He is not John Bolton with unlimited resources. But he has been playing an effective role not only in ensuring the ruling party is power against a series of conspiracies from home and abroad. In some cases, he is not hesitating in taking risks of his own life for the sake of proving his total loyalty to the Prime Minister. And that has already turned him into a prime enemy of the enemies of the Bangladeshi Prime Minister and the Pakistani espionage agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI). During the last tale of 2013, when many of the top analysts in the world were clearly predicting fall of the ruling party, this man was not leaving any stone untouched to ensure, none of the conspiracies of the enemies of Bangladesh works and he has very efficiently played the role of a true captain in not only salvaging the ruling party Bangladesh Awami League from a potential catastrophe but also has ensured a foolproof security throughout the country when major opposition – Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its political darling Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (JIB) decided to go on the street instead of participating in the polls. Many critics say January 5, 2014, general election in Bangladesh was not free and fair as it was not participated by the main opposition. But, they never say, it was a constitutional obligation for the government to hold the election on time in order to avoid any unconstitutional consequence.
Much before this January-2014 general election, teachers and students of Hefazat-e-Islami Bangladesh (HIB), an organization of the teachers and students of the Qaomi madrassa [Koranic school] came on the street demanding proclamation of Sharia rule in Bangladesh. They had secret backing from the Pakistani espionage agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), while they also were guided by several controversial individuals like Mahmudur Rahman [acting editor of vernacular daily Amar Desh], Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh and even some of the top leaders of Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Mahmudur Rahman made the blueprint of stating an Iran-type Islamist coup in Bangladesh thus toppling-down the ruling party and push Bangladesh towards the fate of another Iran – if not even worst. Rahman knew, in a country of 170 million people, it was very easy to attain support from the masses by exhibiting Sharia rule a much better choice than democracy. But the Western policymakers were either ignorant or unaware of this plain fact. When Western nations were demanding the continuation of democracy in Bangladesh through free, fair and participatory election, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its political darling Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh were thinking of transforming Bangladesh either into a chaotic nation or a nation ruled by an odd conglomerate of the pro-Islamist and antisemitic Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh and Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh. Mahmudur knew, secularism would not find a better position in a country, where most of the 170 million population either are heavy with the pro-Islamist mindset or to some extent preferring Sharia rule over democracy. Should the conspirators become successful, by now, Bangladesh would have definitely turned into one of the worst challenges to the West as well as to the secularist nations including India.
Ever since Bangladesh Awami League came to power in 2009 through a landslide victory, Pakistani espionage agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) has tried in multiple ways in somehow toppling down the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Because ISI top brasses never could feel comfortable either with Sheikh Hasina or with her secularist, Bangladesh Awami League. For ISI, it was a matter of challenge to topple-down the sitting government by hook or crook. With this mission in mind, Pakistani espionage agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) was spending millions of dollars both in Bangladesh and abroad. But, nothing worked, just because of extremely effective, dynamic and timely strategies adopted by the Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, Major General (Retired) Tarique Ahmed Siddique.
Unfriendly media catering misleading information:
This December, Bangladesh is scheduled to hold the general election to elect a government for another five years. Although the current coalition government led by Sheikh Hasina has made the immense contribution in improving country’s economic status from the Under Developed to Developed; the unfortunate and bitterest truth is this government already has become extremely unpopular at home and abroad. In the eyes of the international community, Sheikh Hasina government is seen as the most repressive, ruthless and to some extent illegitimate. Especially in the recent days, the government’s image has been badly affected because of the ongoing repression on the students [who came on the street demanding road safety]. International media are not seeing such actions positively and gradually it is putting Bangladesh into isolation.
Bangladesh authorities are shown in a very negative manner to the international community. During this crucial moment, Indian media are not showing any due courtesy towards Bangladesh. Instead, they too are showing hostility by, for example, portraying Sheikh Hasina as the ‘most unpopular’ leader in Bangladesh. Indian Express newspaper even forecasted that Bangladesh may go under total authoritarian rule should Sheikh Hasina succeed in winning a third consecutive term. It means they aren’t too willing to see the further continuation of this government. On the other hand, Indian policymakers also are not interested in letting Sheikh Hasina a third consecutive term as this would actually be a burden to them. Once Sheikh Hasina wins a third consecutive term, she will become much stronger and would even further consolidate her position. She may then put certain international pressure on India in getting several unsettled issues resolved. Although the Western nations, especially the Trump administration are not seeing Sheikh Hasina in a positive eyes [because of her blind support towards Palestine and her foreign policy, which is in some cases a ditto to that of Iran], it is very much anticipated that, Sheikh Hasina may take several drastic measures in seeing a dramatic improvement in Dhaka-Washington relations.
