08 February 2020
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Saturday said they will rejuvenate people to stage a ‘mass upsurge’ to free their chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail.
“We held many rallies and placed our demands on various occasions and took part in the polls in the past. Now our main responsibility is to force the government to free our leader Khaleda Zia and restore people’s rights,” he said.
Speaking at a rally, the BNP leader also announced that their party will stage demonstrations across the country on Saturday next to push their demand for the release of Khaleda Zia.
“We would like to say we would wake up people through a movement, and then stage a mass upsurge to defeat this dangerous monstrous government and reinstate people’s rights,” he said.
BNP arranged the rally in front of its Nayapaltan central office protesting the imprisonment of Khaleda, marking her second anniversary of jailing.
Fakhrul urged the government to free their party chief immediately and allow her to receive better treatment for her ‘serious’ ailment.
He claimed that the government has kept Khaleda in jail in ‘false and fabricated’ cases out of its political vengeance.
“She’s too sick to walk. She needs others’ help to move while her diabetes is out of control. Her arthritic problem has deteriorated, and she’s unable to eat properly while she’s lost 6-7 pound weight,” the BNP leader said.
He said the government has been in power without people’s mandate as it does not believe in democracy and the rule of law. “This is not a government of people as it usurped power using the state machinery by destroying democracy which was the main spirit of the Liberation War.”
About the recently-held elections to Dhaka south and north city corporations, Fakhrul said no-one can be called mayor by getting only 15 percent vote. “They even couldn’t get the required number of votes by indulging rigging through machines.”
Stating that an election cannot be acceptable where less than 50 percent votes are cast, he urged the Election Commission to arrange fresh elections to the two city corporations annulling the results of February-1 polls.
Accusing the government of having failed to run the country, he also urged it step down paving the path for holding a fresh election under a non-party administration.
BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said the government sent Khaleda to jail ahead of the 11th parliamentary polls to hang onto power by force. “Khaleda Zia has been in jail purely for political reasons.”
He said the government has long been snatching the results of elections as it has no accountability to people.
The BNP leader said the country’s people have expressed their no-confidence in the government and the Election Commission with their very thin presence at the polling stations during the recent city polls. “Even then, the government has rigged votes through the EVMs in the polls.”
He also said the city polls have proved that the electronic voting system is not suitable for a credible election. “It’s also exposed again that no election can be held in a free and fair manner under the current government.”
Mosharraf said Khaleda Zia must be freed from jail to restore democracy and people’s all rights, including the voting one. “I urge all to get ready for a mass upsurge to have her freed.”
Another BNP standing committee member, Moudud Ahmed, said though Khaleda Zia’s lawyers worked hard to free her through the legal process, they have failed to do so due to the government’s ‘political influence’ on the judiciary.
“Now there’s no alternative to launching a movement to free Khaleda Zia. The people of Bangladesh established their rights through struggles on different occasions in the past, and they will do the same in the future as well,” he said.
The BNP leader said democracy, people’s voting rights, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and press will be ’restored’ if only Khaleda Zia can be freed. “Take preparations for the movement to free Khaleda Zia as we’ll announce programme for it in the days to come.”
BNP standing committee members Mirza Abbas, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury and Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, among others, addressed the programme.
Khaleda has been in jail since she was convicted in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on February 8, 2018. She was found guilty in another corruption case later the same year, though her party claims both cases are politically motivated.
The BNP chief has been receiving treatment at the BSMMU since April 1 last year.
Khaleda is now facing around 36 cases, including Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable corruption ones.