Feb 18, 2005

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Rapid Action Battalion wont be used for political purpose

State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar on Thursday said the present government since formation of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) never utilised this anti-crime force for any political purposes
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State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar on Thursday said in the Jatiya Sangsad that the present government since formation of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) never utilised this anti-crime force for any political purposes.

"Inshallah, we shall not use this force for political gains in future also, he told the House while replying to a question from Engineer Shamsuddin Ahmed (Mymensingh-6).

Replying to another question from Mohammad Moshiur Rahman Ranga, the minister said till January 31 last, the RAB recovered 662 illegal arms. Besides, 39 unauthorized arms were recovered by the Cheeta while another 100 illegal arms were seized by the Cobra.

Replying to a supplementary, Babar told the House that right now the government has no plan to expand the activities of RAB, Cheeta and Cobra across the country. He, however, assured the House that if any serious incidents happen anywhere in the country, RAB and other anti-crime forces would rush there.

The state minister for home told another questioner that the members of RAB are getting special allowances as incentives.

Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan on Thursday told the Jatiya Sangsad that there was no latest figure of the Stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh as no recent census was conducted on them. He, however, told the House in reply to a question from Golam Mohammad Kader (Rangpur-3) that according to a conducted by the Rabitat Alam-Al-Islami in 1992, the total number of Stranded Pakistanis in different refugee camps in Bangladesh was 2,37,440.

While giving an accounts of initiatives taken by Bangladesh government for the repatriation of the Stranded Pakistanis to their own homeland, Khan told the House that in 1993, the then Pakistani Prime Minister Newaz Sharif agreed to take back the Pakistani citizens from Bangladesh.

Although a batch of 50 families were repatriated to Pakistan from different refugee camps, the process did not work further, he added.

Khan told the House that since formation of the present government in 2001, this issue was taken in hand seriously and it was widely discussed in the foreign ministerial level meetings held in Islamabad in 2003 and Dhaka in 2004.

The foreign minister expressed the hope that Pakistan would give positive response in this regard and the process of repatriation of the Stranded Pakistanis from Bangladesh would start soon.

Deputy Minister for Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Affairs Moni Swapan Dewan told the Jatiya Sangsad on Thursday that the government has implemented development projects involving Taka 265.78 crore in CHT during the last three fiscal.

Replying to a question from Salah Uddin Ahmed, he said the government has also allocated Taka 148.80 crore under the Annual Development Programme in 2004-2005 fiscal for implementing various development projects in Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban hill districts.

. He said the government has implemented 1,710 projects during the last three fiscal and 1,250 more projects are being implemented.

Moni Swapan said 1,81,026 metric tonnes of food and Taka 3.41 crore were also allocated for development projects during the period and 75,000 metric tonnes of food and Taka 1.50 crore were allocated in the current fiscal.

Besides, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has also undertaken a programme "Promotion of Development and Confidence Building in the CHT."

Source: The New Nation