Despite the fact that the distance between Dhaka and London is roughly 8,000 kilometers, the ancient city has already turned into the headquarters of pro-Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), wherefrom Tarique Rahman, acting chairman of the party and a convicted fugitive is running activities and making frantic bids of turning a predominantly Muslim South Asian nation into a sharia republic. According to news reports, Tarique Rahman also is bribing British politicians in using them against a current secularist government in Bangladesh. It was also reported that UK Labour Party’s Pakistan-British MP Khalid Mahmood has met Tarique Rahman on several occasions and been working in protecting interest of BNP. Tarique Rahman lives in exile in London ever since United Kingdom granted him political asylum a decade ago. Sitting in his luxurious residence-cum-office in London, Tarique Rahman is running the BNP’s day-to-day affairs and been issuing telephonic and Zoom orders to Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, while he also is maintaining several lobbyists and representatives in Washington DC. Two individuals namely William B Milam, a former senior official of the US State Department and Mushfiqul Fazal Ansarey, a Bangladeshi journalist are under Tarique Rahman’s permanent payroll.
According to BLiTZ reports, Ansarey succeeded in enrolling himself as the White House correspondent of a website named ‘Just News’ by falsely claiming as its “US Correspondent”, despite the fact that ‘Just News’ has no existence in Bangladesh and been run from the United States where Ansarey is its editor. Mushfiqul Fazal Ansarey also has obtained press cards for accessing US Capitol, the State Department and the United Nations.
Significantly, London is also a safe haven for Jamaat-e-Islami party, a prominent BNP ally. Jamaat-e-Islami had opposed the war of independence of Bangladesh in 1971 and is known as a party committed to protecting interests of Pakistan and Islamist forces. Both Jamaat and BNP are also known for their anti-India, anti-Hindu and anti-Semite ideologies.
It may be mentioned here that Britain has a rather long history of hosting political fugitives from South Asia. Sri Lankan Tamils, Kashmiris, Sikhs and Nagas from India and Pakistani Muhajirs have waged protracted battles against their governments from the safety of London.
Successive governments in the United Kingdom – whether run by Conservatives or Labor – have stood by Asian rebels and insurgents living in exile and fighting for a cause. As long as the fugitives don’t break British laws, they are well beyond the reach of their governments. And some of them are so lucky that they have British MPs loudly espousing their cause.
Tarique Rahman behind 2021 sanctions on RAB
Several years ago, BNP leader Tarique Rahman appointed UK barrister Toby Cadman for getting Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and several politicians in Bangladesh under sanctions from the United States and United Kingdom. Accordingly, Cadman prepared a dossier, which he later sent to several agencies in London and Washington with the request of imposing sanctions. While the US Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on December 10, 2021, authorities in the US decided at the last minute to not impose sanctions. According to media reports, London had pulled the plan of sanctions at the eleventh hour.
Admitting his direct involvement behind sanctions on RAB, Barrister Toby Cadman said: “I filed the request for sanctions and whilst I am not in a position to discuss the substance, I can confirm that I discussed the request with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office [FCDO]”, Cadman said, referring to the UK Foreign Office.
“Having worked on both the US and UK request for sanctions, I was strongly of the view that a coordinated response was necessary in the circumstances”, Cadman said. “Our filing in the UK targeted political officials and those in the security sector”.