Tarique Rahman

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Tarique Rahman
তারেক রহমান
Tarique in 2009
Chairman of the Nationalist Party
Assumed office
19 January 2019
Preceded byKhaleda Zia
Personal details
Born (1967-11-20) 20 November 1967 (age 55)
Karachi, Pakistan
Political party
(m. 1993)
ChildrenZaima Rahman (daughter)
RelativesMajumder–Zia family
Residence(s)London, United Kingdom
Alma mater

Tarique Rahman is a Bangladeshi politician and businessman who is the current acting chairman of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) since February 2018.[1] He is the eldest son of former president Ziaur Rahman and former two-time prime minister Khaleda Zia. Born on 15 November 1966, Tarique was involved in politics from a young age and rose to prominence in the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) during his mother's tenure as prime minister in the early 2000s. In 2018, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for organising the 2004 Dhaka grenade attack.[2]

Rahman was widely seen as a powerful figure in the BNP and held several high-profile positions within the party, including the post of senior joint secretary general.[3] However, his political career was marred by controversy, and he faced numerous allegations of corruption and abuse of power during his time in office.[4]

In 2008, Tarique's mother lost the general election, and the BNP was replaced by the Awami League-led government.[5] Tareq Zia went into self-imposed exile in London soon after, citing concerns for his safety and claiming that he was being persecuted by the authorities.[6] He has since been living in the United Kingdom and has largely remained out of the public eye.[7]

Despite his absence from Bangladesh's political scene, Tarique remains a controversial figure in the country's politics, with many of his detractors accusing him of corruption and nepotism.[8]

Early life and family[edit]

Rahman was born on 20 November 1967 in Karachi, Pakistan. He belongs to a notable Bengali Muslim political family of Mandals hailing from Bagbari in Gabtali, Bogra District. His paternal family also have Iranian ancestry via his great-grandmother Meherunnisa, whose forefathers arrived in Ghoraghat during the Mughal period.[9] His father, Ziaur Rahman, was the 7th President of Bangladesh, and his mother, Begum Khaleda Zia, was the 10th Prime Minister and first female Prime Minister of Bangladesh.


He studied at BAF Shaheen College Dhaka and completed his SSC from Dhaka Residential Model College. He then earned his HSC from Adamjee Cantonment College[10]

Political career[edit]

Rahman started his political career as a primary member of the BNP Gabtali Upazila, Bogura District in 1988.

Rahman actively assembled support for the party during the national elections of 1991, when the transition was taking place from the autocratic ruling to the democratic government.

Joining politics[edit]

Rahman was a member of the BNP's National Campaign Strategy Committee, and was also responsible for coordinating the election campaigns in five constituencies from which his mother Khaleda Zia was contesting.[11]

Major contribution in politics[edit]

During that period, he proactively organized the BNP units of Bogura and changed the inherent cultures to make politics more production and development oriented.[11]

After the BNP's success in the national elections of 1991 and the formation of the new government, Rahman was offered a senior role in the party as recognition of his contributions. However, he was reluctant to take up a higher position in order to have enough time to strengthen the party at the grassroots level. For many years, he remained active in developing the Bogura units of the BNP. During the national elections of 1996, the party grassroots and the senior leadership requested Rahman to contest a constituency from Bogura. But he declined the offer with a view to furthering his work at the grassroots levels and coordinating the election campaigns for his mother.[12]

During the ruling of the Awami League government in 1996–2001, Rahman mobilized movements against the actions of the government. He actively campaigned to address issues of economic deprivation and started championing a countrywide consultation program aimed at publicizing the plight of the people living in rural areas.

This large-scale program, the first in the history of Bangladesh of this nature, drove mass mobilization against the government, which in turn, played an instrumental role in fostering the return of the BNP to power. He established the secret ballot system in Bogura to elect leaders through open council.[13]

In the national elections held in 2001, the party won a landslide victory with a two-thirds majority.[14]

Forced exile[edit]

Tarique Rahman, is the prime convict to be the mastermind of 21 August 2004 terrorist grenade attack on a public rally organized by the then-opposition party Awami League. The attack using military grade Arges grenade targeted the entire top leadership of Awami League including current prime minister Sheikh Hasina and killed 24 Awami league leaders and workers including Ivy Rahman, President of Women Awami League and wife of late President Zillur Rahman. The attack also injured hundreds of victims and many became permanently crippled. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment by Bangladesh Court.[15][16]

