BNP PP meets todayStaff Correspondent
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s parliamentary party sits in a meeting today to decide whether to join the current session of Jatiya Sangsad to save their membership after skipping the house for 83 straight days.
The opposition leader, Khaleda Zia, has called the meeting in her office at the assembly building at 4:00pm today and most of the lawmakers gave a broad hint that they might join the session after the meeting. Lawmakers of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Jatiya Party, allies of the BNP, will also attend the parliamentary party meeting.
Ahead of the parliamentary party’s meeting, opposition chief whip Zainul Abdin Farroque on Saturday urged speaker Abdul Hamid to act neutrally. ‘We want to join the house to speak for the people. We will decide it tomorrow in the meeting of our parliamentary party. Before that I would ask the speaker to act neutrally, allow opposition to speak and take measures so that the environment in the house does not deteriorate,’ he said.
BNP lawmakers said it was hinted that they might join the house in the current session and they were staying in Dhaka since March 4 as per instruction.
Speaker Abdul Hamid on Thursday hinted that the current session would be extended further. He said the session might be stretched in a way so that it did not need to call another session between the current one and the budget session in the first week of June or late May.
Article 67 of the constitution says a lawmaker would lose membership of parliament if they remain absent in the house for 90 straight days. If the session continues until March 27, the opposition lawmakers, including the leader of the opposition, Khaleda Zia, would risk losing their membership.
Parliament secretariat sources said Khaleda Zia and lawmakers Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad and M Mosharraf Hossain were absent from the house for 83 days. Among them Kaikobad had informed the speaker that he was ill.
Ashrafuddin Nizan and Mostafa Kamal Pasha were absent for 82 days and Mozahar Ali Pradhan and Golam Mostafa for 78 days.
AKM Hafizur Rahman, Abdul Momin Talukder, ZIM Mostafa Ali, Jamiruddin Sircar, Moudud Ahmed, Rumana Mahmud, Amzad Hossain, Nazrul Islam Manju, Mesbahuddin Ahmed Farhad, Majibar Rahman Sarwar, MK Anwar, Sheikh Sujat Mia, Harunur Rashid, Zainal Abdin, Zainul Abdin Farroque, AM Mahbubuddin Khokan, Barkatullah Bulu, Nazim Uddin Ahmed, Abul Khair Bhuiyan, Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annie, Zafrul Islam Chowdhury, Hasina Ahmed, Lutfar Rahman, Nilofar Chowdhury Moni, Shammi Akhtar, Rashed Begum Hira, Rehana Aktar Ranu and Syeda Ashifa Ashrafi Papiya have been absent for 77 days.
Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker ANM Shamsul Islam was absent for 79 days and another lawmaker of the party AHM Hamidur Rahman Azad was absent for 77 days. Andaleeve Rahman, the lone Bangladesh Jatiya Party lawmaker, was also absent for 77 days.
Although BNP lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was absent for 130 days, his membership would not be threatened as he was in jail on charge of crimes against humanity.
Out of 284 working days of the ninth parliament till Thursday, the BNP-led opposition was present in 51 working days. The opposition leader, Khaleda Zia, attended parliament for only six days.
The BNP and its two allies last attended the house on March 24 last year. They joined parliament session on March 15 to save their membership.
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