GOVT CHECKING ON AL-QAEDA CLIP
The government will know if the audio message reportedly from al-Qaeda calling on Muslims in Bangladesh to wage jihad against the enemies of Islam is genuine or not within two days, the state minister for foreign affairs has said.
“We have process (to authenticate), but we cannot divulge its (process) details to the media,” Shahriar Alam said at a media briefing at the foreign ministry on Sunday.
“…if it is authentic then we will be able to say it within a day or two,” he added.
He, however, said there were limitations the world over to authenticate such message “clearly, conclusively”.
The junior minister said Bangladesh did not fear any such threat since over the years the country developed “the capability to fight terrorism”.
“We would not tolerate any extremism,” he said.
He, however, said if the investigation confirmed the audio clip’s authenticity, the BNP and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami’s “link with international militancy” will be proved.
Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in the clip interprets Bangladesh’s struggle for independence from Pakistan that has unmistakeable similarity to the Jamaat’s assertion.
He accuses the government of killing ‘thousands of people’ during last year’s crackdown on the violent rally by Hifazat-e Islam at Dhaka’s Motijheel, echoing the claims by the Chittagong-based outfit along with the BNP and the Jamaat.
The audio tape also expresses anger over the trial of suspected war criminals, most of them belonging to Jamaat.
The then Jamaat and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shangha leaders and activists were directly and indirectly involved in genocide, rapes, plundering and arson during the war.
The junior foreign minister said the Jamaat had also opposed Bangladesh’s independence propagating the liberation war as anti-Islamic. “This message matches the Jamaat propaganda”.
Asked whether the al-Qaeda had any network in Bangladesh, Alam said, “Not at all. The network (terrorists) that had existed in the country has been razed to the ground in the last five years”.
On the question of whether the al-Qaeda was being used to create pressure on Bangladesh, Alam said, “This is no pressure because every country has taken a stance against such terrorist outfit.”
“This may be a global plot. But first, we have to determine the authenticity of the audiotape,” he said.
FEBRUARY 17, 2014