Exile and asylum[edit]

Following the release of Rahman's mother Khaleda Zia on 11 September 2008, he flew to London, United Kingdom for medical treatment at Wellington hospital, an independent private hospital in St. John's Wood. The 1/11 interim government backed by the army confirmed that Rahman gave written bond of not to indulge in any future politics and was allowed to go abroad.[17]

The Anti corruption Commission filed 12 cases against Rahman and his friend and business partner, Giasuddin Al Mamun, which BNP claims is politically motivated and cases are being filed as part of the conspiracy of the immediate past caretaker government to prevent Rahman from participating in Bangladesh politics. On 16 October 2009 the High Court issued a rule asking the government and the Anti Corruption Commission Bangladesh to explain why the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case against Khaleda Zia and Rahman should not be quashed on a petition filed by Zia.[18] On 9 November 2017, the Bangladesh Supreme Court dismissed Khaleda and Rahman's petition seeking stay on trial proceedings on the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. The lower court now has no legal bar to continue the corruption case against them.[19]

Khaleda Zia said her son would take part in active politics upon his return from abroad after completing treatment. She addressed a few public meetings on her way to Bogura and alleged that the present government is trying to harass her son so that he cannot return to the country. She said, "Tareque worked for the development of the country, but a lot of cases were filed only to destroy him as a part of national as well as international conspiracies" She also added, "On March 7, 2007, he was picked up in a car right in front of me. But after the custody my son had to be sent abroad in a stretcher for treatment... Doctors have said his recovery will take more time..."[20]

On 8 December 2009 in The 5th National Council of Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Rahman was declared as the senior vice chairman of BNP.[21][22]

On 25 July 2013, Rahman was invited to an iftar party in London arranged by the expatriate supporters of the party.[23] In September 2013, some representatives from the Government of United States met Rahman and discussed some bilateral issues.[24]

On 4 January 2014, in a video message posted on YouTube,[25] Rahman called for a boycott of the next day's general election in Bangladesh.[26]

In November 2018, Rahman conducted the interview process through Skype for the nomination seekers of BNP party at the 2018 Bangladeshi general election.[27][28]

Tarique Zia has received British Citizenship.[29]

Cases and convictions[edit]

Money laundering case[edit]

On 7 June 2007, a money laundering case was submitted against Rahman and his friend and business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun by the Bangladesh Anti Corruption Commission at a court in Dhaka. In a verdict given on 18 November 2013 by the court, Rahman was acquitted in the case involving BDT 20.41 crore.[30] The Bangladesh Anti Corruption Commission member Mohammad Shahabuddin rejected the verdict, saying: "Tarique and Mamun had equal footing in the crime. So, legally there was no scope to differentiate."[31]

BNP officials and leaders claimed that this judgement is a proof of his innocence and he had no involvement with corruption, and that all the cases against Rahman were "politically motivated".[32]

On 21 July 2016, Rahman was found guilty by the Bangladesh High Court overturning a lower court verdict that acquitted him earlier. He was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment and fined Tk 20 crore by the Court. One interesting thing to note in this case here is right after delivering the controversial not-guilty verdict, the lower court judge fled the country. Rahman's money laundering case was the first case in the country's history where an FBI agent testified and produced evidence against a defendant in Bangladeshi court.[33] However, FBI has never confirmed this claim by the news paper Daily Star of Bangladesh.[citation needed]

On 3 November 2008, a leaked US Embassy cable said that the embassy in Dhaka believed Rahman was "guilty of egregious political corruption that has had a serious adverse effect on US national interests'".[34]

2004 Dhaka grenade attack case[edit]

On 10 October 2018, Rahman was sentenced to life in prison for the case of 2004 Dhaka grenade attack.[35] He was accused to be the mastermind of the attack by Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader. However, the accusation was denied by BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.[36]

Personal life[edit]

Rahman currently lives in suburban London.[26] He married Zubaida Rahman, a physician and the youngest daughter of Rear Admiral Mahbub Ali Khan, former Chief of Naval Staff of Bangladesh Navy, in 1993[37][38] and the first cousin of Irene Khan, a former Secretary General of Amnesty International.[10] Their only daughter Zaima Rahman is a barrister.[39] Zubaida became a government physician in 1995 after passing the Bangladesh Civil Service Exam and fired by the Awami League government in September 2014 for being absent from work for six years.[37]


