12:03 AM, March 20, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

A few lawmakers lambast TIB

A few lawmakers lambast TIB

Staff Correspondent

Senior lawmakers of Awami League (AL) and Jatiya Party yesterday blasted the TIB for its study that mentioned there was no opposition in the "real sense" in the 10th Jatiya Sangsad.
They also questioned whether the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) had any right to talk about parliament and the constitution.
The organisation has crossed its limit by doing so, they said after the question- answer hour in parliament.
Meanwhile, TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman yesterday termed such criticism from the lawmakers "illogical".
Talking to a TV channel, he said the ruling party lawmakers' practice of criticising everything has become widespread. He requested the lawmakers to change this attitude.   

In parliament, three senior lawmakers observed that TIB in other countries work to ensure transparency and accountability of their governments. But in Bangladesh, it was working to instigate violence.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Opposition Leader Rowshan Ershad were present at the House during the unscheduled discussion on TIB's study that was released on Tuesday.  
According to the TIB's findings, quorum crisis in the ninth parliament caused the country a waste of more than Tk 104 crore.
Over 222 hours (9 days) were wasted due to a quorum crisis in the 418 parliament sittings from 2009 to 2013. This means 32 minutes were wasted in each sitting, causing a waste of Tk 25 lakh, the study said.  
Taking the floor on a point of order, AL senior lawmaker Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim initiated the discussion on TIB with Deputy Speaker Fazle Rabbi Mia in the chair.
Selim sought the Speaker's ruling in this connection.
The deputy speaker, however, did not give any ruling but said that TIB's remark about parliament was "very unfortunate".
Taking the floor, treasury bench lawmaker Sheikh Selim demanded that the government investigate the source of TIB's funding and ascertain whether it was being used for patronising militancy.
He also demanded investigation into the source of income of civil society members. "I am requesting the finance minister to find out the source of income of the civil society members as they lead luxurious lives," he said.
Selim questioned whether the TIB has any right to give advice on parliament and the constitution.
He also said the 10th parliamentary election was held in accordance with the constitution and the next election would be held under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after five years.
"Election is only for people not for any terrorists," Selim said adding that there was no difference between Khaleda Zia and TIB's remarks.
Standing on point of order, Jatiya Party presidium member and Water Resource Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud said in every country TIB works to ensure transparency and accountability of the government, but in Bangladesh it works to instigate violence.
 "TIB wanted a special party to assume state power. It wanted terrorism," he said, adding that as the BNP boycotted the election, TIB demanded postponement of the January 5 national polls.
He said in the ninth parliament there was no opposition party as the then opposition leader joined the House only for few days. "Why was TIB silent (at that time)?" he said.
Condemning TIB's study, Jatiya Party lawmaker Showkat Chowdhury said it seemed mysterious that TIB did not find any opposition in the House.
"Opposing everything and boycotting the House are not the main tasks of the opposition," he said, adding that Jatiya Party would only oppose the government if it goes for anti-people activities.
In a discussion at the Jatiya Press Club, Food Minister Quamrul Islam alleged that the actors of the 1/11 political changeover had become active again.
"Like in the past, they have been hatching conspiracies to kill democracy as well as for character assassination of the politicians" he said.
From the remarks of TIB and Shushashoner Jannoy Nagorik (SHUJAN), it appears that they are working as lobbyists for a vested quarter, the minister said.
He also said the sources of income of these organisations should be traced.


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