Confusion over Latif's reply to AL notice
Confusion has arisen over whether or not Abdul Latif Siddique has replied to a show-cause notice of the ruling Awami League following his comments demeaning hajj and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
While some highly placed sources in the party yesterday told The Daily Star that the reply reached party General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam at his official residence on Bailey Road on Tuesday, the AL central office denied this.
The notice was sent to Latif's residence in Tangail's Kalihati two days after he was removed from the cabinet on October 12 for his comments. It asked him to explain in seven days why he wouldn't be expelled from the party.
Though the notice was sent on October 14, it was received by the caretaker of Latif's house a day after. Latif is currently in Kolkata of India.
On Tuesday, AL deputy office secretary Mrinal Kanti Das told The Daily Star that they had not received Latif's reply.
When this correspondent contacted him again yesterday, he said he did not know anything about this matter.
However, AL sources said a close associate of Latif personally went to the residence of Ashraf, also the LGRD minister, and delivered the letter.
The Daily Star is withholding the identity of the associate upon his request.
In the letter, Latif said the AL proclamation allows him to comment on anything, according to sources.
Now the AL Central Working Committee at a meeting tomorrow will finally decide on Latif Siddique's membership in the party.
Several party sources, however, said that the AL is likely to go "tough" on Latif, hinting that he might be expelled permanently from the party.
If this happens, Latif will be the first AL central committee member to lose his party membership since Sheikh Hasina took up the reins of the AL in 1981.
A similar situation emerged when Latif on October 11 claimed that he had tendered his resignation as the posts, telecommunications and ICT minister to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) from Dallas on October 6, but the PMO never confirmed this.
Eventually he was sacked from the cabinet on October 12 and from the AL Presidium, highest policy-making forum of the party, the same day.
At a programme in the USA on September 28, Latif made derogatory remarks on hajj, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Tablighi Jamaat, triggering a whirlwind of criticisms at home and abroad.