NEW DELHI: After being denied entry into India, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia’s foreign legal consultant and British MP Lord Alexander Carlile accused India of acting in a slavish manner under pressure from the government in Dhaka.
India, however, hit back saying his motive for the visit was suspect as he was trying to create differences not just between India and the Bangladesh government but also between India and BNP, the Bangladesh opposition party headed by Zia.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Carlile’s real purpose for the visit did not match what he had mentioned in the visa application form. Despite being told his e-visa could not be honoured because of this ‘discrepancy’, Carlile arrived on Tuesday night armed with a return ticket for a flight scheduled to leave just two hours after his arrival, the government said.
According to Indian officials, Carlile knew he would not get entry into India and that’s why he had come with a return ticket. According to a report in Dhaka Tribune, he was expected to discuss in Delhi his client Khaleda Zia’s jail sentence in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case.
Carlile alleged that there was “intolerable political pressure” from the Bangladeshi government to try and stop him from going to India. “The Bangladesh government called in the acting Indian high commissioner in Dhaka and asked him to urge the Indian government to refuse me entry,”' he said, addressing journalists here through Skype.
“The Indian government did that and they ought to be ashamed of themselves, denying a British QC, a member of the House of Lords, entry into India,” Carlile added, alleging that there was an attempt underway with help of judiciary in Bangladesh to keep the Zia family out of politics.
He said he was coming to Delhi for two reasons -- to attend a press briefing as a leading lawyer in the team representing Zia and to meet colleagues in a Commonwealth body that deals with human rights. “When I embarked for India at Heathrow airport yesterday, my visa was checked through the automatic system on two occasions. When I arrived in Delhi later, I was informed that my visa had been revoked,” Carlile said.
There are several cases pending against Zia, including of graft. Her party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, claims that the cases are politically motivated to keep its party chief out of the national elections scheduled for December.