At a press conference in Dhaka on January 19 Brigadier General Muhammad Masud Razzaq, spokesman of the Bangladeshi army, said that the army had specific evidence that up to 16 current and former Bangladeshi military officers "with extreme religious views" were involved in a "heinous conspiracy". The plot was instigated by Bangladeshi conspirators living abroad, he said.
He further said that two retired officers, Lieutenant Colonel Ehsan Yusuf and Major Zakir, have been arrested, but did specify when. The authorities were on the look out for serving officer Major Ziaul Haq, who has fled after the arrests of Yusuf and Zakir.
Giving details about the alleged plot, Razzaq said that Ziaul Haq had circulated emails to different serving officers detailing a plan to overthrow the government on January 9-10. Authorities from the Bangladesh army have accused Hizbut Tahrir of helping to circulate the messages. It has been reported that a major general (name not known), who headed one of the country's largest cantonments, was recalled to Dhaka, following the discovery of the plot. Details of his exact role in the plot are not known.
In a leaflet disseminated on January 20, the banned Hizbut Tahrir said, "Hizbut Tahrir organised public speeches outside mosques across the country after jummah prayers where speakers called upon the people to protest against the Hasina government's plot to subjugate the Muslim army of Bangladesh."
The speakers said Hasina was brought to power by the Americans, in partnership with India. The Americans have a design to prevent the return of the Islamic Khilafah in this region and contain the rise of China. For this purpose she prefers a strategic partnership with India in order to secure her strong presence in this region and tighten her grip over the Muslim countries within the region, it said.
These two enemy countries are using the government, the opposition, and some in the military leadership in Bangladesh as agents to solve the long- standing issues with India, which will free India's hands. This will facilitate India to join hands with America in implementing her design to prevent the return of Islam and contain China. And they are working to remove all obstacles to this plan and anyone who exposes or speaks against this evil plan. It was for this reason that bright officers of our army were massacred in Pilkhana, they said.
It was for this reason that Hasina banned Hizbut Tahrir and is pursuing a policy of brutal repression against the party. And now she is executing a policy of wholesale purge of the army through abductions, arrests and dismissals of officers who stand on the side of Islam, and the country's sovereignty and security, the speakers added.
The speakers called upon the sincere officers in the army to remove Hasina and the current ruling regime from authority at once; and to transfer the authority to Hizbut Tahrir, which is a sincere and aware political party.
"Hizbut Tahrir will establish the Khilafah state, which will eject the US, Britain, India and their allies from Bangladesh. The Khilafah will build this country as the starting point for becoming a global super power. This is by securing the basic needs of the people and solving the long running problems faced by the people such as poverty and unemployment, industrialising the country's economy, building the army as a strong and advanced fighting force, and unifying with the Muslim Ummah," they said.
In another leaflet addressed to the people of Bangladesh, the Hizbut Tahrir said, "O Muslims! You have been victims of Indian aggression for decades. This enemy state killed your officers in Pilkhana. Hasina built the Farakkah dam, she deprives you of your rightful share of water from the common rivers, and she kills your brothers and sisters in the border. And your current rulers have failed to stand up to the Indian aggression against you. There exists only one way of resisting the enemy -- establishing the Khilafah state. So stop wasting your time and effort in looking for solutions from the current democratic system and the agent political parties -- Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and others."
The Hizbut Tahrir has been active among lower and middle level officers of the armies of Pakistan and Bangladesh and has been trying to instigate a coup by them in order to introduce Islamic rule in the two countries and eradicate US and Indian influence. After establishing Islamic rule in Pakistan and Bangladesh, it wants to extend its activities to India to help the Indian Muslims.