The Bangladeshi expatriates should immediately be given national identity (NID) cards if it is not possible to ensure their voting rights right now, said speakers at a seminar yesterday.
In this regard, the authorities should give priority to those who have machine readable passports (MRP), they said.
The recommendations came from various stakeholders at the seminar styled, “NID card distribution among Bangladeshi expatriates and their voting rights”, at a Dhaka hotel.
Brig Gen Mohammed Saidul Islam, director general of NID wing, presented a keynote paper.
“There is a decision in principle to include expatriates as voters. But, the decision can be taken after the 11th parliamentary election following a detailed scrutiny,” he said.
Prime Minister's Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Moshiur Rahman said the NID wing and MRP division should work jointly to provide smart NID cards to the expatriates.
In the process of enlisting expatriates as voters, there is a problem with those having dual citizenship, he said.
Addressing the programme, BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan said NID cards are not required to cast votes. So, expatriates should be given those immediately, he added.
Ambassadors from Italy, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, among others, gave their opinions.
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda and other election commissioners were also present on the occasion.