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Bangladesh's Zia accused of links with top militant

Khaleda Zia and her family has been accused of patronising Sheikh Abdur Rahman, chief of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh.

india Updated: Nov 23, 2006 15:36 IST

Begum Khaleda Zia, Bangladesh's prime minister till last month, and her politician son Tareq Rahman have been accused of having "close links" with an Islamist militant, as the campaign for the parliamentary polls in January hots up.

Retired Colonel Oli Ahmed, who left Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to form the Bangladesh Liberal Democratic Party in October, accused the Zia family of patronising Sheikh Abdur Rahman, chief of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) "under external design".

News Today newspaper that reported his speech at a rally did not elaborate on "external design", a charge typical of political rhetoric in Bangladesh.

Sheikh Abdur Rahman is one of the seven JMB leaders sentenced to death for murdering two judges. Their appeal is pending before the Supreme Court.

Accusing Zia of harbouring militants, Ahmed said: "Because of clandestine relationship with Tareq and his mother, Sheikh Abdur Rahman and his associates are enjoying the hospitality of a jamai (son-in-law) in the condemned cell."

Ahmed, who won the highest gallantry award in the 1971 liberation war against Pakistani forces, had for long been a dissident lawmaker of the BNP.

"Bring former state minister for home Lutfuzzaman Babar and Tareq to book. Everything will come out if they are taken for interrogation," said Ahmed.

First Published: Nov 23, 2006 15:36 IST