Begum Khaleda Zia was the Prime Minister of Bangladesh when the August 21, 2004 grenade attack was carried out. She was not only the prime minister then but also had the charge of the home ministry and defense ministry. The verdict of the grenade attack case was pronounced yesterday (Wednesday, 10th October). 19 convicted received the death penalty, three of them were subordinate to Begum Zia. They are the state minister of the ministry of home affairs Lutfozzaman Babar, the then chief of the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence-DGFI, Major General (retd) Rezzakul Haider. The person who directly worked on the directive of the Defense Minister is Brigadier (retd) Abdur Rahim and he was the then head of the National Security Intelligence-NSI. Chief of these two army officers is the Defense Minister. Besides, among the convicted who received death penalty, Harris Chowdhury is one of them and he was the political advisor of Begum Khaleda Zia.
According to Bangladesh`s constitution, the prime minister is the executive head of the state. She is also in the center of taking all the decisions of the state. Begum Khaleda Zia was in the center of the state during the August 21, 2004 grenade attack. She possessed supreme power of the ministries concerned with this incident. In the verdict of the August 21 grenade attack case it has been said, the state power has been used to carry out the attack. If so, then how can Begum Zia avoid the liability? Why is she not accused in this case? Criminal experts have raised this question.
After the introduction of parliamentary democracy in Bangladesh, the Defense Ministry is always under the PM`s jurisdiction. The DGFI chief and the Army Chief work in accordance with PM`s order. They only consult with the Prime Minister about many important issues. It has been known that Rezzakul Haider was directed by Begum Zia. According to General Moeen U Ahmed`s book, he was very close to Begum Zia and Tarique Zia. Rezakul Haider has been proved guilty in the verdict of the grenade attack case. The question is, without the directive of the Prime Minister, had he been involved in such a `worst` attack? If we consider that he did this incident without letting the PM know, then why didn`t the action be taken against him after knowing the facts? The same question comes regarding Babar and Brigadier Rahim’s position. Begum Zia`s Political Advisor Harris Chowdhury is involved in the incident, but Begum Zia is not even in the list of suspects! What a strange!
Can Begum Zia avoid the liability of the incident?
It is said that the August 21 grenade attack case was an attempt of repetition of August 15. Like Ziaur Rahman knew the fact and gave necessary counsel to the murderers, but still was out of touch, similarly, the incident of 21 August grenade attack was also known to Begum Zia. Will she remain untouchable like her husband?