[An E-Bangladesh report.]
Bangladesh’s military intelligence agency has engineered a leadership takeover in BNP — one of the largest political parties in the country — after holding 6 out of the 14 standing committee members hostage at gun point for several hours. In a dramatic turn of events, former finance minister M Saifur Rahman has declared himself acting chairperson and Hafiz Uddin Ahmed acting secretary general of the party.
Meanwhile, seating BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain has disappeared from a hospital in Dhaka. Unconfirmed reports say that Delwar and BNP chairperson’s adviser ASM Hannan Shah were abducted by intelligence operators. Both were last seen with major ranking intelligence officers who surrounded them.
In an email to E-Bangladesh, a highly placed source close to pro-Khaleda Zia faction of BNP detailed how a DGFI [Directorate General of Forces Intelligence] team led by two of its most influential deputy director generals — Brigadier Generals ATM Amin and Chowdhury Fazlul Bari — held top BNP leaders hostage to engineer a coup:
Tonight two DGFI officers Brigadier General Chowdhury Fazlul Bari and Brigadier General ATM Amin rounded up 6 out of 14 standing committee members of BNP in the house of Mr. Saifur Rahman. The two Brigadier Generals are reportedly forcing Mr. Saifur Rahman to take over the post of acting chairperson and make Mr. MK Anwar secretary general and strip Mr. Khandaker Delwar from his present post. They are also proposing to bring back Mr. Mannan Bhuiyan back in the party and keep him in the standing committee.
So far, Mr. Saifur Rahman has refused to accept this proposal. So have Dr. RA Gani, Mr. Shamsul Islam and Tanvir Ahmed Siddique. Mr. Saifur has also questioned the very presence of Mannan Bhuiyan, the expelled secretary general. The DGFI men are holding them at gun point and want it to be done by tonight.
Earlier, last night, DGFI team went to Delwar’s place and threatened to arrest his sons and daughters and imprison him for life if he did not resign from his post.
This has happened after General Moeen’s return from abroad. He reportedly was angry at Bari and Amin for delaying this plan so far. The civilian part of the caretaker government is helplessly watching this event as a spectator only.
Another BNP leader has pointed out to an E-Bangladesh correspondent that the coup “is an absolute violation of the party [BNP] constitution.” “On many counts. Standing committee meeting can not be convened without chairperson’s order, so the meeting that took place was illegal. There is no provision of ‘acting chairperson’ or ‘acting secretary general’ plus nobody in the party has the authority to nullify any decision by the chairperson.”
Earlier, vernacular daily Amader Shomoy, regarded by many as a DGFI mouthpiece, scooped about a “dramatic change” in BNP. News agency bdnews24.com reported about the meeting at M Saifur Rahman’s Gulshan residence that started Monday evening: “to reach conciliation between the two factions of the troubled party.”
As Saifur emerged from the meeting he told newsmen at a hastily arranged midnight press briefing, “I have been made the acting chief of the party in the absence of the BNP chairperson because I am the most senior leader of the party