Pink Begum’s Pakistan love affair continues

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LOOKEAST EXCLUSIVE

The story goes that BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia refused to join her husband in Meghalaya in 1971 where Major (later general) Ziaur Rahman was commanding the Z force of the Mukti Bahini.

Then strikingly beautiful, Khaleda decided of her own to stay behind in Dhaka and live together with Colonel Asif Nawaz Janjua, who later became Pakistan army chief.

Years later as Prime Minister, she rushed to his Nawaz e Janaza when Janjua died suddenly on 8 January 1993.

Imagine a woman Prime Minister of Bangladesh so very close to a senior Pakistani army officer, who was part of ‘Operation Searchlight’ that led to massacre of tens of thousands of Bengalis and rape of countless Bengali women.

A Pakistani general later quipped during a seminar in London when told that Khaleda had become pro-Indian after Delhi’s backing during 2001 election: ” This is all tactical, but Khaleda is the ‘bhabi’ of our army and also the ‘biwi’ of some of our generals.” (Hamari Fauj Ki Bhabi Hain, Aur Kisi-Kisi General Ki Biwi Bhi Hain).

Imagine a woman Prime Minister of Bangladesh so very close to a senior Pakistani army officer, who was part of ‘Operation Searchlight’ that led to massacre of tens of thousands of Bengalis and rape of countless Bengali women

The general was right, as Delhi discovered to its dismay when the R&AW got a video report from its agent in Dubai about her son Tarique meeting Dawood Ibrahim in presence of the ISI station chief in a Dubai hotel.

So, Modi is so far not making the mistake that Vajpayee made – of trying an alternative in Dhaka. The BNP has however reportedly put together a war chest and is prepared to spend millions to get the BJP to change track and back the ‘Pink Begum’ (as Khaleda is known back home – Golapi).

Now after two terms out of power, Khaleda is falling back on the Pakistan army and its dreaded intelligence wing ISI to return to power.

On 21st September, she visited the Pakistan embassy as special guest on their ‘Defence Day ‘ celebrations – the date deferred from the usual 6th Sept to 21st Sept to ensure wide attendance after summer holidays. Tarique stayed away because he is possibly under local police surveillance after reports of connivance with an attack on Tube (Metro Rail).

Khaleda called upon officials to get Pakistan to back her bid to return to power and oust Hasina. Defence Adviser Commodore Raja Rab-e-Nawaz and ISI Colonel Nadeem Iqbal Khan then quietly took her to a small room and made a call to ISI chief Lt Gen Navid Mukhtar. Mukhtar and Khaleda spoke for 40 minutes on a secure line that was however intercepted – she called for ousting Hasina by force and said as long as Hasina was around, “it was not possible to do anything”. She also insisted that “Pakistan should play a guardian role in Bangladesh’s transition of power.”

Mukhtar told her not to worry. ” Bhabi sab ho jayega, inshallah you will be PM again, the least we can do is to oust the bitch (Hasina). ” He assured Khaleda that ISI has stepped up activities in Bangladesh substantially and ” you will see the results soon”

India’s position on Bangladesh in the rundown to the next election was discussed extensively.

Mukhtar told her not to worry. ” Bhabi sab ho jayega, inshallah you will be PM again, the least we can do is to oust the bitch (Hasina). ” He assured Khaleda that ISI has stepped up activities in Bangladesh substantially and ” you will see the results soon”.

So this conversation intercepted at 6.10GMT in the evening points to what LOOKEAST has reported – the Chief Justice may bring down the government by upholding a petition to declare as illegal the election of 154 MPs and the army steps into the vacuum and run the show with a military backed caretaker.

This was Khaleda’s fourth meeting with Pakistani officials since she landed in London on 15th July – the first with ISI’s Junaid Alam on arrival, the second with Brig Ashfaq, the third with Maj Gen Tareq Gulzar and Maj Gen Numan Zakaria in the house of Ziaur Rahman’s old cousin sister Bilkis Prodhan Juthi at Finchley just before the assassination attempt on Sheikh Hasina.

The ghosts of 1975 are back – so if Hasina has to survive, she has to get loyalists in army, SSF and all security agencies and forces.

Meanwhile Awami League leaders have already warned their party men about ‘deep routed conspiracies’ and ask the present government to step up vigil to protect the Prime Minister.

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