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In a major political development, the BNP yesterday backtracked from its earlier decision of not joining the 11th national parliament as four of its lawmakers elect took oath in the evening yesterday, the last date of taking oath. “Considering the critical juncture in the political arena, we have decided to join parliament as part of our movement to restore the democracy and secure release of party chairperson Khaleda Zia,” said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a press conference at chairperson’s Gulshan. - A home for your website

The BNP leader said the BNP MP-elects have taken oath as per party decision and at the directive of party acting Chairperson Tarique Rahman.

Mirza Fakhrul, the only remaining of the 6 MPs-elect of BNP, has written to the speaker for time to take oath citing health ground, said party sources.

The four BNP MPs-- Ukil Abdus Sattar (Brahmanbaria-2), Harun-ur Rashid Harun (Chapainawabganj-3), Aminul Islam (Chapainawabganj-2) and Mosharraf Hossain (Bogura-4) took the oath on the last date for taking oath.

Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury administered the oath at parliament Bhaban while parliament Senior Secretary Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan conducted the oath-taking ceremony.

After taking oath, the BNP lawmakers also claimed that they took oath as MP of the 11th parliament with consent of party acting chairman Tarique Rahman, as they talked to him through Skype.

The party secretary general made the announcement soon after four of its leaders took oath at the eleventh hour of taking oath by the lawmakers elect. Earlier on Thursday, another BNP lawmaker elect Zahidur Rahman Zahid took oath as MP of the 11th parliament.

He justified that they rejected the polls results as, what he said, December 30 election was a voter less election.

Asked when he would take oath, Mirza Alamgir said you (journalists) will know it in time. He answered the same when asked whether the party withdrew expulsion order of its lawmaker Zahidur Rahman following his oath taking on Thursday.

Mirza Alamgir said they plan to carryout simultaneous movement both inside and outside parliament by using the limited opportunity to speak in parliament for restoration of voting rights, and democracy and release of Khaleda Zia.

“In line with our this decision, we will build Bangladesh based on a national consensus declared by our leader Khaleda Zia, by realising our demands for holding a free election, restoration of democracy and release of all political leaders and activists including our party chief,” he said.

He further said the only path to resolve the country"s political impasse is to hold fresh parliamentary election under a non-partisan government.

Earlier, the two lawmakers elect of Ganaforum, a partner of Jatiya Oikyafront where the BNP is the major partner, took oath as MPs of the present parliament.

With the latest ones, 299 MPs-elect out of 300 in the 11th parliamentary polls were sworn in.

As per Article 67 (1), a Member of Parliament shall vacate his/her seat if he/she fails to take oath within 90 days from the date of the first meeting of Parliament after his election. The first session of the 11th parliament began on January 29 and all the ruling party lawmakers had earlier taken oath accordingly.

Talking to reporters, Ukil Abdus Sattar and Harun-ur Rashid Harun claimed that they have taken oath abiding by the party decision.

“We have taken oath in consultation with party acting chairman Tarique Rahman through video conference and taking with his consent,” said Ukil Abdus Sattar.

Harun-ur Rashid Harun said there was pressure from the government to take oath by they did not turn to parliament for that reason.

He said they would demand holding a fresh election and release of party"s ailing Chairperson Khaleda Zia. Harun, also a party joint secretary general, mentioned that they were late to come for taking oath as they were waiting for party decision.

“Indeed, the present parliament does not represent the people. This government was not elected on vote. There was no election on December 30. That"s why the BNP and Jatiya Oikyafront rejected the poll result…We have taken oath at the directive of Tarique Rahman,” he said.

He claimed that Khaleda Zia has been kept in prison at the prejudiced instruction of the government and hoped that the government would release her and provide her proper treatment.

Asked about expelling another party lawmaker Zahidur Rahman Zahid, he said Zahid sought apology for taking oath before and now the party would reconsider his case.

Replying to a question, he said they didn"t go to parliament to give a legitimacy to the parliament for the next five years.

“There is no rule of law, good governance in the country. 17 crore people have been kept hostage…We will focus on these in parliament,” he said.

BNP and its allies in both the 20-party alliance and Jatiya Oikyafront took part in December 30 parliamentary elections where the BNP bagged only six seats and Ganaforum two.

The Oikyafront turned down the election results bringing the allegation of "massive vote robbery" and decided not to join parliament.

Meanwhile, joining the ongoing parliament session, Harunur Rashid demanded the release of Khaleda Zia.


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