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  2. ^ "Hefty sentences for deadly 2004 attack in Bangladesh – DW – 10/10/2018". dw.com. Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  3. ^ "Top 12 Politicians of Bangladesh (With Pictures)". Your Article Library. 5 April 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  4. ^ League, Bangladesh Awami. "Corruption of Zia Family and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)". www.albd.org. Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  5. ^ Sengupta, Somini; Manik, Julfikar Ali (30 December 2008). "Secular Party Wins Landslide Victory in Bangladesh". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  6. ^ "Tarique not returning". The Daily Star. 5 July 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Who will lead the BNP at the next election?". www.dhakatribune.com. 22 June 2022. Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  8. ^ "What if BNP comes to power again?". Bangla Insider. Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  9. ^ Malek, M. A. "জাতীয়তাবাদী চেতনার উৎস "প্রেসিডেন্ট জিয়াউর রহমান"". Ziaur Rahman (in Bengali).
  10. ^ a b "Personal life". Tarique Rahman. Archived from the original on 16 January 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  11. ^ a b "The Political Thought of Tarique Rahman"
  12. ^ "Bangladesh, Khaleda Zia Head Of Bangladesh National Party, Appointed First Woman Prime Minister". ITN Source. 18 March 1991. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  13. ^ খালেদা পুত্রের অতিথি-রাজনীতি!. Prothom Alo (Opinion) (in Bengali). 7 August 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  14. ^ "Share of Votes by Party". Bangladesh Election Commission. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  15. ^ "It was Hawa Bhavan Plot". The Daily Star. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  16. ^ "19 sentenced to death, 19 to life imprisonment in 2004 grenade attack in Bangladesh". The Economic Times. 10 October 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Britain to consider BNP chief's visa". New Age. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  18. ^ "HC asks why Zia Trust case will not be cancelled". bdnews24.com. 15 October 2009. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012.
  19. ^ "Graft case: SC clears way for trial against Khaleda". The Daily Star. 9 November 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  20. ^ "Tarique coming back to politics". The Daily Star. 21 November 2009.
  21. ^ "Tarique made senior vice chair". bdnews24.com. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  22. ^ Liton, Shakhawat; Suman, Rakib Hasnet (9 December 2009). "Tarique made powerful senior vice-chairman". The Daily Star.
  23. ^ "Tarique shares his ideas in London". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  24. ^ Rashidul Hasan (3 November 2008). "BNP to fight militancy | Tarique assures US embassy official". The Daily Star. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  25. ^ "Tarique Rahman's London Speech | 3rd January 2014". Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 4 January 2014 – via YouTube.
  26. ^ a b "Tarique calls for poll boycott". bdnews24.com. 14 September 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  27. ^ "Tarique joins nomination seekers' interview thru' Skype". The Daily Star. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  28. ^ "Tarique's taking BNP nomination seekers' interview illegal: Quader". The Daily Star. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  29. ^ "Tarique received British citizenship and staying in UK like a prince". The Bangla Insider. 24 December 2021. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  30. ^ "Money Laundering Case, Tarique acquitted". The Daily Star. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  31. ^ "Money Laundering Case | Mamun jailed for 7 years; surprised BNP finds 'a brave judge in subservient judiciary'". The Daily Star. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  32. ^ "Verdict proves Tarique innocent". The Daily Star. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  33. ^ "Tarique convicted, jailed for 7 years". The Daily Star. 22 July 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  34. ^ Shakhawat Liton and Shamim Ashraf (9 September 2011). "Tarique symbol of violent politics". The Daily Star. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  35. ^ "Babar, 17 others get death; Tarique awarded life". The Daily Star. 10 October 2018. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  36. ^ "Tarique mastermind of August 21 grenade attack: Quader". The Daily Star. 9 October 2018. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  37. ^ a b "Tarique's wife Zubaida fired from work". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  38. ^ Rashidul Hasan (20 August 2013). "Is Zubaida joining politics?". The Daily Star. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  39. ^ ব্যারিস্টার হলেন তারেক কন্যা জাইমা. Daily Naya Diganta (in Bengali). 4 December 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2020.