Thursday, July 4, 2019

Why the Sunday Times has a lot of explaining to do

Bangladesh, an authoritarian regime, notorious for arbitrary detentions, false cases, extra judicial killings and disappearances would not seem the ideal source for a supposed expose in the Sunday Times claiming that a businessman who has lived in the UK for ten years was in fact a jihadist “terrorist”, and “arms dealer”.

But this did little to deter Tom Harper, the Sunday Time’s Home Affairs Correspondent from making such an allegation against Shahid Uddin Khan, a former colonel in the Bangladesh army in a report published late last month.

If the provenance of the allegations did not itself raise alarm bells about their integrity (and one assumes that for the Sunday Times, it did not) all that Harper had to do was to read an Al Jazeera investigation published in March which explained how Khan, far from being a “Jihadist” and “terrorist”, had been good friends and business partners with Tarique Ahmed Siddique, the security adviser to the Bangladesh prime minister and indeed the uncle of British parliamentarian Tulip Siddique MP. For ten years between 2009 and 2018, Siddique and Khan’s families jointly owned a land company in Bangladesh with Siddique’s wife as the chairperson and Khan the managing director.