British lawyer for jailed Bangladeshi ex-PM ‘outraged’ by India entry denial

Bangladesh opposition leader and two-term Prime Minister Zia was jailed in February for corruption, but her party says the case is politically motivated by the ruling party in an election year. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2018
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British lawyer for jailed Bangladeshi ex-PM ‘outraged’ by India entry denial

  • Bangladesh opposition leader and two-term Prime Minister Zia was jailed in February for corruption
  • New Delhi militarily helped the then East Pakistan liberate itself from Pakistan in 1971

NEW DELHI: A British parliamentarian and lawyer, who is a counsel for jailed Bangladeshi politician Khaleda Zia, said on Thursday he was outraged by India's decision to deny him entry to address a press conference defending his client and meet a human rights body.
India's foreign ministry said it sent back Alex Carlile, a member of the House of Lords, from New Delhi airport on Wednesday because his "intended activity in India was incompatible with the purpose of his visit as mentioned in his visa application".
"This is no way to treat a 70-year-old senior lawyer and Parliamentarian," Carlile said in a statement. "I am outraged by the political interference in Begum Khaleda Zia's case on political grounds by two governments, and I expect a full explanation from the Indian Government. I have the visa they granted me a few days ago."
Bangladesh opposition leader and two-term Prime Minister Zia was jailed in February for corruption, but her party says the case is politically motivated by the ruling party in an election year. The Bangladeshi government has consistently denied the charges.
In his prepared statement for the planned New Delhi briefing on Thursday, released to reporters by email, Carlile said Bangladesh had delayed granting him a visa and that he was grateful to the Indian media for the chance to "lay bare the unfair and unjust approach of the Bangladesh authorities to the case of my client".
A Bangladesh foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment.
India's foreign ministry spokesman, Raveesh Kumar, told a weekly media briefing in New Delhi that it was not acceptable for Carlile to use Indian soil to hold such a press conference when he could have done the same from London.
Kumar declined to answer what category visa Carlile should have held other than his "business" visa, but said he suspected there was an attempt to "create some kind of a problem" in the relationship between India and Bangladesh.
India and Bangladesh enjoy close ties. New Delhi militarily helped the then East Pakistan liberate itself from Pakistan in 1971.
Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) said it was disappointed that India sent Carlile back.
"He has not been allowed to enter Bangladesh so wanted to raise the issues about her cases from our good neighbour India," BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told Reuters. "Our leader is in jail for several months and it's injustice done to her. He wanted to reveal the truth, but could not." (Additional reporting by Serajul Quadir in DHAKA; Editing by Toby Chopra)


India ‘arrogant’ for canceling rare meeting: Pakistan’s Khan

Updated 2 min 32 sec ago
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India ‘arrogant’ for canceling rare meeting: Pakistan’s Khan

ISLAMABAD: India’s decision to cancel rare talks with Islamabad was disappointing and “arrogant,” Imran Khan said Saturday, one day after New Delhi accused Pakistan’s prime minister of harboring an “evil agenda.”
India pulled the plug on a meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart set for next week on the sidelines of a major UN conference, just one day after saying it would go ahead.
The foreign ministry in New Delhi blamed the about-face on recent actions that had revealed Pakistan’s “evil agenda” and the “true face” of Khan, who hit back on Twitter Saturday.
“Disappointed at the arrogant & negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue,” he wrote.
“However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.”
New Delhi said it canceled the talks after the “latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities” and the recent release of a series of Pakistani postage stamps “glorifying a terrorist and terrorism.”
India did not specify which killings it was referring to in its statement, but earlier this week, an Indian border guard in the disputed territory of Kashmir was killed and his body mutilated.
Three policemen were then found dead on Friday after being abducted in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Pakistan also recently issued postage stamps of Burhan Wani, a charismatic Kashmiri militant commander killed by Indian troops in July 2016, whose death sparked a wave of violent protests in the territory.
India has long accused Pakistan of arming rebel groups in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both.
In a statement from its foreign office, Pakistan said Friday it had “nothing to do with” the deaths, accusing India of spreading “motivated and malicious propaganda.”
The meeting in New York between Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi — on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly debate — was only confirmed on Thursday.
It came after Khan wrote to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi calling for a resumption of talks between the nuclear-armed foes.
High-level talks between India and Pakistan are rare. Indian media described the meeting would have been the first in nearly three years.