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BNP planning to set up meeting with Lord Carlile in Delhi

  • Published at 05:21 pm July 2nd, 2018
web-lord-alex-carlile-02-july-2018-1530551900008.jpg
Lord Alex Carlile, Baron Carlile of Berriew, UK Collected

The British legal expert will also reportedly start lobbying for BNP chief Khaleda Zia before the international media in the Indian capital

The BNP is reportedly planning to meet with Baron Alex Carlile in New Delhi, India later this month to discuss BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia imprisonment. 

Senior BNP leaders and Khaleda's legal counsels will fly out to Delhi to attend the meeting with the prominent British lawyer, sources at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of South Asia (FCC) confirmed to the Bangla Tribune. 

Lord Carlile is also set to hold a press conference at the FCC auditorium in New Delhi along with the BNP delegation on July 13, where they will present Khaleda's imprisonment in a corruption case as baseless and politically motivated, launching the lobbying in favour of the BNP chief before the international media, sources added. 

When the furore over the Delhi visit of a three-member BNP delegation in June has just died down, it seems BNP is looking to stir up the media again by arranging the meeting between Lord Carlile and BNP leaders, one of whom is likely to be BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. 

Lord Carlile, a member of the House of Lords of the British Parliament, is a barrister and one of the leading legal experts in the UK. 

He was appointed by the UK wing of the party to advise Khaleda's legal team on the 36 cases against the former prime minister, Mirza Fakhrul announced on March 20, nearly a month and a half after Khaleda was sentenced to five years in jail in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. 

The fact that the directive to appoint Lord Carlile came from BNP's acting chairman - and Khaleda's elder son - Tarique Rahman is no secret. 

But BNP knew that, despite being a part of Khaleda's legal team, Lord Carlile would not be allowed to participate in the questioning of witnesses at the court. Added to that is the possibility of him being denied entry to Bangladesh, yet Tarique was keen to get him on board because of the international exposure Lord Carlile could provide to Khaleda's case. In short, Lord Carlile could work as a “lobbyist” for Khaleda, sources said. 

Fakhrul said the same when asked why the British lawyer had been appointed. “Lord Carlile has a lot more experience in criminal cases and can give the case international exposure,” he told reporters at the March 20 press conference. 

And that is what happened. In an interview with Al Jazeera published on May 6, Lord Carlile said he did believe that Khaleda's jail sentence was a political ploy. 

“I have seen absolutely nothing to suggest that this client [Khaleda Zia] has been involved in any fraud,” he told Al Jazeera. 

BNP is certain that Lord Carlile will not be allowed entry into Bangladesh; it has already alleged that the government is obstructing him from coming to Dhaka. 

BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, during a press conference in the party's central office in Naya Paltan, Dhaka on May 8, said Carlile applied for visa at the Bangladesh High Commission in London, but the high commission did not respond to his application, reported UNB. 

"The high commission neither told him yes, nor no. It's exposed that the government is directly and unlawfully obstructing him from entering Bangladesh. We think the government did not give him the visa as it does not want Khaleda Zia's legal team to get stronger," Rizvi said.

This is why the party has chosen New Delhi as the closest neutral venue for the meet, as it is far less likely that India will deny Lord Carlile, a senior British MP, a visa, a senior BNP leader told the Bangla Tribune.

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