Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq on Thursday said the drafted Citizenship Act, 2016, will ensure rights of non-resident Bangladeshis to participate in any election and perform their political rights.
“We will not enact any law that will go against the non-resident Bangladeshis,” he told a roundtable discussion on the drafted “Citizenship Act, 2016,” organized by Centre for NRB at Hotel Sonargaon in the city.
Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser Professor Dr Gowher Rizvi also addressed the roundtable while Centre for NRB chairperson MS Shekil Chowdhury presented the keynote speech.
The minister said: “We are very much dependent on the 1.30 crore Bangladeshis who are residing in different countries. We will not formulate any act which will harm them.”
The minister assured that the government will properly define, specify, change and modify few clauses and sections of the drafted law which have ambiguity.
“Expatriate Banglade- shis will not be deprived of their inherent property,” he said, adding that the government will not formulate any law that will not be consistent with the country’s constitution.
He said the Citizenship Act, 2016, will not create any discrimination among the citizens and will not eliminate the rights of the expatriate Bangladeshis.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr 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.
Rizvi said expatriate Bangladeshis had played a crucial role in the Liberation War so that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman announced dual citizenship to all non-resident Bangladeshis.
Presenting the keynote speech, MS Shekil Chowdhury urged the government to formulate the Citizenship Act considering the interests and universal human rights of 1.30 crore Bangladeshis, who are residing in 152 countries and sending over 15 billion US dollar remittance to the country 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 Maj Gen Md Masud Rezwan and senior jurist Dr Shahdeen Malik, among others, addressed the roundtable.