Leaked phone conversation seems to suggest Pak might be meddling in Bangladesh elections

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 13, 2018, 07.44 PM(IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

The leaked conversation seems to suggest Mosharraf Hossain, who is also a member of the BNP standing committee, was hoping for money from China.

Story highlights

The leaked seven-minute phone conversation is between oppostion BNP leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain and a purported ISI — the Pakistani intelligence agency — staffer. Bangladesh goes to the polls on December 30. 

A leaked seven-minute phone conversation between Bangladesh Nationalist Party BNP leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain and a purported staffer of the Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence has been reported in the Bangladeshi media. 

The conversation seems to indicate Pakistan might be interfering in Bangladesh's internal matters. 

The leaked conversation, which WION has accessed, suggests Mosharraf Hossain, who is also a member of the BNP standing committee, was hoping for Chinese money. 

"I will meet your man here… you can get the message. But now what I like to request you that, from your side...if you can cooperate with China. Then in Bangladesh, it will be useful before the election," Mosharraf Hossain says in the conversation. 

Explaining that his situation is not good, Moshaarraf Hossain says, "We are really now in crisis. I have several cases. And with the excuse of one case… my passport is seized. I can’t go out of the country. This is my position."

Ties between Bangladesh and Pakistan have not been good. 

Bangladesh recently refused to accept Saqlain Syedah as the Pakistani High Commissioner. Bangladesh even boycotted the 2016 SAARC summit which was to take place in Islamabad. 

Reacting to the development, Bangladesh Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said, "It has been reported that one of the BNP leaders is directly in touch with known ISI agent. Well, in Bangladesh for the last few years, allegation have been there that BNP and Jamaat, who were the direct collaborators of Pak military junta during the liberation war, for having a good connection with Pak intelligence network. It's election season, still connectivity going on to block the electoral process."

BNP is largely seen as an anti-India Party with links to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, according to the Dhaka Tribune, Mosharraf has said in a statement that the telephone conversation is "baseless" and has been aired on "purpose to tarnish his image". 

The development comes ahead of the December 30 polls. 

The Shiekh Hasina-led Awami League is hoping to win another term while the BNP is under pressure with its chief Khaleda Zia being barred from standing for the polls. 

Here is the full transcript of the conversation between BNP leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain and the purported ISI staffer: 

Mosharrof: Hello Assalamualaikum brother!

Mehmood: Assalamualaikum brother. How are you?

Mosharrof: Fine, Thank you.

Mehmood: I am really pleased to hear you after a long time...

Mosharrof: Yeah! Yeah! You remember we met last time in Islamabad? Hotel...

Mehmood: Yes… yes!

Mosharrof: And... you know that with whom you visited me?

Mehmood: Yes… yes!

Mosharrof: How are you? Where are you now?

Mehmood: I am Alhamdulillah fine and I am here at Dubai now. So...I think… we can… 
sometimes… whenever you are available… whenever you manage… we can… you need to meet me first! If it is possible for you.

Mosharrof: Yes… Can I explain? You know that… we are really now in crisis. I have several cases. And with the excuse of one case… my Passport is seized. I can’t go out of the country. This is my position.

Mehmood: I think… once you met one of our office holders there also. Am I  right?

Mosharrof: Yes...yes. I met your man here.

Mehmood: Yeah… It’s Okay. But it is necessary… if you manage to come one day...

Mosharrof: Yeah… I would love to do that… and I know that if I could come, it would be more fruitful! But what I want to tell you i this opportunity is that… from your side, you can try to help us. We are in crisis. You know everything.

Mehmood: Yes…

Mosharrof: You know everything I think...

Mehmood: Sure! That’s why… that’s why… I said… you are our only friend there now. We wanted to discuss all this with you...

Mosharrof: Yes… I want to be… and I am still what you think! But practical connection… communication is impossible for me to come out! I know that it would be fruitful… but what I want to mean that… I will meet your man here… you can get the message. But now what I like to request you that, from your side...if you can cooperate with China. Then in Bangladesh it will be useful before the election. 

Mehmood: Yes, absolutely! That is already on the table. And it is being done. That’s why, we wanted to do….as a representative whenever it is possible to visit the places it would have been better. Because, in person...you would have talked to them also. But now as you are saying that...it is not possible for you…

Mosharrof: Personally if you want from your this office....if you want any alternative person...I can arrange. But for me...it is not possible. 

Mehmood: Okay...okay! I understood your point. And along with this...keep trying… may be one… sometime...if it is possible for you to come over for some reasons...may be on medical reason… or may be on Omrah etc. So we can arrange meeting with you there. But meanwhile...we will try to contact you through somebody there at our office. Is it okay?

Mosharrof: Yes. If you can assign somebody from your office here, I can try and different time I can communicate to you or your side. 

Mehmood: Yeah...sometimes...we will continue to each other. I got your point what you have told me. I will definitely convey this to my boss, and he will work on this. And I will apprise you about it. And at the same time...we will see how to remain in communication from your place. And continue finding the possibility outside also...right..

Mosharrof: Thank you very much...Thank you!

Mehmood: Thank you very much...and very kind! And kindly remain in touch! Because, it is crucial time for all of us. And we have to cooperate; and move forward for our aim to achieve In Sha Allah!

Mosharrof: Yes! What we also think very seriously...that we need to cooperate each other. We are in crisis, we need help!

Mehmood: Yes… yes! We understand that. Is is already on the table...and that’s why we said...we thought...why not to...sometime finding the possibility to meet you? But as you suspect it is not possible...it is little difficult. So we will find out how to communicate with you. And at the same time continue our effort, to meet you sometime...somewhere. Okay?

Mosharrof: Okay...Thank you! I will also try. I’ll keep trying to get my Passport back, so that we can arrange that.

Mehmood: Yes…

Mosharrof: And I can communicate with your man here.

Mehmood: Okay...I’ll you know about this option also...communicating with the man there. And at the same time...we’ll remain in communication In Sha Allah!

Mosharrof: Yes...I want to add contact with you. And you can consider me as your old friend. 

Mehmood: Yes...yes! That’s why you know...I have made an effort to contact you…!

Mosharrof: Thank you very much for your cooperation! And I know that you did not forget us! That’s why you have tried your best to communicate with me.

Mehmood: Yes...Yes…

Mosharrof: I will be in communication with you. Through our friend, we will be in contact.

Mehmood: In Sha Allah...And regards to you and your family

Mosharrof: Thank you very much...Allah hafez!

Mehmood: Allah hafez! Asssalamualaikum!