Bangladesh police question New York bomber’s wife

A policeman stands guard in Times Square not far from the site of a pipe bomb explosion on December 11, 2017 in New York City. (AFP)
Updated 12 December 2017
0

Bangladesh police question New York bomber’s wife

DHAKA: Bangladeshi counter terrorism officers on Tuesday questioned the wife of New York subway bomber Akayed Ullah and said he had visited the family in Dhaka in September.
Police said Ullah, an immigrant from Bangladesh who set off a crude bomb strapped to his body in a crowded New York subway passage on Monday, had visited Dhaka after the couple’s baby son was born.
“We are trying to know how he was radicalized and whether he had any associate,” senior counter terrorism officer Saiful Islam told AFP.
He said police had raided the family home in Dhaka and questioned Ullah’s 25-year-old wife, Jannatul Ferdous Piya and her father, but that neither was under any suspicion.
Ullah reportedly told US police investigators he wanted to avenge US airstrikes on the Daesh group and was also inspired by Christmas terror plots in Europe.
Bangladesh police are investigating whether he was radicalized in his Muslim-majority homeland, where foreigners have been among those targeted in deadly assaults claimed by the IS group and Al Qaeda.
Police in Bangladesh say he has never appeared on a watchlist there.
Mofazzal Hossain, caretaker of the family apartment in Hazaribagh in the old part of Dhaka, described him as “pious and a gentleman.”
“He used to pray in the local mosque five times a day. He would urge us to pray and do good work,” Hossain told AFP
“He visited Bangladesh in September after his son was born,” he said, adding Ullah married in January 2016, but did not take his wife to the US.
US authorities say Ullah migrated seven years ago as the member of a family already living there under what is known as “chain immigration.”
His family was originally from Sandwip, an island off Bangladesh’s south coast, but police believe his father moved to Dhaka before Ullah was born.
“We are questioning one of his relatives for more information,” local police chief Noor-e-Alam Mina told AFP.
The impoverished riverine nation of 160 million has been waging a war against homegrown extremism in the wake of numerous attacks by radical groups in recent years.
In July last year militants stormed a Dhaka cafe and massacred 22 hostages, including 18 foreigners, in an assault claimed by the IS.
Security forces have shot dead more than 70 alleged militants in a fierce crackdown since the cafe carnage.
Bangladesh last month arrested an alleged militant from Ansarullah Bangla Team, a homegrown extremist group with links to Al Qaeda, over the 2015 murder of a prominent Bangladesh-origin American blogger in Dhaka.
The secular government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has vowed to root out extremism but says international radical groups do not operate inside Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh embassy in Washington DC condemned the New York bomb attack and restated Bangladesh’s “zero tolerance” approach to extremism.
“A terrorist is a terrorist irrespective of his or her ethnicity or religion, and must be brought to justice,” the embassy said in a statement.


I could have done a lot more for Pakistan but was prevented by Musharraf, says Dr. A.Q. Khan

Updated 23 min 12 sec ago
0

I could have done a lot more for Pakistan but was prevented by Musharraf, says Dr. A.Q. Khan

  • India and Pakistan could live together in peace and harmony 'if the Kashmir problem is solved amicably,' says Pakistan's top nuclear scientist
  • The safety and security system put in place by Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division is 'failsafe'

DUBAI: “All the Western countries are against any Muslim country having a nuclear capacity,” said Pakistan’s former nuclear scientist — popularly known as the ‘father’ of Pakistan’s atomic bomb — in an exclusive interview with Arab News.
“Never do you hear a word said about Israel’s nuclear program,” he said.
International community keeps raising concerns over the safety of the country’s nuclear arsenal.
“The safety and security system which has been put in place by the SPD (Strategic Plans Division) is failsafe,” said Dr. Khan, in a reply to questions sent to him by email.
Dr. Khan stressed that Pakistan has “no evil designs against any country” and that the country’s nukes are purely for “self-defense” and deterrence, adding that in case of an aggression “there will be no concessions from Pakistan.”
Advocating Pakistan’s nuclear ambition, Dr. Khan said, “It has definitely protected Pakistan, not only from an aggressive India, but also from (foreign) adventurists.”
“We all know what happened to non-nuclear Pakistan in 1971. Since the early 1980s the world was aware that we had a nuclear program and neither India nor any other country has dared to touch us ... I gave Pakistan the capability of hitting back if it was attacked making any misadventure on the part of India fatal for both countries,” he said.
The two countries could live together in peace and harmony “if the Kashmir problem is solved amicably,” he said.
As Pakistan heads toward the general election next month (July 25), Dr. Khan said that he has no political plans.
Dr. Khan dissolved his political party, Tahreek-e-Tahaffuz-e-Pakistan (Movement for the Protection of Pakistan), after the 2013 election. “The formation of that party was at the insistence of many people and I gave them the opportunity to try. However, there were no good results.”
“Politics in Pakistan requires rolling banknotes,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan made public the assets of main electoral candidates in the 2018 elections, figures that have shown rich political leaders living lavish lifestyle.
Pakistan problems are caused by the “corrupt system and political inabilities” where leaders had most of their wealth stashed abroad and “little interest in safeguarding national interests,” Dr. Khan said.
“See how Gen. Musharraf, a military dictator, sold this country’s sovereignty to the West at a simple phone call from the US. For that, we have paid, and are still paying, a very heavy price.”
Dr. Khan alleged that he was sacked by Musharraf on a US whim at a time when he could have done much more for Pakistan.
“… Read what Chaudhry Shujaat Husain has said about that episode in his autobiography.” He said Musharraf “neutralized” him (Dr. A.Q. Khan) because President Bush wanted him to do so. “The country suffered because of it.”
In January 2004, Dr. Khan was summoned by the government for a debriefing on his alleged role in nuclear weapons technology proliferation after the US shared evidence with Pakistan. He confessed to the charges a month later and was put under official house arrest. He was released as a free man on Feb. 6, 2009, by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
“I could have done a lot more for Pakistan in the years after my retirement but was prevented from doing so by him (Musharraf). Now he himself is in disgrace while the nation still honors me,” said the 83-year old former nuclear physicist, recalling his sacking.
Dr. Khan, who visited North Korea before under a missile program mission by Pakistan, believes that the recent Trump-Kim summit in Singapore will not definitely lead to Pyongyang’s denuclearization. “North Koreans are very pragmatic,” he said.
“As long as US troops are in Japan and South Korea, North Korea will not freeze or abandon its nuclear program.”
Both the US and North Korea are trying to get the best out of the situation — President Trump looking for a Nobel Prize for Peace and the North Korean President recognition as a world leader, he said.