Sacked minister Abdul Latif Siddique today announced his resignation from the parliament.
Speaking on a point of order, Siddique, who was expelled from the ruling Awami League and the cabinet for his “anti-religion remarks”, said, “today is my last day in parliament. I don’t want to make any allegation against anyone. I am resigning from my Tangail-4 parliamentary seat after apologising to the countrymen.”
“I am a human being and to err is human. I don’t lose my trust on humanity. Even though the state acted repressively on me, I faced it with patience,” he continued.
“I have not come here with a basket of allegations. I am always against of all sorts of fraudulence, self-interests and vagueness,” he added.
“I am not afraid of criticism. I have dedicated my life to ensure people’s interest,” said the former minister.
During a hearing over a dispute centring his parliamentary membership conducted the by Election Commission (EC) at its Secretariat on August 23, Latif Siddique said he would resign from parliament.
The commission held the hearing as Awami League and Latif were at loggerheads over the legality of his parliamentary membership after he was expelled from the party.
The AL requested the Speaker of parliament and the EC to scrap his membership, while Latif fought a legal battle to protect it.
At a programme in the US on September 28 last year, Latif Siddique, lawmaker from Tangail-4, made some comments that allegedly were against hajj, Tablighi Jamaat and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
On October 12, he was removed from the cabinet and from the party presidium, AL's highest policymaking body. He lost his primary membership in the AL 12 days later.
On October 14, the AL sent a show-cause notice to Latif as to why he would not be expelled from the party permanently for acting against the organisation's charter.
Latif at that time defended himself saying the AL dropped the word “Muslim” from its name in 1955 to give it a secular character. Moreover, the party ensured freedom of speech and expression through its declaration. And so, he can "express his feelings on any issue".
The party informed Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury of the decision on July 5. She later sought the EC's opinion over legality of Latif's parliamentary membership.
Later on July 16, the EC asked Latif to explain why his parliamentary seat would not be vacated. The commission also asked AL to give its explanation over this issue the same day.
In reply, Latif and AL sent separate letters on August 2 to the EC defending their respective stances.
Latif said AL's decision to expel him from the party was a mistake, while AL requested the commission to scrap his membership following Representation of the People Order (RPO) as he was elected an MP under the party's token.
The EC arranged the hearing after that explanation on August 23 and was supposed to give a verdict two weeks later.
Hours before this decision, the Supreme Court upheld a High Court order that scrapped Latif's appeal challenging the commission's decision to hold the hearing.