In reference to the recent debate over BNP acting Chairman Tarique Rahman, the chief for immigrations and passport department today said “citizenship does not depend on a passport”.
“Aren’t there a lot of Bangladeshis living without a passport? Does it stand in the way of them being Bangladeshi nationals?” said Maj Gen Md Masud Rezwan, director general of the Department of Immigration and Passport.
There is no relation between citizenship and surrendering a passport, he said.
“Tarique Rahman is currently living in the UK without a Bangladeshi passport. He will have to come to Bangladesh, make a national ID card before applying for a new machine-readable passport (MRP),” he said.
If Tarique Rahman wishes to come to Bangladesh, he can, with the travel pass he holds, Maj Gen Rezwan said.
Maj Gen Rezwan was talking to journalists at the Department of Immigration and Passport office at Agargaon this morning. Responding to a query on whether Tarique surrendered his nationality, the official said he had no information to this end.
According to what he said, Tarique Rahman, while staying in London, extended his hand-written passport’s validity after it expired in 2010 through the Bangladesh High Commission. “We came to know that he surrendered his passport in 2014.”
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam sparked a debate when he produced some documents and said “Tarique surrendered his passport to UK authorities, and his citizenship”.
Tarique Rahman resorted to legal actions and served a notice to the junior minister at the same time when his party explained that he surrendered the passport to seek political asylum.
Tarique, who became the acting chairman of BNP after Khaleda Zia was sent to jail, has been staying in London since 2007. At home, he has been tried and convicted in two cases in absentia.
In total, he stands accused in over a dozen cases, including the August 21 grenade attack case.