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Anti-Hindu Bangladeshi political party is a terrorist organization

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research scholar, and counterterrorism specialist. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers.

Couple of days ago, a number of newspapers in Bangladesh catered a report stating a Federal Court in Toronto Canada has once again declared ultra-Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) as a terrorist organization. It said, this was for the fifth time any Canadian court has made such declaration. Although this claim could not be verified. Instead, it was earlier learnt that a court in the United States had also declared the BNP as an “undesignated Tier-III terrorist organization”.

According to local media reports, Justice Andrew D. Little in a judgement through Docket number IMM-5844-22 and Citation number 2023 FC 847 on June 15, 2023 in his verdict the Canadian court came up with the review when a BNP activist named Mohammad Zips-d Ibn-Haque had sought political asylum in the country. But the court rejected his appeal mentioning that BNP is a terrorist organization.

It said, the Canadian Federal Court observed that there were reasonable grounds to believe that BNP has been engaged or will engage in acts of terrorism.

According to the verdict, the man (BNP activist Mohammad Zipsed-Ibn-Haque) was involved with such an organization that has forcibly been trying to overthrow a democratic government through violence and terrorism.

While deciding a judicial review application, the court judge termed BNP as a terrorist organization. The judicial review was filed against the rejection of the BNP activist’s appeal for political asylum.

Mohammad Zipsed-Ibn-Haque had sought political asylum in Canada pretending him to be a victim of political revenge in Bangladesh. In that judgment review, the Federal Court of the country mentioned that the applicant was a member of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party from 2011 to 2015. 

The verdicts also mentioned that the Canadian immigration authorities have found reasonable grounds to believe that the BNP is an organization that has engaged in violence and sabotage to try to oust the legitimate Awami League government.

In the court review the criteria for the rejection of the appeal of the BNP activists also considered the rejection of the political asylum requests of other BNP activists including Masood Rana in 2018 and Salim in 2022. Even at that time, the request for political asylum of those two Bangladeshis was cancelled citing BNP as a terrorist organization.

Earlier in 2022, the Canadian court rejected an asylum plea of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal activist Selim Bashar and termed the BNP a terrorist organization. 

It may be mentioned here that in 2018, the Canadian court termed the BNP as a terrorist organization again when a BNP activist named Mostofa Kamal had sought political asylum in Canada.

In the same year in 2018, the Canadian court rejected another appeal of BNP activist Masud Rana seeking political asylum and had termed BNP as a terrorist organization.

Earlier in 2017, BNP was termed as a terrorist organization by the Canadian court for the first time when Mohammad Jewel Hossain Gazi, an activist of the Jatiyatabadi Swechchhasebak Dal (Nationalist Volunteer Party), an associate organization of BNP, in Gazipur of Bangladesh, had sought political asylum from the Canadian government.

In the review, the court had rejected his appeal terming the BNP as a terrorist organization.

UK Home Office unaware of Tarique Rahman’s terrorist acts

On June 30, 2023 in a letter which was delivered on the same day to Rt Hon Suella Braverman KC MP, Member of Parliament for Fareham and UK Home Secretary, I wrote a letter seeking information on convicted terrorist Tarique Rahman under the Freedom of Information Act, passed on November 30, 2000.

In the above letter, it was stated:

I would like to submit the following information about a Bangladeshi politician who also is a convicted terrorist and connected to cross-border terrorist acts.

Back in 2007, a Bangladeshi politician named Tarique Rahman went to the United Kingdom along with his wife Dr. Zubaida Rahman and daughter Zaima Rahman and has subsequently sought political asylum in the United Kingdom.

On November 3, 2008, then US ambassador to Bangladesh, James F. Moriarty in a confidential cable (Canonical ID 08DHAKA1143_a) to the Secretary of State, seeking suspending entry of Tarique Rahman to the United State wrote:

“The Embassy is seeking a security advisory opinion under section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Presidential Proclamation 7750, suspending the entry into the United States of Tarique Rahman (aka Tarique), born on November 20, 1967 in Bangladesh. The Embassy believes Tarique is guilty of egregious political corruption that has had a serious adverse effect on US national interests mentioned in Section 4 of the proclamation, namely the stability of democratic institutions and US foreign assistance goals. The Embassy is not seeking to apply a 212(f) finding to Tarique Rahaman’s wife, Dr. Zubaida Rahman, to their daughter, Zaima Rahman, or to his mother Begum Khaleda Zia, a former Prime Minister of Bangladesh”.

