Bangladesh Foils Islamic Coup
Military officials in Bangladesh say they quashed an attempt by former and active officers to overthrow the government and impose Sharia Law
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 1/20/2012, 10:39 AM
White House Photo
Military officials in Bangladesh on Thursday announced they foiled an Islamist coup attempt by retired and serving officers late last month.
"Specific information has been unearthed that some officers in military service have been involved in the conspiracy to topple the system of democratic governance," Brigadier General Mohammad Masoud Razzaq told reporters.
Razzaq said around 16 former and active officers - who he descibed as harboring "exteme religious views" - were involved in the coup. Some are under military arrest and will be brought before a military tribunal.
Intelligence sources say the perpetrators were behind a campaign to introduce Sharia law throughout the majority Muslim country and overthrow Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government.
An apparently nonplussed Hasina said Thursday that she wanted peace and democracy to prevail in Bangladesh.
"I don't want to hear mothers crying (over losing their children). I want democracy and peace," Daily Star quoted her as saying at meeting with her party's Khagrachhari district unit leaders.
Hasina said after her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's assassination in 1975, elements in the army had staged around 18 to 19 coups, for which thousands of people had to die. Stable civilian rule did not return to Bangladesh until 1990.
"Who are the beneficiaries of the politics of killings and coups?" she asked before answering "mainly the armed forces officers."
"Those who captured power by keeping weapons on their shoulders were mostly affected. When a coup took place in 1977, (former president) Ziaur Rahman killed 17 officers of the air force," Hasina said.
"They faced court-martial and were taken to the firing squad on the same day," she added.