Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked Bangladesh’s top military intelligence agency to safeguard the democratic process in the country instead of being used as a “political weapon” by “vested quarters”.

Hasina made the remarks at a meeting with officials of the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) late yesterday at its headquarters in Dhaka Cantonment.

“It is unfortunate that the DGFI was rampantly used as a political weapon in the past. But we don’t want to use it politically… we want you to be built as a national institution by upholding your reputation.

“You have to keep yourselves always ready to protect the sovereignty of the country,” she said.

In the first-ever such interaction with the DGFI, considered an influential organisation run by armed forces, Hasina said “vested quarters” which had seized power illegally in the past used this force rampantly to cling to power, injuring its reputation and eroding people’s confidence in the organisation.

Hasina recalled when her government was elected to power during its 1996-2001 tenure, it decided to stop use of DGFI for political purposes and took steps to have its lost glory restored.

“But after 2001, unfortunately, the BNP-Jamaat government again used the organisation politically,” she said.

The premier said her government’s policy was to maintain good relations with all neighbours but “like other forces, the DGFI should be well-equipped to launch counter attacks if we are attacked by others”.

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