A Dhaka court accepted a prosecution appeal on Sunday to bring back Tarique Rahman, elder son of BNP leader Khaleda Zia, from London, and issued arrest warrant against him on Sunday. The court said Interpol would be asked to execute the warrant.
Tarique, the senior vice-chairman of the opposition BNP, has been staying in London for six years. He was detained in 2007 by the military backed caretaker government but was allowed to travel abroad for “treatment” in 2008. He faces 15 cases for laundering money and also for grenade attack on a rally in August 2004, when Sheikh Hasina, now Prime Minister, miraculously survived but 22 leaders of the then opposition Awami League were killed .
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed a case against Tarique and Giasuddin Al Mamun, an associate and business partner of Tarique, for laundering Tk 20.41 crore to Singapore between 2003 and 2007 . In August 2011, a Dhaka court framed charges against Tarique and issued an arrest warrant against him. Ms. Khaleda’s younger son, Arafat Rahman “Koko” — living abroad since 2008 — is also facing charges of money laundering . His counsel said the High Court had stayed proceedings in 12 cases taking place in the lower courts.
Having maintained a low profile for several years, Tarique was recently in news when he attended a BNP function in East London on May 20 and delivered a fiery anti-government speech. With present government’s tenure nearing completion, Tarique has been indicating a return to energise the opposition party, now facing hard times due to war crimes trial and its alliance with radical Islamists, including Jamaat-e-Islami and Hefazat-e-Islam. His mother, who wants her son to take the party leadership, has also started lobbying at an international level to put pressure on the government not to harass Tarique on his return.