India Denies Entry to British MP Over ‘Inappropriate Visa’

India sent back British MP Lord Alexander Carlile soon after his flight landed in New Delhi, since he was not carrying an "appropriate" visa.


India sent back British member of parliament Lord Alexander Carlile soon after his flight landed in New Delhi from London on July 11, since he was not carrying an appropriate visa. Carlile’s intended activity in the country was incompatible with the purpose of his visit as mentioned in his visa application, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

The UK politician, who is also a lawyer and an adviser to the legal team of former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, was scheduled to address a press conference on July 12 in New Delhi, the Indian Express reported. Carlile has been engaged by Zia’s party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which is in opposition in the country, to defend her and her son Tareq Zia, in corruption cases. The member of the House of Lords, the upper house of the UK Parliament, was appointed as Zia’s legal consultant in March.

“Lord Alexander Carlile, a British national, arrived in New Delhi on July 11, 2018 without having obtained the appropriate Indian visa. His intended activity in India was incompatible with the purpose of his visit as mentioned in his visa application. It was therefore decided to deny him entry into India upon arrival,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

The Indian government’s decision is expected to be received well by the current Sheikh Hasina government in Bangladesh, which had denied permission to Carlile to visit the the country, NDTV reported.

The Indian High Commission in Dhaka had urged the government not to issue him a visa for the press conference, the United News of Bangladesh reported citing a diplomatic source in New Delhi.

Carlile wanted to condemn Bangladesh’s court verdicts against Zia in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case, and criticize Bangladesh government on India’s land, the UNB report added. The 72-year-old leader was jailed for five years in February 2018 after she was found guilty of embezzling funds for the orphanage trust set up when she was prime minister. She has about 35 cases filed against her, which her supporters say are a government ploy to keep her and her family out of Bangladesh politics.

Carlile told the Dhaka Tribune that he had applied for an Indian visa, but his application had been delayed. “Since I did not get the permission to come to Dhaka, I wanted to hold the press conference in India in order explain the complexities of Khaleda Zia’s case to the international media community,” he wrote in an email reply to the publication.

The British MP is said to have links with the Pakistan-based Jamaat-e-Islami extremist group, after he criticized Bangladesh’s judicial system for awarding death penalty to Jamaat leaders for war crimes committed during the 1971 against Pakistan, the Dhaka Tribune had reported earlier. Carlile had urged the government in 2016 to revoke the death sentence given to Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali, saying he did not regard the trial process as fair. Ali was later executed on Sept. 3, 2016.

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