Hasina orders fresh probe into terror attacks in Bangladesh

January 20th, 2009 - 12:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Jan 20 (IANS) Newly elected Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ordered fresh probes into terror attacks, including an attempt on her life, by suspected Islamist militants as the nation prepares for a coordinated effort to combat terrorism.Hasina juxtaposed the twin problem at the cabinet meeting she chaired, targeting in the process her political rivals - former prime minister Khaleda Zia and her Islamist allies who governed the country from 2001 to 2006, The Daily Star newspaper said Tuesday.

Major terror attacks, explosions and grenade attacks that occurred during this period, allegedly under the patronage of Zia’s ministers and lawmakers, will be probed.

At the cabinet meeting, Hasina, who is now under public pressure to fulfil her party’s election pledges, stressed on forming an anti-terrorism task force and sought regional and international cooperation to that end.

“It’s not possible to curb terrorism alone. United efforts are needed to tackle the problem,” the prime minister was quoted as saying by her press secretary Abul Kalam Azad who briefed the media on the proceedings of the cabinet meeting.

Hasina-led Awami League mooted a regional task force on terrorism before the polls and the same has been proposed by her government.

It has been welcomed by the US. Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will be discussing it during his Dhaka visit next month.

Shown reports of the terror attacks at home, Hasina expressed her dissatisfaction and directed the home ministry to return with detailed findings and indicate the masterminds.

General perception is that Islamist outfits stepped up their activities after 9/11 and targeted religious minorities and political opponents.

The Zia regime denied their existence but acted after an international outcry and banned some of the bodies, including Harkat-ul-Jihad Mujahideen (Huji) and Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

Twenty-one Awami League leaders and workers died on Aug 21, 2004 at a Dhaka rally when grenades were thrown from nearby mosques. Hasina was fired upon, but escaped when whisked away in a bullet-proof vehicle.

Bangladesh also witnessed 500 explosions across the country in August 2005.

Bomb attacks also killed former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria, and severely wounded former British high commissioner Anwar Chowdhury, while a string of suicide attacks in several districts killed judges, lawyers and cops.

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