Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) is an intelligence agency in Bangladesh that manages to poke it’s nose in everything. Every government since its inception by Ziaur Rahman has abused it to gain an upper hand in the game of ruling Bangladesh. We saw the worst of its excess during the caretaker government–DGFI left all pretense of staying in the background and actively participated in the interrogation and torture of various politicians and journalists, and people from other walks of life.
With offices in every district, an ear on every door and control of the media, DGFI is the invisible government that greatly influences, and in some areas dictates, how Bangladesh’s power-structure operates.
Now that an elected government is in power, the veils of secrecy are being slowly lifted. Mr. Jalil described his torture and demanded in the parliament that DGFI be confined to policing the Army. Sheikh Selim and others described similar treatment and stories.
Yesterday, Rashed Khan Menon, the consummate political insider, demanded a parliamentary investigation of DGFI. He said that DGFI’s media wing controls the media, the political wing forms new political parties, breaks established parties in the name of reform.
So what gives? Are these politicians suddenly becoming fearless and growing backbones, or do they believe that there is very high-level support for finally reigning in DGFI?
The answer lies with Major Gen. (Rtd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique, the security adviser to the prime minister with a full minister’s rank. Gen. Siddique is the brother-in-law of Sheikh Rehana, but for this discussion, one of his other roles is relevant.
Gen. Siddique also happens to be a former director general of DGFI, and according to another retired general, “hates the guts of the current DGFI leadership.”
Of course, he will not lift a finger without the assent of Sheikh Hasina.
So with the pronouncements in the Parliament, is Sheikh Hasina (and her proxy Gen. Siddique) sending a strong signal that DGFI is not immune any more?
Will finally the invisible government’s powers be trimmed back?