Tarique Rahman obtains asylum in UK

Tarique Rahman obtains asylum in UK

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 23 May 2018, 08:11 am
Khaleda Zia’s son and Acting BNP Chairman Tarique Rahman who has been living in London since 2008 had handed over his Bangladeshi passport to the UK Home Office almost four years back.

 Passports of Tarique Rahman, his wife Zubaida Rahman and daughter Zaima Rahman have now reached Bangladesh High Commission in London through the UK Home Office. 


Tarique went to London in 2008 after securing bail in a number of corruption cases during the rule of Army-backed caretaker government. Ever since then Tarique has been living along with his family in an exclusive residential area known as Kingston in London without any known source of income. It has never been revealed from which sources he gets a supply of money to maintain lavish lifestyle in such an exclusive locality.


 {special_block_1}Arrested in an anti-corruption crackdown in March 2007, Tarique was released on bail in September 2008 when he flew to the UK for medical treatment. As a condition for his release, he had to quit the post of BNP’s Senior Joint Secretary General. Surprisingly in December 2009 while abroad he was made Senior Vice Chairman of the party. Now, following Khaleda Zia’s arrest on February 8 for embezzlement of orphanage fund, he has been made BNP’s Acting Chairman. Before that, BNP’s constitution was amended and a clause was incorporated saying that if anyone is convicted in any criminal case he or she can still hold any party post.


Prior to his departure for London he admitted to his involvement in massive corruption and sought people’s forgiveness. Bengali daily Manavzamin printed a signed statement of Tarique Rahman, given to intelligence agencies after his arrest in Dhaka in 2007, admitting to his involvement in massive corruption. “I seek apology from the people” he said in the statement in which he described how he shared illegal money of his business partner and friend Giasuddin al- Mamun deposited in foreign banks. Though before leaving the country he gave an undertaking that he would never practice politics again, soon after reaching London he began actively participating in party politics, the main purpose being to unseat the Awami League-led government by any means.


Facing over dozen of cases, Tarique was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment and fined Tk 20 crore by the High Court in a money laundering case in 2016. He was also convicted along with his mother Khaleda Zia for embezzlement of orphanage fund for which he was sentenced to ten years rigorous imprisonment and fined Tk 2.10 crore.


Nothing is known about his medical treatment and state of health although he was granted bail and allowed to leave the country exclusively for medical treatment. His lawyers in Bangladesh always told the courts where he is being tried for many cases of corruption and aiding militancy and being an active planner in the August 21 grenade attack to kill Sheikh Hasina that he is undergoing treatment in London. {special_block_2}


Though BNP leaders kept the issue of Tarique Rahman’s asylum in the UK a secret, State Minister of Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said that Tarique Rahman is no longer a Bangladeshi citizen as he has surrendered his Bangladeshi passport. BNP shot back that it is a blatant lie and if the government has any proof let them show it. The very next day the Minister showed the journalists a copy of Tarique Rahman’s passport and the letter from UK Home office addressed to Bangladesh High Commission in London forwarding the surrendered passports.


Finding no other way BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir went to the press and admitted that indeed the passports were surrendered and it was done for obtaining asylum in UK.


After surrendering his Bangladeshi passport and obtaining asylum in UK, Tarique Rahman will have to encounter considerable legal hurdles to regain his passport, if at all he desires to do so to return to Bangladesh. Legal experts say that first he will have to surrender before the court in Bangladesh and go to jail for the crimes he has been convicted of. There are at least a dozen more cases against him pending for verdict.


In case Khaleda Zia is debarred from contesting the next election, due in 2018-end, for her conviction in corruption cases, the BNP which is already in disarray will face serious leadership crisis. Her plan to ensure Tarique’s quick succession has hit a road block. The mother - son duo has been convicted on corruption charges and both are in the same predicament. Tarique has no valid document to return as he has surrendered his passport. Under such circumstances, the BNP will have no leader to bank upon or anybody who can give a new direction to the party or on whom the leadership mantle can rest.


If Khaleda Zia and Tarique are to be left out, name of Moudud Ahmed will crop up as he figures on the list of prominent BNP leaders after them. Moudud Ahmed began his career through his association with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s legal team in Agartala conspiracy case. Later he became a part of Ziaur Rahman’s BNP to become a Minister. From 1982 to 90 when Gen Ershad was firmly saddled in power, Moudud Ahmed ditched BNP and joined hands with Ershad to become Deputy Prime Minister and then Prime Minister before finally becoming Vice President. After the fall of Ershad’s autocratic rule, Moudud made a dramatic volte-face and joined BNP again. Opportunist politicians with shifting loyalties like Moudud Ahmed do not make a leader and cannot be entrusted with the onerous task of leading a national level political party.


In the run-up to the next general elections, BNP seems to be in the doldrums. Its prospects look dim and uncertain.