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Shahid Islam alias Papul has proved it is possible to become a member of parliament even without an active and prior part in politics. A Kuwait court on 28 January sentenced him four years in jail and fined Tk 530 million for his involvement in human trafficking and money laundering. Shahid Islam is currently serving in Kuwait jail.

It is very embarrassing for both the country and the Jatiya Sangsad (parliament) that one of its lawmakers has been convicted and serving in a foreign prison. Despite the experts’ claim that Papul lost his eligibility to continue as an MP immediately after the sentence, the speaker of the parliament did not pay any attention to that.

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Three weeks later, on Monday, the Jatiya Sangsad secretariat issued a circular cancelling the membership of Lakshmipur-2 MP Shahid Islam Papul. According to the circular, the constituency will be considered as vacant from 28 January 2021. The circular also said Shahid Islam, a member of parliament from Lakshmipur-2, is not eligible to remain an MP under Article 66 (2) (d) of the Constitution of Bangladesh as he was sentenced to four years in prison for moral turpitude in a Kuwaiti criminal court.

The secretariat said it received the copy of the verdict of Kuwait court on Thursday evening. It was not necessary to wait for three weeks for the verdict, especially at this time of advanced technology. Local and foreign media covered the news of Kuwait court verdict. The secretariat could manage the copy through foreign ministry or Bangladesh Mission earlier.

Opposition candidate Abu Foyez Bhuiyan filed a writ in the High Court on 16 August 2020 saying that Shahid Islam provided false information in the affidavit he submitted to the election commission. A candidate is supposed to lose his candidature for providing false information in the affidavit. Besides, the case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) against his wife MP Selina Islam and daughter Wafa Islam for amassing illegal wealth and laundering Tk 1.48 billion is underway.

Multiple media reports revealed how Shahid Islam, who had no political involvement until 2018 and was engaged in manpower business, was elected as an independent lawmaker. Locals said Shahid Islam and his wife came to power with money. Although he was rejected of nomination as an Awami League candidate, he had a good rapport with a number of leaders. It should be investigated what was the reason behind the Jatiya Party candidate’s withdrawal a week before the election and the directive of the Awami League’s Central Election Management Committee to local leaders to support him (Shahid Islam).

It is evident that ethics and morality have collapsed in politics. Yet how can a known human trafficker be made a lawmaker in the Jatiya Sangsad. What about the dignity of parliament? Being convicted in foreign land, Shahid Islam insulted our Jatiya Snagsad. Those who assisted him in gaining the position of lawmaker in exchange of money should also be brought under the law in the interest of the sanctity and purity of parliament.

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