Bangladesh President rules out resigning
BANGLADESH: Bangladesh's embattled President Iajuddin Ahmed said he
will not bow to mounting pressure to resign, his advisor said.
The president told the US ambassador in Bangladesh such a suggestion
was "unrealistic and impractical" and "will not happen", said Mukhlesur
Rahman Chowdhury, the advisor to the president.
His comments came a day after the opposition demanded his ouster,
accusing him of rigging polls slated for next month, according to his
The US ambassador Patricia Butenis raised the issue when she met the
president at his palace, Chowdhury told reporters.
The opposition, led by Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina Wajed, is
demanding that Iajuddin step down as head of the caretaker government,
saying fair elections are impossible with him at the helm.
The opposition accuses the caretaker government, headed by Ahmed, of
seeking to tilt elections set for January 23 in favour of the outgoing
right-of-centre Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
The president's "real aim is to serve the BNP," a leader of the main
opposition Awami League, Amir Hossain Amu, told a rally of 10,000
protestors on Tuesday.
Meanwhile Bangladesh's elite security force has killed more than 350
people in custody and could be used by the country's former ruling party
ahead of next month's election, a U.S.-based human rights group warned
A 79-page Human Rights Watch report said the Rapid Action Battalions
were also responsible for widespread torture that included beatings,
boring holes in suspects with electric drills and giving them electric
It is the second time in as many days the Rapid Action Battalions -
created to fight Islamic militants and crime - have been slammed, with
New Delhi-based Asian Center for Human Rights slating Bangladesh as
South Asia's worst rights abuser.
"Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion has become a government death
squad," said Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch's Asia director. "Its
methods are illegal and especially shameful to a nation whose citizen
just won the Nobel prize for peace."
Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 peace prize with the Grameen Bank he
founded to lend money to the poor of Bangladesh.
Officials at the Bangladesh Embassy were not immediately available
Bangladesh government officials have said the government has given
the elite security force a mandate to kill suspected criminals instead
of making arrests and even drafted a list of most-wanted criminals to
kill, Human Rights Watch said.
Dhaka, New York, Thursday, AFP