PM decides to drop Latif Siddique from cabinet
Expulsion from AL likely, party sources say
The prime minister has decided to drop Abdul Latif Siddique from the cabinet over his comments in New York on her son Sajeeb Wazed Joy, hajj and Tablighi Jamaat, sources said.
Aggrieved by the posts, telecommunications and information technology minister’s comments made during a discussion at Jackson Heights Sunday, the PM took the decision in London today, a senior official at the Prime Minister’s Office told The Daily Star seeking anonymity.
PM, who will return to Dhaka Friday concluding her official US tour after attending the 69th UN General Assembly, later conveyed her decision to the cabinet division, added the source.
Siddique might even be expelled from the party, according to sources in the ruling Awami League.
Talking to The Daily Star today on the developments, Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said the PM was briedfed in details over Latif Siddique’s comments and subsequent developments like protests at home and abroad.
Hasina’s decision came hours after a video of the discussion created quite a stir on social media platforms due to the minister’s harsh comments which sparked protests in the US as well as Bangladesh.
Awami League acting chief Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury came down hard on Siddique, urging all to turn a deaf ear to what he said.
Condemning Siddique’s comments, HM Ershad, chairman of Jatiya Party and a special envoy to the PM, demanded immediate arrest and exemplary punishment to the minister.
Besides, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, a Chittagong-based Islamist group, brought out a procession today and formed a human chain in protest against Latif’s statement on hajj.
WHAT THE MINISTER SAID
At a programme organised by AL Tangail unit in the US, the minister said he was against hajj and Tablighi Jamaat more than he detested the Jamaat-e-Islami.
“Hajj is waste of manpower,” he said. “Those who perform hajj do not have any productivity. They deduct from the economy, spend a lot of money abroad.”
Those in Tablighi Jamaat do not have anything else to do but block roads during a rally, he said.
Regarding PM’s son Joy, the minister said: “Who is Joy?”
Latif Siddique also slammed a journalist on the spot for “asking too many questions”. “You are invited here, act like a guest and sit quiet.”