Washington Times statement incorrect: BNP

The statement by the Executive Editor of The Washington Times regarding an article published under the name of BNP chief Khaleda Zia is ‘not correct’, the BNP has claimed.

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 3 July 2013, 06:57 AM
Updated : 3 July 2013, 10:26 AM

BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told reporters around noon on Wednesday, “The Leader of the Opposition sent no article to The Washington Times. The published article is not by Khaleda Zia. The BNP has been protesting this ever since it was published. Despite that the Executive Editor has given a statement, which is incorrect.”

An article titled ‘Zia: The thankless role in saving democracy in Bangladesh’ was published in the paper on Jan 30 and attributed to ‘Begum Khaleda Zia, former prime minister of Bangladesh and current leader of the opposition’.

রুহুল কবির রিজভী

Executive editor David S Jackson of The Washington Times replied to an email by bdnews24.com on Tuesday night, saying that before publishing the article, sent through an agent, news agency had confirmed the author’s identity.
“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.
Khaleda Zia’s press secretary Maruf Kamal Khan told bdnews24.com on Tuesday night that he is in charge of all writings or statements regarding the media. The leader of the opposition sent no article. No agency or institution has been employed to publish that article. There is no way that Khaleda Zia wrote the article published by Washington Times.”

The Washington Times article returned to spotlight after the United States suspended Bangladesh’s GSP status for zero-tariff trade access.

Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told the press briefing at Naya Paltan, “Washington Times is a private establishment. Khaleda Zia’s signature could have been forged through plots and conspiracies to make this happen.”

When asked if they will protest the comment by Washington Times’ Executive Editor, Rizvi said, “The decision will be taken at the party’s higher level. I believe an objection should be sent.”

He continued, “Khaleda Zia does not have the habit of sending letters against the country to foreign news agencies. Khaleda is a major political leader in the country. She performed no act that will work against the workers and their interest, and she will never do such a thing – the nation will never believe this.”

“However, the Prime Minister has the tendency of writing letters against the country. She (Sheikh Hasina) had sent letters to foreigners including the World Bank to stop foreign aid to Bangladesh when she was the leader of the opposition. “

About the Gazipur City Corporation election Rizvi said, “The government is now desperate after losing in the four city corporations. The Prime Minister set up an election cell to influence the local administration.”

He claimed the teacher and examination candidates have been made to campaign for the ruling party candidate. The government is using a special organisation to release leaflets against Khaleda and the 18-Party alliance endorsed candidate.

The candidate with the endorsement of the ruling party is continuously violating the electoral code of conduct.

Rizvi also demanded that the Army be deployed for the election scheduled for Jul 6.