Recently, a video report of international news channel Al Jazeera on Bangladesh titled as ‘All the Prime Minister’s Men’ has been the talk of the country. The report tried to link Bangladeshi Prime Minister to the brothers of Chief of Army Staff General Aziz Ahmed but failed to do so based on the shown proofs.
Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League government has been in the power for consecutive three terms and the people of Bangladesh bestowed their trust upon her due to praiseworthy development works of her government. Country’s largest opposition, the BNP-Jamaat alliance, who had literally moved off-field due to their failing political activities are very pumped up with the report but planning their activities based on that will be potentially another failure of them as the people directly or indirectly have rejected the effort of Al Jazeera.
The Al Jazeera report showed that, the four brothers of the Chief of Staff General Aziz are all criminals among whom one was killed by the rivals, two were sentenced for lifetime imprisonment for murder of a rival and one was sentenced to death for the murder of the same person. The one, sentenced to death, was pardoned by the current President and other two are living in exile in Malaysia and Hungary.
The report was based on Haris Ahmed, who is currently in Hungary and allegedly controlling different government works especially purchase and contracts of the army with the help of his brother General Aziz. There were shown discussions and voice records of both General Aziz and Haris Ahmed where they claimed that during the late ’80s the Ahmed brothers served as the personal bodyguard of PM Hasina while the political situation was completely adverse. Few pictures of Ahmed brothers standing behind the PM at that period was shown as proof.
Now, General Aziz and his brother Haris claimed through that voice records and conversations that, due to gratitude, PM Hasina is allowing the Ahmed brothers to work free. Haris also claimed that, the Police and RAB are at his service along with the ministers of Bangladesh. Moreover, it also showed that, Haris moved to Hungary with false documents and he moves freely into Bangladesh as he attended the marriage of the army chief’s son, where the President of Bangladesh was also present.
Most importantly, the report focused on a deal of purchasing spyware machineries from Israel for illegal surveillance of mostly political rivals. Notably, Bangladesh, being the fourth largest Muslim country and committed to the Palestinian cause has no diplomatic ties with Israel. The report seemed like a cinema and we must say was very entertaining but was based on inadequate proofs.
The report was full of flaws. First of all, all the people related to the investigation had ill backgrounds. David Bergman, an international journalist, was their key journalist with analysis and opinion. He, on several instances, was alleged to stand for the anti-Bangladesh opinion. He was penalized by the Bangladeshi court also. He also challenged the death toll during the liberation war of Bangladesh. He worked for different newspapers and online news portals but could not sustain for his anti-Bangladesh position. He is also the son of Barrister Kamal Hossain, top leader of Jatiyo Oikyofront containing BNP and Jamaat.
Samiul Ahmed Khan, the main character of the video report, is a completely heinous character. He was involved with different unethical works from the very tender age and was even rusticated from his school. He conducted unethical works under the banner of his firm during the BNP-Jamaat regime. His statements should not be the basis of an investigation against a nation. Other characters of the report have no significance to be used on such an investigation.
The report had nothing to involve Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with the Haris Ahmed and his convicted brothers. There is no pictures or documents relating her to the criminals since the first term of her as PM of the country back in 1996 other than the claim of Haris and the so-called voice of General Aziz Ahmed. On the other hand, General Aziz Ahmed is a decorated army officer and now the Army Chief of Staff. All his brothers were on the wrong path during the political turmoil of ’80s but he, from the very beginning, chose a solid path to serve his country. We should appreciate him for reaching the top position of army.
The report also focused on purchase of spyware from Israel. But there was no solid proof of that from Al Jazeera. They quickly flashed some unauthenticated documents and no ties could actually be established. This was same for Haris’s false documents. Anyone can avail forged documents in Bangladesh by spending money. For example, many Rohingya refugees were found availing Bangladeshi NID. General Aziz Ahmed need not help his brother to get those false documents. Many top criminals of Bangladesh are in exile in different countries with false documents.
From all aspects, this report seemed like a propaganda against Bangladesh and it is not the first attempt from Al Jazeera to do so. On different occasions, the channel presented anti-Bangladesh report which seemed like against our independence and in favor of terrorism and extremism, which is the base of this channel. Absence of extremism, fundamentalism and terrorism in Bangladesh under the farsighted leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina seems to frustrate them.
Unfortunately many international news agencies and channels do not appoint good journalists while reporting on countries like Bangladesh and there is no central reporting. But Bangladesh have come far in terms of economy, growth and reputation. Hence, they should become more serious while reporting on Bangladesh in the future while monitoring centrally as creating propaganda is not going to be successful anymore.
Many assumed that this report, actually a propaganda, will work as a boost for our most ineffective opposition BNP-Jamaat alliance, who have got isolated from people during the last decade due to their absence from any people’s agenda. But unfortunately, the people of Bangladesh rejected the propaganda. As soon as the report hit the media, BNP started declaring activities like holding public rallies in six cities, demanding fair and credible polls. BNP is yet to realize that, it is not the duty of Bangladeshi people to bring them back to power.
There were several issues of the people during the last decade like; the current COVID-19 pandemic, different economic issues like; inflation, price hike of commodities and utilities, increasing taxes, reserve theft along with different sensational crimes, spread of drugs etc. But BNP-Jamaat alliance was never active on people’s issues and never spoke to ensure people’s welfare and rights. Awami League and BNP are the two largest political parties of Bangladesh. BNP, rather than organizing their party, uses Jamaat, Hefajat, other extremists or international lobbyists to achieve their political agenda. They must realize that the Bangladeshi people are not foolish.
Unfortunately, people are not going to trust BNP-Jamaat and fight for them. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina not only became a people’s leader but also a global leader during the last decade. She even demands for an effective opposition party for the welfare of the Bangladeshi people. Even during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, she led Bangladesh with valor to keep the economy ongoing while ensuring that Bangladesh becomes one of the first developing country to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Her achievements are numerous.
As a Bangladeshi, we, along with the opposition parties should all work to foil any propaganda against Bangladesh. We must focus on our national progress and people’s welfare. Bangabandhu’s dream of ‘Golden Bangla’ should be the dream of every Bangladeshi. Eyeing on the 50 years of our independence, we must promise to achieve that dream. Hence, we hope BNP-Jamaat will restrain from their attempt to bank on the Al Jazeera propaganda and will focus on people’s welfare.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and
Research Centre (DRC)