Ambassador Moriarty further wrote: “Tarique Rahman, the notorious and widely feared son of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, was released on bail from prison on September 3. He departed Bangladesh to seek medical treatment in the UK on September 11. Having served as the Senior Joint Secretary General of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Tarique is an extremely high-profile political figure. Notorious for flagrantly and frequently demanding bribes in connection with government procurement actions and appointments to political officeTarique is a symbol of kleptocratic government and violent politics in Bangladesh.

His release occurred despite multiple pending cases against him on charges of, inter alia, corruption, extortion, bribery, embezzlement and tax evasion. With deep political ties that reach the highest court in the land, Tarique managed to manipulate the judicial process and overcome a concerted effort by the Caretaker Government to block his bail. We believe Tarique has several passports, including a new one in which the UK issued him a visa in September. Another passport contains a five year multiple-entry B1/B2 visa (issued May 11, 2005). We suspect that passport is being held by the government”.

Accusing Tarique Rahman of accumulating hundreds of millions of dollars, Ambassador James F. Moriarty wrote:

“Tarique reportedly has accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit wealth. There are multiple extortion cases pending against him, founded on the testimony of numerous prominent business owners who he victimized and exploited. In one case, Tarique allegedly threatened Al Amin Construction owner Amin Ahmed with closure of the company unless he received a payment of 150,000 USD.

Other local business leaders, including Mohammad Aftab Uddin Khan of Reza Construction, Ltd, Mir Zahir Hossian of Mir Akhter Hossain Ltd., and Harun Ferdousi have each filed accusations detailing a systematic pattern of extortion on a multi-million dollar scale. The ACC has also filed charges of concealing ill-gotten wealth, and the National Board of Revenue has brought tax evasion charges against Tarique”.

Tarique Rahman, the acting chairman of the BNP, who is not only a convicted terrorist but has also been involved in funding and supporting cross-border insurgency groups in India. Major General Gaganjit Singh, former Deputy Director General of India’s Defense Intelligence Agency, has labeled Tarique Rahman as the mastermind behind a major arms haul in Chattogram (Chittagong) in 2004. The arms were intended for multiple rebel groups in India’s northeast, with the BNP-Jamaat alliance providing sanctuary and support for these activities.

The BNP’s involvement in terrorist activities extends further, as evidenced by the orchestrated grenade attacks on Sheikh Hasina and leaders of the Awami League in 2004. These attacks resulted in the loss of 24 lives and numerous injuries. Tarique Rahman, along with other BNP members and former top intelligence officials, was found guilty and received various punishments for their involvement in the attacks. In fact, Rahman himself was sentenced to life in prison. The verdicts and convictions leave no room for doubt about the BNP’s terrorist agenda and its leaders’ direct involvement in heinous acts.

The United States Department of Justice has published court documents indicating that the BNP is considered an undesignated terrorist organization under US law. The organization has been associated with terrorist groups like Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB), Ansar Al Islam, Hizbut Tahrir, and others. Shockingly, despite these damning connections, Western politicians have been accepting lobbying assignments from the BNP and supporting its return to power, thereby jeopardizing the stability and secular nature of Bangladesh.

From its inception, the BNP, led by military dictator General Ziaur Rahman, has pursued an anti-India, anti-Hindu, and pro-Islamist agenda, seeking to transform Bangladesh into a Taliban-like state. During its rule from 2001 to 2006, BNP supporters openly chanted extremist slogans and expressed hostility toward the United States. The party has also sponsored and patronized Islamist militant outfits like Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB), Harkat-ul-Jihad (HuJI), and Khatmey Nabuwat Movement, which have been responsible for targeting religious minorities and carrying out terrorist acts.

