Will resign from Parliament: Latif Siddique tells Election Commission

Will resign from Parliament: Latif Siddique tells Election Commission

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Expelled Awami League leader and former minister Abdul Latif Siddique says he will resign from Parliament.“I will resign voluntarily. That’s my decision. There is no need to hold a hearing on it,” he told a hearing at the Election Commission (EC) over his Parliament membership.The former member of the Awami League’s policymaking Presidium had moved the court challenging the EC’s move, but his petition was scrapped by the High Court and the Appellate Division also turned it down on Sunday.Siddique and his lawyer went to the EC after the appeals court’s hearing.Awami League’s Office Secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap and Assistant Secretary Riazul Kabir Kawsar attended the hearing on behalf of General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam.The hearing started around 11 am in presence of the chief election commissioner, the four commissioners, EC secretary and it’s legal wing secretary.It lasted only for 15 minutes as Siddique said that he will be stepping down.Before leaving EC premises, he told reporters that the sudden move to not press on with legal proceedings was to respect the ‘will’ of Awami League chief Shiekh Hasina.“I came to know, though a little late…that my leader does not want me to go any further on this matter.”The former telecoms minister said that even after his expulsion, he is still ‘loyal’ to ‘the leader’.“Since I am a loyal person, I told the commission to adjourn the hearing and that I will hand in my resignation to the Speaker.”
Meanwhile, the Election Commission says that the next steps will be taken in keeping with the regulations.“He has expressed his desire to resign. The next procedure will be initiated according to the law,” Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad told reporters after the hearing.Siddique was sacked from Cabinet last year for his controversial comment on Hajj and subsequently expelled from his party.Speaking at a discussion in New York on Sep 28, he said: “I’m more averse to Hajj and Tabligh than I am to Jamaat-e-Islami. So much manpower is wasted over Hajj. Two million people are now in Saudi Arabia for Hajj. They have no work or role in production. They only eat and go abroad using the country’s money”.Siddique had also said Sheikh Hasina’s son Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed Joy was not part of the government and that he had no authority to take decisions.Criticisms mounted when a video clip of the programme went viral on the social media.The four times MP from Tangail-4 was serving as a Cabinet member holding portfolios of post, telecommunications and ICT.During the 2009-13 term of the Awami League led government he was in charge of the jute and textile ministry.He was in jail for almost nine months in several cases accusing him of ‘hurting religious sensitivities’ until he was released on bail in June this year.On July 5, eight months after his expulsion, Awami League’s letter notifying Parliament of Siddique’s ouster from the party reached Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury.
On Jul 13, the Speaker wrote to the chief election commissioner to resolve the matter when the EC asked the former minister and the Awami League general secretary to explain.Both clarified to the EC in writing.In his letter, Syed Ashraf asked the EC to cancel Latif Siddique’s Parliament membership as he was expelled from the party.The Tangail lawmaker had called the EC to let Parliament decide the issue.The commission then wrote to both to appear before a hearing on Sunday.Siddique moved the High Court against the initiative, but his petition was rejected on Thursday. He then moved the Appellate Division against the decision.On Sunday, the four-member appeals bench led by the chief justice heard the matter but did not issue any order, which meant the High Court’s decision remained effective.Latif Siddique then attended the EC hearing, where he said that he will be stepping down and that a hearing on the matter was not needed.

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