Dhaka – Non-resident Bangladeshis will have their rights to contest in elections and do political activism back home as the government drafted a citizenship law, a senior minister said on Thursday.
Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq came up with the information as per the Citizenship Act of 2016. The proposed legislation will be placed before parliament for an enactment.
“We will not enact any law that will go against the non-resident Bangladeshi,” the minister told a discussion on the draft law in Dhaka. The Centre for Non-resident Bangladeshis arranged the seminar.
According to state-run Bangladesh Sangbadsangstha news agency, the seminar was also attended by Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi. Centre for NRB chairperson Shekil Chowdhury presented the keynote paper.
More than 11.3 million Bangladeshi nationals are engaged in different professions and are contributing to national economy sending hard-earned remittance back home. The minister acknowledged their contribution and said the government would not do anything that goes against the Bangladeshi Diaspora.
The government will now properly define, specify, change and modify few clauses and sections of the drafted law to dispel confusions.
“Expatriate Bangladeshis will not be deprived of their inherent property,” he said adding that the proposed Citizenship Act, 2016, would not create any discrimination among the citizens and will not eliminate the rights of the expatriate Bangladeshis.
Rizvi underscored the need for strengthening the emotional attachment of expatriate Bangladeshis to the country rather than pushing them out.
“Passport is nothing but a travel pass. But nationality is embedded to the heart, it makes attachment to the soil, people, country and to the society. So, we should not push the expatriate Bangladeshis out from us,” he said.
The adviser said expatriate Bangladeshis had played a crucial role in Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War so that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman announced dual citizenship to all non-resident Bangladeshis.
Shekil Chowdhury urged the government to formulate the Citizenship Act considering the interests and universal human rights of expatriated Bangladeshis, who are sending over 15 billion US dollar remittance every year.
“Every expatriate Bangladeshis facilitate on an average five family members. In this way, at least 6.50 crore people are being benefited by them,” he said.
Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Secretary Mohammad Shahidul Haque, Director General of Department of Immigration and Passports Major General Md Masud Rezwan and senior jurist Shahdeen Malik, among others, addressed the roundtable.