguided” philosophy.
According to PTI, a BJP lawmaker also wanted to know how the government would fight “Left-wing extremism” when it took support of the Left, drawing protests from the Left parties in the Rajya Sabha.
Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has described the rise of Maoists – also called Indian Naxals – as one of the “gravest threats” to India’s internal security
It is worth mentioning here that India had played a major role in engineering the Delhi agreement back in 2006, bringing the underground CPN (Maoist) closer to the agitating seven political parties in Nepal. The alliance led to the overthrow of former king Gyanendra led royal regime and ultimately culminated in the country becoming a republic with the first elected Maoist government in South Asia at the helms.
Political observers say the Maoist insurgency in India is also shaping up as an issue ahead of the Indian general election due by May. The Maoist rebellion is spreading like wild-fire in India, with reports claiming that 22 of the country’s 29 states are affected by it.
The rebels claim to be fighting for the rights of the farmers and the poor who make up the majority in a country with the world’s second largest population. Thousands of people have been killed since the uprising began in a village called Naxalbari in India’s West Bengal state in the late 1960s .
nepalnews.com Feb 26 09





Pakistan evasive on ‘army link’ to Mumbai attacks

26 02 2009

NEW DELHI: The 11,000 page chargesheet into the 26/11 Mumbai attacks which was presented in a Mumbai court on Wednesday has thrown up some interesting findings.
Investigations have revealed that the VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) calls made by the 26/11 terrorists to their handlers have been traced to a serving colonel of the Pakistani army.
However, the Pakistan army downplayed its link to the Mumbai terror carnage and said that the chargesheet filed on Wednesday is very vague on the link.
Speaking to TIMES NOW, Brigadier Azmat Ali, Pak army spokesperson said, “Chargesheet does not accurately identify armyman allegedly linked to 26/11. There are many Colonel Sadatullahs in the Pakistan army. We are trying to find out if this is true or it is all a media speculation.”
Though the chargesheet filed does not spell out the Pakistan army link explicitly, it does name the officer as Colonel R Sadatullah from the SCO.
The SCO, army sources say, stands for Special Communications Organization, a telecommunications agency of the Pakistani government which is run by officers from the army’s signals corps.
Another name mentioned in the chargesheet is that of `Major General sahab’ whose name crops up repeatedly in the taped conversation between the terrorists and their handlers.





Bangladesh Rifles: border guardians with a grievance

26 02 2009

Bangladesh Rifles: border guardians with a grievance
1 hour ago
DHAKA (AFP) — The Bangladesh Rifles, whose troops have mutinied in the capital Dhaka and elsewhere, is a well-armed paramilitary unit tagged as the country’s first line of defence.
With a total force of nearly 70,000 troops, the BDR’s primary task is to patrol and secure Bangladesh’s 4,000-kilometre (2,500-mile) border with both India and Myanmar.
As a border unit, it is highly involved in anti-smuggling operations, and its mandate further requires that it lend support to the military and civilian government in the event of war.
It has also been called in to assist police during times of national unrest.
The average BDR trooper earns about 70 dollars a month — the equivalent to a very low government clerk and a salary that has long been a source of simmering discontent within the ranks.
The revolt, which began at the BDR headquarters in Dhaka early Wednesday, was reportedly triggered by the refusal of senior officers to consider appeals for more pay, subsidised food and holidays.
Most of the officers are seconded to the Rifles from the army for a tenure of two to four years, and the BDR troopers have complained that this makes them less than receptive to their particular grievances.
Some have accused the officers of skimming off their salaries and appropriating food supplies meant for distribution to the poor.
Colonel Mujibul Haq, the third highest ranked BDR officer with a special responsibility for food distribution, was killed during Wednesday’s revolt and his body was found dumped in a drain outside the guards’ barracks.
Some of the mutineers who aired their grievances to television crews they invited into their HQ, directly accused the head of the BDR, Major General Shakil Ahmed, of making millions of dollars by stealing money from food funds.
M. Shahiduzzaman, a Dhaka university professor and security expert, said the complaints of corruption were widespread.
“I have heard stories from some honest officers about their colleagues who have become extremely rich,” Shahiduzzaman said.
“In contrast, an ordinary guard doesn’t get decent pay or food and spends a lot of time living in harsh, remote areas,” he said.
The BDR can trace its roots back to the late 18th century when the colonial British rulers recruited locals for a border force, which in time became known as the Eastern Frontier Rifles.
After independence from Britain and the partition of the sub-continent, it was renamed the East Pakistan Rifles.
During the struggle for independence from Pakistan, most of the troops revolted against their Pakistani overseers, and the current BDR was formed in 1972 following the creation of Bangladesh.
While the BDR is officially under the control of the Home Ministry, the regular army exerts a powerful influence through its role in training and running the force.




Pakistan paid 6 million dollars to Taliban for ceasefire

25 02 2009

Source: Rediff.com

February 25, 2009 03:30 IST
The Taliban [Images] in Pakistan’s restive Swat valley received US $ 6 million in compensation from the government after agreeing to a ceasefire with security forces for an indefinite period, a media report said on Tuesday.

The militants agreed to lay down arms and endorse a peace deal between the government and religious hardliner Sufi
Mohammad to impose Shariah or Islamic laws in Swat in exchange for the payment, Italian news agency Adnkronos International reported quoting security sources.

“The amount has been paid through a backchannel,” a senior security official told AKI on condition of anonymity.

“It is compensation for those who were killed during military operations and compensation for the properties destroyed by the security forces. In fact, negotiations for this package were finalised well before Maulana Sufi Mohammad signed a peace deal.”

The security official said the amount was delivered from a special fund of President Asif Ali Zardari [Images]. All of Pakistan’s tribal areas come under President’s jurisdiction and a special aid package, including a donation from the US, was designated for the region by the President’s office and distributed through the Governor’s office in North West Frontier Province, the report said.

“Some other smaller amounts are also under negotiation, which shall also be delivered soon,” the official said. The Taliban in Swat today extended for an indefinite period a 10-day ceasefire announced by them last week. An agreement for enforcing Shariah in Swat was reached between authorities and Sufi Mohammad’s group, Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e- Shariah Mohammadi, last week.

The deal came after months of fierce fighting in which hundreds of civilians and militants were killed and 500,000
people displaced. The Taliban endorsed the deal after Sufi Mohammad held discussion with militant leader Maulana