Canadian visa row: House panel expresses dissatisfaction

Sheikh Shahariar Zaman and Emran Hossain Sheikh
Published : 19:40, Dec 02, 2019 | Updated : 00:19, Dec 03, 2019

REUTERS/File PhotoParliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs has expressed its dissatisfaction that the Canadian High Commission denied visas to some senior retired government officials.
It also urged the foreign ministry to take up the issue and conveyed its sentiment to the North American country.
The issue was discussed at the sixth standing committee meeting held in October when its Chairman Faruk Khan had termed the incident as ‘unfortunate’ and ‘unacceptable’.
The chairman informed the committee members that six retired generals complaint to him in writing that they and their family members were denied Canadian visas, the minute of the meeting said.
Faruk Khan emphasised on raising the issue with the Canadian side at the foreign office consultation and other diplomatic platforms.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque informed the meeting that the high commission does not inform individuals why they deny the visa.
Shahidul Haque also said that Canada has a policy of not issuing the visa to human rights violators.
In reply, Faruk Khan said, members of the defence force are qualified, professional and honest and that’s why they are working as peacekeepers for long with a strong reputation.

He said that’s why the allegation that defence force members have violated human rights is not acceptable and he would send a letter to Canadian high commissioner, the minutes said.

When Asked, Faruk Khan told Bangla Tribune that the ministry has briefed the standing committee on the update at the last meeting.

The ministry "summoned the Canadian envoy and protested the visa rejection. In reply, the Canadian side said that they didn't reject the visa and claimed to take time in processing for various reasons," he added.
The Canadian authorities assured the foreign ministry of issuing visa soon, Faruk said before adding someone has already got the North American country's visa.
The foreign ministry also asked the Canadian side to directly contact to the ministry in case the latter requires more clarification or find anything suspicious, Faruk said.

When contacted a senior government official seeking anonymity said, “The issue has been raised with the Canadian authorities and we expressed our sentiment.”
We told them that it might have a consequence in the bilateral relationship, he said.
In the seventh meeting of the standing committee held recently, the foreign ministry reported to the body that they had taken action.
When contacted with the foreign secretary, he declined to make any comment.

The Canadian embassy in Dhaka didn't reply to request for comment.