BNP general secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. Prothom Alo file photo The documents state minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam produced to support his claim that BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman along with his wife and daughter handed over their passports to the British Home Office four years ago are not authentic, BNP general secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged on Tuesday.
At a press conference at the party office in the city, Fakhrul termed Shahriar’s claims mysterious and said the documents have as many as 13 flaws, which do not go with a UK state entity.
The state minister had said the passports of Tarique, his wife and daughter were returned to the High Commission on 2 June 2014 through the British Home Office, a statement that stirred controversy in the country’s political arena.
“Now, they have’ve no travel documents to come to Bangladesh,” he added.
On Monday, Tarique sent a legal notice to Shahriar asking him to prove by 10 days his remark that he has relinquished his nationality by submitting his Bangladeshi passport. Or else, the BNP leader threatened to file both criminal and civil cases against Shahriar Alam. On behalf of Tarique, BNP law affairs secretary Kaiser Kamal sent the notice by post to the foreign ministry’s address, said a UNB report.
The same day evening, state minister Shahriar held a press conference where he produced a copy of Tarique’s expired passport and a document of the UK Home Office.
When asked if handing over the passport was tantamount to relinquishing one’s nationality, he said, “As a politician I think so. In a foreign country your passport is your identity. Returning it means you no longer need this. To me, he (Tarique) is no longer a Bangladeshi citizen.”
BNP general secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the name of the department is wrongly mentioned in the document Shahriar had produced. The document mentioned ‘Bangladesh Embassy’, whereas it should have been ‘High Commission of Bangladesh’. The way the telephone number and fax number were mentioned, also does not conform to the British system.
At the beginning, ‘Dear Sirs’ is written instead of ‘Dear Sir’ and although it at first mentions four passports, in the end it talks about only one. The letter ‘F’ of the word ‘Faithfully’ is also in capital, which the British do not do, observes the BNP leader, adding that there is no signatory to the letter.
He said Tarique sought political asylum like any other rebel leader, which he was later granted. “The submission of the passport is a part of the procedure. According to the UK rules, he was given a travel permit after submiiting his passport to the home office. He does not need that now. When he is willing to travel home, he will get his passport back after applying to the UK authorities.”
“The propaganda they are spreading about the submission of Tarique’s passport is baseless. It never proves that he has relinquished his nationality.
He lamented that the state minister’s only achievement from the UK tour is three photocopied pages of a passport that had been issued in 2008 and a letter full of mistakes they claim to be of the British Home Office.
“How weak their blueprint is!” he quipped.
“We want to let the countrymen know that Tarique Rahman is a proud citizen of Bangladesh by birth. He was, is and will be a citizen of this beloved country,” Fakhrul added.
BNP standing committee members Mirza Abbas and Nazrul Islam Khan, vice chairmen Abdul Awal Mintoo and Barkat Ullah Bulu, and senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi were also present on the occasion.