BANGLADESH: Tarique rebuts BBC report

BNP Secretary General says his words were misreported; BBC says it corrected news late at night

The Daily Star
Monday, September 5, 2005

BNP's Senior Joint Secretary General Tarique Rahman yesterday rebutted some parts of the interview that he gave to BBC Bangla Service on Sunday and said his words were not presented accurately by the news outfit.

"I didn't make any sort of admission nor did I name any international terrorist group to be involved in the August 17 blasts," Tarique told a press briefing at Hawa Bhaban.

BBC Bangla Service on Sunday night aired Tarique's interview on the countrywide explosions, saying 'Tarique suspects international terrorist organisations like al Qaeda might have carried out the August 17 blasts with the connivance of some misled people of the country'.

Tarique said the presenter in London has made a mistake while he [presenter] in the intro to the interview said, "This is for the first time that a top leader of the ruling alliance has admitted the presence of international terrorist group inside the country."

"And the BBC has admitted its mistake," Tarique, son of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and late president Ziaur Rahman, said reading out a statement.

"I want to make it clear that I didn't admit or deny anything," he said, clarifying his views on possible presence of cross-border militant groups in Bangladesh.

"This is not possible for anyone to say clearly who were involved in the attack when the investigation is still on. And that is why in response to the interviewer's question I only said 'it may be', which means I don't know," he said.

"I mentioned the word 'international' in a sense that not only Bangladesh, other countries too are being victims of terrorist attacks," he said.

Acting editor of the BBC Bangla Service Masud Hasan Khan yesterday said, "Tarique Rahman in his interview didn't mention name of any international terrorist organisation."

"Asked whether international terrorist organisations like al Qaeda's may have links to the August 17 blasts, he [Tarique] replied that they might have," Masud said in the BBC Bangla Service's evening-time bulletin yesterday.

He said in Sunday's night-time bulletin, BBC had corrected its mistake in the interview by saying that Tarique Rahman 'suspects' instead of 'admits' regarding the possible presence of any international terrorist organisation in Bangladesh.

He also said when BBC had questioned Tarique whether he thought al Qaeda or any other militant organisation was involved in the blasts, he replied saying, "it might be".