The BNP’s deeper ties with Hefazat-e-Islam (HeI), an organization advocating for the transformation of Bangladesh into a caliphate, further highlight its extremist ideology. Under BNP’s patronage, HeI has made a 13-point demand that includes suppressing freedom of expression, promoting discrimination against religious minorities, and imposing strict Islamic education in schools. These demands bear a striking resemblance to those of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIS, raising serious concerns about the BNP’s radical connections and intentions.

Major General Gaganjit Singh, former Deputy Director General of India’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), said BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman was the mastermind of 10 truck arms haul in Chattogram [Chittagong] in 2004.

Talking to India Today and a television channel in Bangladesh, he said the arms were being supplied under direct patronization of the then BNP-Jamaat alliance to use Bangladesh as a sanctuary.

Ten trucks full of arms seized at Chittagong in April 2004 were meant not only for the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) but also for a few other rebel groups in India’s northeast to destabilize the country, he added. The arms were being supplied by taking advantage of the BNP-Jamaat alliance to use Bangladesh as a sanctuary, Singh revealed.

It may be mentioned here that, on August 21, 2004, at the direct instructions of Tarique Rahman, terrorists of BNP along with members of militancy outfits such as Harkat-ul-Jihad (HuJI) had launched grenade attacks targeting Sheikh Hasina and leaders of Awami League. According to the court verdict, this gruesome attack was a well-orchestrated plan through abuse of state power.

And all the accused, including BNP Senior Vice Chairman (now acting chairman) Tarique Rahman and former top intelligence officials, were found guilty and handed down various punishments for the grenade attacks that killed 24 people and injured scores. In the murder case, Tarique Rahman and 18 others were sentenced to life in prison.

It may also be mentioned here that Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami is believed to have been founded as an offshoot of a Pakistani group in 1992 with money and support from suspected global terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. The United Nations Security Council has termed Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islam as a “violent extremist group operating throughout South Asia, which has carried out numerous terrorist attacks in India and Pakistan”.

In the letter, I asked the following questions to UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman:

To my understanding, Tarique Rahman has been living a luxurious life in the United Kingdom and been spending dirty cash he has amassed through corruption and extortion. Sitting in the United Kingdom, he also has been continuing subversive activities against Bangladesh despite the fact of being a convicted terrorist with direct involvement in cross-border terrorist acts.

Under the above-stated information, may I please humbly ask, if the United Kingdom allows a convicted terrorist to still be considered eligible for asylum. Furthermore, I would also like to know, if an extortionist and corrupt individual is allowed to use his ill-gotten money in the United Kingdom or if authorities concerned in the United Kingdom have asked Tarique Rahman to show his source of income.

What UK Home Secretary has said?

On July 31, 2023, in response to my letter, an official at the UK Home office responded stating, they are unable to provide latest status of Tarique Rahman under “Data Protection Act 2018”.

It further said:

The safety and security of the UK and the people who live here is the Government’s highest priority.

If you fear that a crime has been committed, or is about to be committed, you are strongly encouraged to report it to the police in the area where the crime has occurred.

The police are obliged to assess the strength of a complaint and then decide whether there are grounds for a formal investigation. Any decision with regard to a criminal investigation is an operational matter for the police force concerned and not the Home Office.

Doesn’t this letter from the UK Home Secretary Ms. Suella Braverman clearly prove how desperately the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his entire administration are providing shelter to a convicted terrorist by stating they are not aware of his convictions? This is the same way Britain has been harboring dozens of terrorists, hardened criminals, money-launderer and mafias.

Such actions of the UK government clearly prove – how desperately they try to protect any criminal and even a convicted terrorist. With this specific case, as UK government’s rogue policy is proven, can the United Kingdom anymore proclaim itself as a democracy anymore? Can now someone say – the United Kingdom is a safe haven of criminals, militants, mafias, money-launderers and terrorists?

I am calling upon the esteemed members of the UK Parliaments – both from the Labour and Conservative (Tory) parties to look into this matter and launch an investigation against Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman for their proven acts of abetting with a convicted terrorist.

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research scholar, and counterterrorism specialist. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers.
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