Zia asks Hasina to quit

Friday, February 25, 2011

DHAKA - Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia Friday asked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to “resign immediately” and demanded a mid-term poll.

Zia utilised the second anniversary of the 2009 mutiny by the country’s border guards to demand Hasina’s resignation. The former prime minister said the government must resign “to avoid any disgraceful departure”.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader made the demand as the country mourned the killings of army officers by border guard troopers.

The Feb 25-26 mutiny that shook Bangladesh has been the cause of serious confrontations between the two political rivals.

Hasina has alleged that Zia visited trouble spots during the mutiny “in a car with tinted glasses”.

Last year, the Hasina government had Zia evicted from a house the BNP leader had lived in for over three decades. Hasina said it was needed to build homes for families of the 57 army officers who were killed in the mutiny.

The Hasina government has made veiled allegations about the opposition’s involvement in the mutiny. But two official probes into the mutiny have not touched upon the political aspects of the events.

The government Friday said that all those suspected of involvement, besides 1,065 convicted so far, would be punished.

Fifty-seven army officers on deputation to the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) as Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) was then known, were among the 74 people killed in the mutiny that left the borders with India and Myanmar virtually unguarded.

Besides trial by special courts of thousands of personnel who had abandoned their posts and taken up arms, the government has also moved to provide stringent punishment for personnel of all its para-military organisations that have in the past witnessed rebellions.

Home Minister Sahera Khatun told media that the trial of the suspected mutineers which is being held in BGB special courts will be completed soon. She also said a complete chain of command has been established to obviate mutinies in future.

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