United States and other important donor countries want the removal Tarique Rahman (Zia) from the leadership of BNP at present. Foreign diplomats have made their stand clear that they will put pressure on the government for the election dialogue only if Tarique Rahman is kept away from BNP leadership. This information has been obtained from BNP and diplomatic sources.
BNP has taken the initiative to meet with the diplomats of the foreign countries in Bangladesh in the coming one or two days. As part of this initiative, BNP secretary-general has talked with the diplomats of some influential countries. In those conversations, the diplomats have asked BNP to decide on Tarique Zia first. The United States of America and India have made clear objection as to Tarique Zia’s leadership.
According to the relevant sources, an official of the US Embassy told the BNP secretary-general, ‘Tarique Rahman is not in the country. He is in the UK under political asylum. Then why would he lead the party?’ That official also suggested, `Let him come and lead the party.’ BNP secretary-general replied, `Zia family is essential in the politics of BNP. We cannot exclude Tarique at our will.’ The US official then said, ‘We are well aware of the activities of Tarique Rahman. And we have sensitive information about him.’
India`s position is similar to that of the United States. India seemed to be more stringent about the question of Tarique. A senior official of the Indian embassy in Dhaka held a long discussion with the BNP standing committee member Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan over Tarique issue. India has information that Tarique is involved in various illegal activities. According to them, Tarique poses danger to politics. India thinks that the first act of a sentenced politician is to deal with the charges brought against him.
Meanwhile, the British Embassy has assured BNP that Tarique has got the `legitimate` right to live in the UK permanently. According to the information of the British Embassy, Tarique Zia is not interested to return home. Therefore, they wanted to know from BNP about the need of keeping Tarique Rahman in the leadership position of the party.
Prior to the formal meeting with the diplomats, debate over Tarique Zia’s leadership in BNP has emerged to become a big issue. Last night BNP leaders discussed the matter in a meeting. When the war criminal Ghulam Azam was in London and in Pakistan, Jamaat did not speak publicly that he was the party’s ameer (chief leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh). At that time, Jamaat led the party with the acting ameer—this instance war referred by an influential leader of BNP. He said, ‘We can hide the name of Tarique Zia like that. And we can make someone as the acting chairman in the party’. However, Leaders present in the meeting of BNP have decided that they would talk with Tarique Rahman about the matter. And BNP wants to sit with diplomats after hearing his opinion.
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