According to political analysts, any dramatic improvement of Dhaka-Washington relations may be a ‘mission impossible’ but still, an effective move from the Bangladesh side would definitely turn this ‘mission impossible’ into possible. For attaining this, Dhaka will need to reshuffle its Middle East policy – make warmer and deeper ties with Riyadh instead of Tehran. Moreover, under the changed global scenario, Bangladesh needs to walk out from its policy towards Israel and even take an effective step in lifting the travel ban. This certainly will help Bangladesh is getting some reliable and effective allies in the world.
If we keep eyes on the international media, very unfortunately, there is tons of negative propaganda or contents against the ruling party and Bangladesh, instead of anything positive. Certainly, it is a total failure of the press sections of Bangladesh missions in different countries as well as the Media Advisor to the Prime Minister and the Information Ministry. Some ministers of the government are equally responsible for giving birth to unwarranted controversies, which against is tarnishing the image of the government and even the personal image of the Prime Minister.
Bangladeshi militancy group going international!
According to Bangladesh’s largest vernacular daily the Prothom Alo, Bangladeshi militancy group Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) has already formed an alliance with Ansar Al Islamand are now looking for joining hands with Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). Should this turn into a turned into a reality, JMB-AQIS nexus will pose a grave threat to Bangladesh, India, the region and even the world.
Being a counterterrorism specialist, I know, during the past twelve years, JMB has secretly gained strength – both financially and militarily. Since 2009, this organization has been secretly recruiting convicted members of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), a paramilitary border guard. These BDR men were convicted for taking part in a massacre in 2009 (February 25-26) inside the Pilkhana Head Quarters of BDR, killing 57 bright officers of Bangladesh Armed Forces as well as a physical and sexual assault on the female family members of the unfortunate officer (even children were not spared). This massacre took place just within the first 60 days of Sheikh Hasina’s government in power and there were extreme risks of the government being ousted through a military coup. But, then Defence Adviser to the Prime Minister, Major General (Retired) Tarique Ahmed Siddique played a crucial and key role not only saving the country from going under another military rule but also had saved the government from a premature ending.
During my days in the prison, (from November 8, 2012, to July 29, 2018); I have personally witnessed as to how the members of BDR are very easily getting radicalized and joining hands with JMB. Some of these BDR men even are donating a huge sum of money by selling properties, while others are taking the secret instruction from the JMB high command in spreading seeds of jihad throughout the country. I can cite here the example of BDR soldier Abul Bashar (hailing from Dhamrai area), who not only has become the top coordinator of JMB inside the prison but also has been donating millions of Taka, collecting weapon and getting under-trial or convicted prisoners radicalized. Bashar openly proclaims himself as a fan of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. For the sake of holding secret meetings with the JMB men inside the prison, Bashar is using the influence of one Partha, deputy inspector general of prison in staying alone in a room. This room, located at the Condemned Cell at Kashimpur Central Jail (Part-1) is being used for showing videos on making of bombs as well as jihadist activities. I have personally witnessed as to how just one Bashar has succeeded in getting almost seventy percent of his inmates extremely radicalized. They even are planning a jail escape from Kashimpur Central Jail (Part 1, 2 and 4) latest by November 2018. JMB wants to begin maximum offensives in Bangladesh from the last week of November with the ulterior motive of putting the ruling party in extreme jeopardy. Security Adviser to the Prime Minister and country’s intelligence agencies are in the total dark about such dangerous preparations of JMB. For the sake of national security and for the greater interest of the nation, individuals like Abul Bashar should be immediately separated from JMB affiliation and he should even be put into isolated prison. On the other hand, DIG prison, Parthha should be brought under close scanner so that he cannot exert his influence in letting Abul Bashar almost openly meeting JMB men and discuss jihadist plot on a regular basis. I have seen, prison authorities are purchased by the Islamist militancy group in exchange of a hefty sum of monthly payment thus paving the way of the spread of radical Islamic militancy within the prisons in a faster pace than our imagination.
Can Tarique Ahmed Siddiquee succeed this time?
This truly is a million dollar question. As the ruling party in Bangladesh is not in good terms with the United States and Saudi Arabia, it is most likely that Washington and Riyadh either may remain totally silent or become extremely active in ensuring the change of the government in December this year. For Major General (Retired) Tarique Ahmed Siddique, the situation this time would be a bit difficult if the United States and Saudi Arabia do not change the mind on the government of Sheikh Hasina and fully realize a plain fact that Bangladesh will become another Iran – if not worst, should Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its political darlings return into power.