DHAKA: Ahead of the general elections in Bangladesh, the opposition in the country – the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally, the Jamaat-e-Islami – finds itself in troubled waters.
The previous BNP-Jamaat government in Bangladesh in 2004 had supplied weapons to the rebel outfit from Assam – ULFA.
The weapons were allegedly brought from China and supplied to the ULFA.
Bangladesh’s high court bench will hear an appeal on the death sentences for the convicts in the 2004 arms haul case on October 18.
Notably, top leaders of the previous BNP-Jamaat government in Bangladesh, including two ministers, were convicted for involvement in the case.
THE 2004 ARMS HAUL CASE
10 trucks full of weapons were seized in April 2, 2004, despite suspected efforts of certain “influential quarters” for their safe passage to ULFA in the presence of its military wing chief Paresh Barua during the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-Jamaat coalition government.
As many as 4,930 sophisticated firearms of different types, 840 rocket launchers, 300 rockets, 27,020 grenades, 2,000 grenade-launching tubes, 6,392 magazines and 11.41 million bullets were recovered.
A special court in Chittagong handed the death sentence to Tareq Rahman, son of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, Matiur Rahman Nizami, Jamaat top leader Ali Ahsan Muzahid, Lutfuzzaman Babar and the then chief of the two intelligence agencies, Brigadier General (retd) Abdur Rahim and Major General (retd) Rezzakul Haidar Chy.
The court will also announce its verdict on Bangladesh Nationalist Party de facto chief Tarique Rahman, staying in London for more than a decade to evade punishment after conviction for his involvement in the August 24, 2004, grenade attack on Chief Minister Sheikh Hasina leaving the latter injured and killing 30 Bangladesh Awami League leaders and activists.
Tareq Zia and Lutfuz Zaman Babar, the paid agents of Inter-Services Intelligence, are appealing against the death sentence in both cases.
Tareq met with ‘D’ company in Dubai, before the grenade attack on Hasina, said close associates of Tareq to IANS requesting anonymity.
Following the upcoming election in 2023, the opposition BNP and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami have been embroiled in fresh controversy.