Vol. 4 Num 194 Thu. December 11, 2003  
Front Page

Dhaka rejects Canadian intelligence report

The government yesterday rejected a Canadian intelligence report that Bangladesh may be emerging as a 'haven for Islamic terrorists' in South Asia.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) expressed concern about serious attacks by radicals on cultural groups in Bangladesh, hints of collusion with al-Qaeda and the government's alleged unwillingness to crack down on terrorism.

The CSIS report also suggests there could be dangers to Canadian aid agencies with a "strong presence" in Bangladesh, the third largest Muslim country in the world, an Associated Press (AP) report from Ottawa said yesterday.

Reacting to the report, a foreign ministry news release said, " The contents of these reports are far from the reality on the ground. We would like to categorically state that the government of Bangladesh remains firmly committed to the principle of combating terrorism and to uphold the tolerant and non-communal character of the country."

"It is regrettable that some quarters are bent on tarnishing the peaceful and non-communal image of Bangladesh. Most of these reports are generalisations and devoid of specific instances," the release said.

It said, "The government of Bangladesh would like to assert that it has taken and will take immediate action whenever there is any report of terrorism or any crime affecting any segment of society."

According to AP, the Canadian Press news agency obtained a declassified copy of the secret July report under the Access to Information Act. Considerable portions of the highly sensitive document were withheld from release.

A CSIS spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the findings.

After going through the report, Bangladesh's high commissioner in Ottawa steadfastly denied the allegations.

"We condemn terrorism in any country, in any form, in any place," Mohsin Ali Khan said Tuesday. "Bangladesh is against any terrorist attack and it will not allow its soil to be used by any terrorist group."