Alexander Charles Carlile, independent member of the UK House of Lords, has expressed disappointment at the Awami League's decision to skip a dialogue on Bangladesh affairs in London.
In a statement yesterday, Lord Carlile said the aim of the dialogue was to provide an opportunity for a factual analysis of serious problems in Bangladesh, but the government delegation withdrew at the last moment without valid reason.
The lawmaker said he was disappointed by the “false statement issued by the Press Minister Nadeem Kadir of Bangladesh High Commission in London about the holding and conduct of the seminar.”
Nadeem was not available for comment.
However, a delegation of BNP joined the dialogue titled “Terrorism in Bangladesh and Rule and Law” at the upper house of the British parliament on Tuesday.
According to sources, the government delegation comprised of Prime Minister's Economic Affairs Adviser Mashiur Rahman, International Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi and former foreign minister Dipu Moni had been to London to join the meeting, but they didn't attend it “as they were not aware that the seminar was a private event”.
Lord Carlile in his statement sent to all participants on July 12 said, “The seminar is not an official or public event. Rather, it is a privately organised and closed event … it is taking place in the UK Parliament, where we apply the doctrine of free speech whether we like or dislike those with whom we may disagree: there will be no compromise of that doctrine.”
Accordingly, the Bangladesh government delegation confirmed their attendance, he added.
BNP standing committee member Amir Khorsu Mahmud Chowdhury, party leaders Rumeen Farhana and Humayun Kabir took part in the dialogue which was also attended by Human Rights Watch's South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly and two representatives of UK foreign ministry, according to sources in London.