Haroon Habib

DHAKA: The army-led joint forces in Bangladesh on Sunday detained many senior leaders of the two major political parties, the Awami league and the Bangladesh National Party (BNP).

The arrested leaders included seven former Ministers, a host of former MPs and two political advisers of former Prime Ministers Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina.

Family members of the former BNP minister Nazmul Huda said joint force personnel came to their house at 1.15 a.m. and asked Mr. Huda to go with them. Mr. Huda was among several ministers of the Khaleda Zia Cabinet charged with corruption. Some of the detained BNP Ministers have also been accused of patronising Islamist militancy.

The joint forces earlier arrested Giasuddin al-Manun, a billionaire business partner of Ms. Khaleda Zia's politician son, Tarique Rahman.

The interim Government headed by Fakhruddin Ahmed has vowed to cleanse society of crime and corruption before holding the stalled parliamentary elections in a free, fair and credible manner.