Senior ministers and lawmakers in parliament yesterday demanded the government bring BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman to book immediately for his “seditious” comments on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Tarique, who has been living in exile in London since 2008, deliberately made the remarks to distort history and destabilise the country as part of a conspiracy by Pakistan and its secret service ISI, they said.
Triggering huge criticism, Tarique, elder son of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, on Tuesday said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had become Bangladesh's prime minister "illegally" in 1972.
Earlier on March 25, he made another startling remark, that his father late president Ziaur Rahman was Bangladesh's first president.
Speaking on a thanksgiving motion on the president's speech, the ruling party legislators also said the country will face dire consequences if Tarique goes unpunished.
They demanded enacting a new law, if necessary, to punish Tarique.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said Tarique did not make the comment on the father of the nation out of ignorance or out of mental imbalance.
Pakistan has engaged in conspiracy against Bangladesh, said the veteran AL leader. Under the influence of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Tarique has come up with such comments because they want to distort Bangladesh's history.
Amid a loud thumping of the desk by his fellow lawmakers, the minister went on, “He [Tarique] has raised controversy on a matter which has been settled historically. Everybody knows Bangabandhu returned from Pakistan to independent Bangladesh as its president.
“But the stupid and illiterate boy [Tarique] has made audacious comments on our great leader. He even claimed his father [Ziaur Rahman] declared Bangladesh's independence. How could Zia do that? Was your father [Zia] an elected representative?”
Another senior AL lawmaker, Suranjit Sengupta, said, “Tarique has been delivering as per the prescription of ISI. It's a deep-rooted conspiracy as Taique's statement has been supported by his mother and colleagues.”
“Their [Tarique and Khaleda] statements are tantamount to a violation of the constitution and they should be brought to book,” he said, adding that their statements were dangerous for the country's sovereignty.
He asked the government to initiate a legal and political fight against the duo.