Vol. 5 Num 1016 Tue. April 10, 2007  
Front Page

Hasina says she will face situation on her return

Awami League (AL) will find out the reasons behind the filing of the extortion case against its President Sheikh Hasina in the changed political situation.

"We are trying to find out the reasons behind the filing of the case now as the complainant did not file the case in the last five years when a different government was in power," AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil told The Daily Star last night. Jalil however refused to comment any further on the issue.

After the news of the filing of the case spread last night, hardly any top leader of AL or its allies in the 14-party coalition made any comment about it and remained mostly tight-lipped.

However, AL Presidium Member Kazi Zafarullah termed the case 'definitely a conspiracy'.

"The filing of the case at this time is very suspicious and the allegation will not be believable to anyone at home or abroad as the complainant did not file the case when an elected government was in power during the last five years," Zafarullah, a close aide to Hasina told The Daily Star.

AL President Sheikh Hasina also termed the filing of the extortion case against her 'a huge conspiracy' against AL, according to an AL source, who claimed to have talks with Hasina over cellphone last night immediately after the filing of the case.

Hasina, now on a visit to the US, reacted sharply after she was informed of the matter last night (Bangladesh time).

"We have informed Hasina about the filing of the case against her," said an AL source, preferring not to be named. The source said Hasina told them that the case was filed against her as part of an 'ongoing conspiracy' and she will face it after returning home soon.

"Everything will be okay on my return," the source quoted Hasina to The Daily Star. He also said the AL chief will return to Bangladesh in the last week of the month if everything remains normal.

A number of conspiracies had been plotted against AL earlier, but no one could harm the party, the source quoted Hasina as saying. This time also the conspirators will not be able to harm AL, said the source adding that he will talk to Hasina again to inform her about the latest situation following the filing of the case.

Meanwhile, a number of top AL leaders kept their cellphones switched off. AL Presidium Members Amir Hossain Amu and Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, a cousin of Hasina, did not receive phone calls yesterday despite repeated efforts to call them.

AL Presidium Member Tofail Ahmed would not comment on the matter since he had claimed that he had not been informed about the filing of the case.

Presidium Member Suranjit Sengupta told The Daily Star that he will comment on the issue after the news is published in newspapers. "Let the news be published in newspapers, then I will comment. Otherwise my comments will be premature," Suranjit said.

Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) President Hasanul Haque Inu told The Daily Star that the caretaker government should look into the context of the filing of the case and should take necessary steps.

Asked whether there was any political motive or conspiracy behind the filing of the case, Inu, also a key-leader of the AL-led 14-party coalition, said he will first let the government unearth the facts through investigation and then he will comment on it.