A top Bangladesh Army officer has sought political asylum in the US to avoid returning home after his diplomatic assignment was curtailed. He has been declared an absconder, media reports here said on Wednesday.
Brigadier General Chowdhury Fazlul Bari demitted charge as the defence advisor at the embassy in Washington last month and was recalled after serving little over a year.
Bdnews24.com news agency said in a report from Washington that Bari was seeking political asylum in the US following his recall. He has not been seen in public since then.
However, Bari told The Daily Star newspaper that he wasn't seeking asylum since it was "expensive and difficult". He added that he had only sought leave to remain in Washington to let his children complete their education.
Quoting army sources, the newspaper said that since Bari had been away from duty for over three weeks, he was considered to be on leave without permission. On completion of 60 days' absence, he would be declared a "deserter" and thrown out of the service.
Bari was director of the powerful Directorate General of Field Intelligence (DGFI) during the 2007-2008 military-backed caretaker government and is known to have played a key role in the arrest of several top politicians and bureaucrats, the New Age newspaper said.
Since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took office in January, her Awami League associates who were probed by DGFI have alleged harassment and demanded curtailing of the influence of the DGFI.
It is not clear whether Bari would be granted asylum by the US. To obtain permission to stay in the country, the asylum seeker must prove to the authorities that his life would be in danger in his native country, the New Age said.