Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Watchdog denies border killings 'worried' it

The parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs did not express its concern over border killings but termed it 'tragic incidents', its chief said on Tuesday.

"We did not express our concern over the issue and did not put forward any recommendation to the foreign ministry," an annoyed Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali, chairman of the watchdog, said at a press briefing after a committee meeting.

"We found the government action appropriate."

When asked about the remarks of LGRD minister Syed Ashraful Islam about border killings, he said, "I don't think his comment and the foreign ministry's position on the issue are conflicting."

Ashraf had said "The state is not worried about incidents at the border. These are everyday incidents, they've happened in the past, are happening now and will happen in future."

However, the foreign ministry issued two separate press statements in a week protesting against the incidents along the border with India.

But, the standing committee member form BNP, AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon, in a separate press briefing said he and the foreign minister expressed concern over the border killings.

"It is on record that I and the foreign minister both expressed concern."

Khokon said BNP would support the government if it acts boldly and protested the Indian "aggression" in the border areas.

"The government gave its reaction after BSF suspended its personnel. Why not earlier? What are they afraid of?" he questioned.

"The statements from the ministers and the position of the government have frustrated people," he claimed, "The government is pursuing a weak foreign policy."

When asked about it, standing committee chairman Mahmud said, "They (opposition) can say whatever they want but the government is not pursuing a weak foreign policy."

Mahmud claimed that more people had been killed during the period of BNP-led government.

"In the last three years, 141 people were killed in border areas while from 2001-2006, about 350 people were killed," he added.

"The border killings have dropped during the period of this government."