Bangladesh Army chief Gen Aziz slams 'malicious' Al Jazeera report

Army chief General Aziz Ahmed has denounced Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera's report titled ‘All the Prime Minister’s Men’ and said it was published with malicious intent.

Published : 16 Feb 2021, 05:05 PM
Updated : 16 Feb 2021, 06:20 PM

Gen Aziz spoke to reporters about the controversial report for the first time after a programme of the Army Aviation Group in Dhaka's Tejgaon on Tuesday.

He said that various quarters with vested interests were spinning 'propaganda' to create confusion within the army and undermine the chain of command.

The report was published by Al Jazeera on Feb 1 when Gen Aziz was in the United States on an official visit.

The Inter-Services Public Relations Directorate subsequently issued two responses, saying the report was “false, fabricated, vested and ill-motivated”.

The foreign ministry also dismissed it as “false and defamatory”.

In a statement aired by several TV channels on Tuesday, Gen Aziz said the rejoinders issued by the ISPR outlined the army's official stance on the matter.

"I am sure you're well of the kind of mischief that is taking place. They are spreading propaganda against an organisation like the Bangladesh Army, which is the pride of the people and the country," said Gen Aziz.

"I want to tell you unequivocally - the army is a highly-trained and well-motivated force, far more organised than before, and the chain of command is highly effective. Every member of the army has rejected such ill-motivated efforts in the past and continues to do so now. Those who are in the chain of command are all aware of it. I want to assure you that such propaganda will not affect our chain of command."

The reporters then drew his attention to the questions raised about his brother in the report and the way in which he was videotaped during his overseas trips.

In response, Gen Aziz said his brother had been charged in a conspiracy case but he had already been acquitted when they met in Malaysia in April and therefore, he was not a fugitive.

“There was no case against my brother when I met him. He had already been exonerated in March and I travelled to Malaysia in April. The statement made by Al-Jazeera here is completely malicious,” Aziz said.

The army chief added that the family would soon hold a press conference to further address the issues.

On why he was being repeatedly targeted, Gen Aziz said, “I think I will leave it to you (the media) to find out why I am being targeted again and again. Why don’t you look into the reasons for targeting the chief of the army?”

He added that the prime minister appointed him as chief of army staff and any attempt to demean him was tantamount to disrespecting the head of the government.

“I am always conscious about ensuring that my institution, my organisation - which is the army - and the government is never humiliated or faces any controversy because of me."

He also expressed gratitude to the media and said, "You have responded to these allegations with your pens. There are some issues which the army cannot do anything about. But the relevant ministries may take measures against those involved with it."