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ISI promoting TV channel in Bangladesh

ISI promoting TV channel in Bangladesh

Author: ANI
Publication: The New Indian Express
Date: August 11, 2008
URL: http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEL20080811183257

Pakistan's ISI is setting up a TV channel in Bangladesh as a part of its war over airwaves in the region, says the US based Global Geopolitics Network.

Pakistan's state broadcaster PTV is also reported to have intensified its anti-India propaganda in the wake of the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir over the Amarnath Shrine forest land transfer issue. On an average, at least two hours of anti-Indian propaganda is aired by PTV.

According to the network, Bangladesh's envoy to Pakistan, Yasmeen Murshed, has been roped in as the "face" of the venture after it faced political, security and regulatory hurdles, according to James Crickton, who authored the five-page report titled "War over air waves in Bangladesh".

The channel, CSB (Chrono Satellite Broadcast) News, had a short run last year itself but was "closed down" after the authorities felt the channel was trying to give a "fillip" to the student unrest in the Dhaka and Rajshahi University campuses, the author said based on communications he had been "privileged to access and study".

The ISI through its Dubai links roped in a Bangladesh businessman-politician Salauddin Qader Chowdhury to start the channel way back in 2006 but he was jailed after the army backed caretaker government came to office and started a massive anti-corruption drive.

Salauddin was a key minister in the Khaleda Zia's BNP led government. His son, Fayyaz, who has business interests in Dhaka, Hong Kong and Dubai stepped in to run the show but found the going tough, forcing the ISI to bring in the Bangladesh envoy in Islamabad as a partner in the venture, James Crickton writes.

The very structure of the company created to run the channel is also a give away, says the report.

The MOU that had stitched the deal in Islamabad in June 2006, puts the Dubai end under the aegis of an off-shore shell company (started with UK pounds 1900). It gives a 50 per cent share to Phoenix floated by Dubai based Pakistani, who coordinated with the Fayyaz family, and offers 33.33 per cent equity to Quintina Holdings, a Hong Kong based enterprise of Fayyaz. It fixes authorized capital at 50 million Arab Emirate Dirhams and paid up capital at 29 million Arab Emirate Dirhams.

After Yasmeen Murshed became a partner, her son was given the front end of channel while Fayyaz retained control over backend operations, "With her (ambassador Yasmeen) involvement, they (Salauddin and son Fayyaz) hoped to have the decks cleared as their sources winked at their new plan even when it was on the drawing board", according to the report which profusely quotes from various sources on the complex web Pakistan agency has put in place to hoodwink the Bangladeshi regime.. It adds that Yasmeen Murshed role is an "internal" arrangement and is "absolutely confidential".

"When we sign over share transfer forms to Yasmeen, she signs over share transfer forms to us at the same time. Whenever we want we can submit the share transfer forms signed by her to take back the shares", Fayyaz told his Pakistani interlocutors, and went on to say, "A final agreement with her is that because she is not actually owning the company (since she is already signing away her share transfers to us), she is not investing any funds to run the company. Funds will be arranged by us and will be invested through her. Further more, she will be paid yearly sum of $ 50,000 for her services of being our face and maintaining a basic management on our behalf".

The Crickton write up on the Global Geopolitics Network leaves no doubt whatsoever that it is all an ISI sponsored and managed operation. When Salauddin was jailed, he decided to spite at the army chief Gen Moen.

And so he had sent a message through his son to his "handlers" and it read: "Please do not allow the Chief Moen to visit your side. The message must be given loud and clear to the chief".

It is not clear to what extent the message influenced Islamabad but the fact of the matter is B''Desh army chief has not visited Pakistan so far though he had visited Delhi and Kolkata.

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