Bangladesh court indicts extremist militants for 2015 killing

In this Oct. 31, 2015 file photo, Bangladeshi activists protest against the killing of Faisal Arefin Deepan in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (AP)
Updated 14 October 2019

Bangladesh court indicts extremist militants for 2015 killing

  • In October 2015, suspected militants hacked Faisal Abedin Deepan of the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house
  • Both victims were publishers of Avijit Roy, who was hacked to death in February 2015

DHAKA: A court in Bangladesh's capital on Sunday indicted eight suspected militants tied to a banned group over the 2015 killing of a man who published books on secularism and atheism.
Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal Judge Majibur Rahman read out the charges to six of the suspects, who pleaded not guilty. Another two, including a sacked military official, remained fugitives, but the judge issued arrest warrants for them. Police say they belong to the banned domestic militant outfit Ansar al Islam.
In October 2015, suspected militants hacked Faisal Abedin Deepan of the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house. On the same day, another publisher, Ahmed Rashid Tutul, survived an attack by suspected militants in Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital.
Both victims were publishers of Bangladeshi-American writer and blogger Avijit Roy, who was hacked to death in February 2015.
Several other atheists, bloggers and foreigners were killed by suspected militants in 2015. A bomb attack on Oct. 24 of that year in Dhaka aimed at Shia Muslims killed a teenager and injured more than 100 other people. Foreigners including Italian aid volunteer and a Japanese agricultural worker were also killed.
Authorities in Bangladesh say the network of the militant groups has been broken after a massive crackdown following a 2016 attack on a cafe in Dhaka in which 22 people, including 17 foreigners, were killed by five young men who belonged to the Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh group, according to police.
Daesh claimed responsibility for the 2016 attack and other attacks, but Bangladesh's government said that domestic groups were behind them, and that IS has no existence in the country.


Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

Updated 14 November 2019

Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

  • Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined a sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks
  • Firebrand cleric leading the protests called for nationwide demonstrations

ISLAMABAD: Anti-government protesters in Pakistan blocked major roads and highways across the country on Thursday in a bid to force Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign.
The demonstrators — led by the leader of opposition party Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), the firebrand cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman — have taken to the streets as the start of their “Plan B” to topple the government and ensure a general election after failing to push Khan out through a fortnight-long sit-in in Islamabad, which ended on Wednesday.
That same day, Rehman told his party workers to spread their protests to other parts of the country.
“This protest will continue not for a day but for a month, if our leadership instructs,” said JUI-F Secretary-General, Maulana Nasir Mehmood, to a group of protesters who blocked the country’s main Karakoram Highway — an important trade route between Pakistan and China that also connects the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province with its northern areas.
The JUI-F protesters also blocked other key routes in KP and a major highway connecting the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. The party’s Balochistan chapter also announced its intention to block the highway connecting Pakistan to neighboring Iran.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined the sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks, demanding the prime minister’s resignation and fresh polls in the country following allegations of electoral fraud last year and the mismanagement of Pakistan’s economy. The government denies both charges.
Rehman is a veteran politician who was a member of the National Assembly for 20 years. He enjoys support in religious circles across the country. His party has yet to share a detailed plan regarding which roads will be closed when, or how long this new phase of protests will continue.
The JUI-F and other opposition parties have been trying to capitalize on the anger and frustration of the public against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ruling party, which came to power last year promising 10 million new jobs for the youth, 5 million low-cost houses, and economic reforms to benefit the middle class.
Since then, Pakistan’s economy has nosedived, witnessing double-digit inflation and rampant unemployment. The government signed a $6-billion bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund to stave off a balance-of-payments crisis.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has stabilized the deteriorating economy, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman ‘Plan B’ will fail like his ‘Plan A,’” Firdous Ashiq Awan, special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, said in a statement to the press.

Related