The Ministry of Foreign Affairs started working to bring convicted Tarique Zia back home by July. The Foreign Ministry`s strategy is that they want to end diplomatic negotiations with the UK Foreign office in February. The signing of an agreement between the two countries is in the final stage and this is the prisoner exchange deal where a convict will be extradited to the country where he/she was convicted. They want to complete the agreement by March-April. They want Tarique`s extradition by July. The Foreign Ministry sources have said that Tarique can be brought back to Bangladesh by July. When contacted, the Foreign Minister of new government Dr AK Abdul Momen said, "We are doing everything needed to bring Tarique back. The honorable prime minister has pledged to bring such a condemned convict back to Bangladesh."
After taking the responsibility of Awami League government, there are many tasks given a priority. It has been instructed to fix the priority tasks of different ministries on the basis of these priorities. In the priority of the Foreign Ministry, the issue of bringing Tarique Zia and other convicted fugitives back has been given the utmost importance. The newly appointed Foreign Minister Mr. Abdul Momen said that it is a big challenge for our Foreign Ministry to bring all the criminals who fled abroad to avoid the punishment back to the country. He said that "not only Tarique Zia, the notorious killers of 15 August of 1975 are absconding in different countries. We took initiatives to bring them back earlier but we could not succeed. But we must be successful this time. It`s a big challenge for us to bring them back."
Responsible sources of the Foreign Ministry said that BNP`s acting chief Tarique Zia has been sentenced to life imprisonment in a case and convicted in 7 years of imprisonment in another case. He got political asylum in the United Kingdom. The government of Bangladesh has formally requested the UK government to extradite Tarique in June last year. In the context of that petition, Tarique Zia said that he would be executed if he returns to the country. That is why he is not interested in going home. In support of his remarks, he handed over information about the activities of the August 21 grenade attack case to the British Home Department last year. But Tarique did not get the death sentence in this case rather he got life imprisonment. After this verdict, the government again asked the UK government to send Tarique back. A hearing began on December 19 where Tarique`s lawyer gave a written statement defending himself. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made several commitments, where she announced that if her government comes to power again, Tarique Zia will be brought back home and he will have to serve the punishment rendered by the court. And in this connection, the Foreign Ministry started working after the new government took power.
The relevant sources informed that the High Commissioner of Bangladesh in the UK has been asked to work on that issue as the first priority. But there is a turbulent situation over Brexit in Britain. A close source of the Foreign Ministry says that if Britain`s political situation gets a little better, they will talk about the extradition of Tarique with the British government. A source from the Foreign Ministry said that Tarique can be brought back. And they have important documents and information in favor of it. They think Britain is bound to return Tarique Zia to Bangladesh for five reasons:
1. Tarique Zia was sentenced to a corruption case. He has unauthorized illegal money. According to Britain`s Anti-Money Laundering Law, anyone who is financially opaque and corrupt does not have the right to get political asylum.
2. Tarique Zia has links to various terrorist and militant groups. Britain has a strict policy regarding terrorism. The person involved with such groups cannot get shelter in Britain.
3. Bangladesh government has information that Tarique conspired to destabilize the situation of Bangladesh. In the context of this evidence if any political asylum seeker is involved with such activities that would create disorder, then his /her right to gain his political asylum will become diminished.
4. Tarique Zia has been convicted in two cases. He has not been given death sentence in two cases. The Supreme Court`s judgment is still pending for its execution. Therefore, in the interest of justice, his political asylum should be abolished and he should be handed over to the Bangladesh government.
5. Tarique Zia got political asylum providing many false and incorrect facts.
Therefore, many officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs think that if these five arguments can be shown properly, then the repatriation of Tarique Zia will be a matter of time. After taking office, the Foreign Minister has held several meetings with the officials of the ministry in this regard. In those meetings they have determined the strategic process with a view to bringing back Tarique by July of this year