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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  January, 2005  Hasina, Asma discuss HR situation
Hasina, Asma discuss HR situation

The Daily Star
Vol. 5 Num 233Mon. January 17, 2005

Front Page

Hasina, Asma discuss HR situation

Staff Correspondent

International human rights activist Asma Jahangir yesterday met Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina and discussed the human rights situation in Bangladesh, especially the killings in ‘crossfire’.

During the hour-long meeting at Hasina’s Sudha Sadan residence in Dhanmondi they also exchanged views on threats of violence against Ahmadiyya community in Bangladesh.

Asma observed that the civil society here has been playing a robust role in counteracting the anti-Ahmadiyya campaign of the religious extremists.

“We have shared our views on how to improve human rights situation both in Pakistan and Bangladesh,” Jahangir told the newsmen after the meeting.

Asma, the former chairperson of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission, said, “She (Hasina) is daughter of my father’s friend and we have a very good family relations. And that’s why we spent the time mainly enquiring about family affairs.”

Asma Jahangir’s father, Malik Jilani, who was an eminent politician in Pakistan, spent years in jail and under house arrest for opposing a string of military dictatorship in that country.

Later, briefing the reporters, Sheikh Hasina’s Political Secretary Saber Hossain Chowdhury said Asma and Hasina also talked about the government’s handling of criminals, which, they observed, raised question as to whether ‘the criminals should be put in due process of law or killed in crossfire’.

“Awami League too wants punishment of the criminals, but not in the way the present government deals with the issue involving the Rab,” he said.

The AL president citing the example of capital punishment of dreaded criminal Ershad Sikder said her government ensured punishment of the criminals through justice, Saber told the newsmen.

“If criminals like Ershad Sikdar could be punished through due process of law, then why shouldn’t be the same legal procedures applied to try and punish other criminals?” Saber quoted Hasina as saying.

She (Hasina) also pointed out to Asma that the elite force remains mysteriously indifferent to the armed cadres of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Saber said Asma Jahangir inquired about the August 21 grenade attack on AL rally last year and the progress in probe into the incident. She said that if the culprits go scot-free, such crimes would be committed frequently.

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