LABOUR MP Tulip Siddiq has apologised to Channel 4 producer Daisy Ayliffe for mentioning her pregnancy during a public exchange, but her apology shouldn’t have been the only one.
Channel 4 News ought to have expressed regret for gatecrashing Siddiq’s event to highlight the ongoing incarceration of her constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran.
Its justification was that the Labour MP should contact her aunt, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, to demand answers about the alleged abduction by state security forces of British-trained barrister Ahmad bin Quasem.
“Just one telephone call” was the constant, disingenuous refrain from reporter Alex Thomson and the lawyer’s family as though heads of government jump immediately into action on being contacted by a British relation.
Viewers might not know that Ahmad bin Quasem’s father Mir Quasem Ali was the main financial backer of the Jamaat-e-Islami jihadist party who was hanged last year for war crimes.
Jamaat-e-Islami opposed Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971, taking part in many atrocities, after which Sheikh Hasina’s father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who led the freedom struggle, was assassinated in a military coup.
Opposition forces in Bangladesh, with Jamaat-e-Islami to the fore, have also deployed terrorism against Sheikh Hasina’s government and faced state violence and trials of dubious legality in return.
C4 concern about the actions of Bangladesh’s politicians, armed forces and judiciary should be directed to Dhaka not to a Labour MP representing her constituent languishing in a Tehran jail.
Ayliffe, Thomson and C4 News, where is your apology to Siddiq and the Zaghari-Ratcliffe family?