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Thursday, August 03, 2006

How Jihadi Groups Are Taking Over Bangladesh Economy

Selig Harrison, a long time Washington Post South Asia correspondent, writes in an op-ed in WP on how Islamic jihadi groups with the support of Pak ISI and Bangla intelligence agencies are turning Bangladesh into terrorists haven. While the current PM Khalida Zia turns a blind eye to jihadi groups to stay in power (kind of like what DMK is doing in Tamil Nadu and Communists are doing in Kerala), Jamaat-e-Islami, a jihadi political party, has created not only terror infrastructure but also spreading its hands into the entire economy.

"In return for the votes in Parliament needed to form a coalition government, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has looked the other way as the Jamaat has systematically filled sensitive civil service, police, intelligence and military posts with its sympathizers, who have in turn looked the other way as Jamaat-sponsored guerrilla squads patterned after the Taliban have operated with increasing impunity in many rural and urban areas.

To the dismay of her business supporters, the prime minister gave the coveted post of industries minister to Matiur Rahman Nizami, a high-ranking Jamaat official who has helped promote the growth of a Jamaat economic empire that embraces banking, insurance, trucking, pharmaceutical manufacturing, department stores, newspapers and TV stations. A study last year by a leading Bangladeshi economist showed that the "fundamentalist sector of the economy" earns annual profits of some $1.2 billion."

No wonder they don't want a lucrative gas pipeline from Myanmar to India and don't want anything to do with $3 billion investment that Tata contemplated. And the jihadis are laying a ground work for winning the next democratic(?) elections. US is again turning a blind eye to the developing situation because Pak's ISI has a lead role in nurturing Jamaat. And we all know how US wants "proof" that the ISI is nothing more than a day-care center for the children of Pak Armed forces.

US analysts always talk about not allowing jihadi access to nuclear weapons and oil. Now the jihadis will soon have access to gas – and lots of it. With ISI in charge of these jihadis, nuclear weapons are no problem. A deadly combo is in the making.