The Opposition Leader touched off a political storm by denying having done so, prompting bdnews24.com to contact the American newspaper.
In an email, its Executive Editor David S Jackson said they were “confident in its authenticity”.
“The article that appeared in The Washington Times was submitted to us by Mark Pursey, a London-based intermediary acting on behalf of Begum Khaleda Zia. We have been in touch with Mr. Pursey both before and after the publication of the article,” he said.
Pursey is one of the partners of the British PR company BTP Advisers, a communications consultancy with a network of partners across Europe, Africa and emerging markets.
According to the institution’s website, he also has extensive polling and message creation experience, having worked on every UK general election campaign from 1992 onwards.
He was previously the Communications Officer for the worldwide Vodafone Group as well as Vice-President for Communications at Deutsche Asset Management.
After the US suspended Bangladesh’s preferential trade status on Jun 28, Khaleda told Parliament on Saturday that the Washington Times article was not written by her.
“Some are speaking about an article published in a foreign newspaper under my name. But I didn’t send any letter,” she had said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who was present in Parliament during Khaleda’s speech, raised a copy of that article written, but Khaleda said, “It’s not written by me.”
The article titled “ZIA: The thankless role in saving democracy in Bangladesh” called upon the US and western nations to come forward to ‘save democracy’ in Bangladesh and that they should consider targeting travel and other sanctions.
“There is no use denying it. It says here – Khaleda Zia’s article, former Prime Minister and present Opposition Leader. This is available on the Internet,” Hasina said.
Khaleda had drawn immediate flak from the ruling party for the article. Some even said it amounted to sedition and threatened legal measures.
A day after its publication, BNP leader Moudud Ahmed had said Khaleda had written the article to draw the attention of the US and other well-wishers of Bangladesh. “It was not to protect BNP ... it was to guard democracy in the country,” he said.
However, Moudud denied making any statements on the article on Monday evening after the party chief’s denial.