Dhaka to seek help from neighbours to tackle militancy

April 23rd, 2009 - 12:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, April 23 (IANS) Bangladesh has said it will seek help from neighbouring countries in its fight against militancy.
A statement in this regard came from State Minister for Home Tanjim Ahmed Sohel Taj, who is heading a 17-member committee to coordinate action against militants and mobilise public opinion against their activities.

Sohel Taj, although a junior minister and first-term lawmaker, enjoys proximity to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The Daily Star Thursday quoted home ministry sources as saying that the committee would evaluate the procedure for investigation into all major subversive acts carried out in the country.

“It will collect information, analyse those and issue necessary directives to combat militancy,” Sohel Taj told media.

He said the committee would also devise strategies to fight militancy. It will take necessary initiatives and seek the help of neighbouring countries to track down the Bangladeshis.

Dhaka is perturbed about the leadership provided to some of the outfits by those who fought as Mujahideens in the 1980s war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Sohel Taj said major bomb blasts, grenade attacks and killings in the country will be given priority as investigation into the cases had been diverted in the past.

He said the home ministry will produce a complete report on militancy in the next cabinet meeting to be convened by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on her return from a visit to Saudi Arabia.

Bangladesh faces a serious problem from an array of Islamist militant outfits.

Their number and strength increased rapidly during the Khaleda Zia’s regime (2001-07), who shared power with Islamist parties.

Four bodies were proscribed after protests at home and an international outcry.

Security experts have said that Bangladeshi Islamist militants coordinate their activities with bodies in Pakistan, India and Nepal.

India says it has traced some of the major explosions to groups based in Banglaesh. Dhaka has denied it and has sought evidence.

Sheikh Hasina had made fighting militancy a major political plank in last December’s election. Subsequently, she has called poverty as “the biggest enemy”, indicating that militancy was born out of poverty.

She and her associates have blamed Islamist militants and their political patrons for the mutiny by the troopers of the Bangladesh Rifles in February.

She twice rejected home ministry reports on militancy when placed before the cabinet, terming them “incomplete”.

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