Dhaka, Sept 11 (UNB) – Gano Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain on Tuesday said his party will not join BNP in any greater national unity if Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami remains with it.
He came up with the announcement at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club.
Asked whether they will go for forging the national unity with BNP keeping Jamaat with it, Dr Kamal said, “I and our party won’t do it, but I don’t know what other parties will do.”
“So far, as I know, Jamaat is no longer political a party as its registration (with the Election Commission) has been cancelled,” he added.
Mentioning that he did not go with Jamaat in his entire life, Dr Kamal said he would not budge from his position at this last stage of his life.
He, however, said there is a progress in the initiative for forging a greater unity to ensure a free, fair and inclusive national election in the country.
Replying to a question who will lead the alliance if there is a greater unity, Kamal said he believes in joint leadership, not an individual’s leadership.
The Gono Forum chief said they have got permission for holding a public rally at Gulistan’s Mohanagar Natya Mancha on September 22 as part of their efforts to forge the national unity.
About the shifting of the makeshift court to Old Dhaka Central Jail from Alia Madrasah ground to hold trial in Zia Charitable Trust graft case, he said the decision was not taken as per the Constitution. “I think, they (BNP) will challenge the decision, and the court will judge it. If I go to the court, I’ll say it’s not constitutional.”
Dr Kamal, also a noted jurist, said holding the trial of an ‘opposition leader’ in jail is not the right action.
About the ruling party leaders’ remarks on holding the trial of Col Taher in jail, he said it was held during the military rule 41 years back. “It’s not logical to shift the court to jail citing such an instance. I think, the constitution has been violated with it.”
About BNP’s demand for Khaleda’s treatment in any specialised hospital, the Supreme Court senior lawyer said there is a long tradition of allowing sick prisoners receiving treatment in any hospital.
Mentioning that he has heard Khaleda Zia’s health condition deteriorated, he said a sick person should not suffer this way. “The government shouldn’t forget we live in a civilised society.”
Voicing his deep concern over the ‘wholesale’ arrest of people by plainclothes police, Dr Kamal alleged that the government is not running the country as per the constitutional rule. “Power must be exercised following the rules and abiding by the Constitution. We’re now worried we’re going beyond the constitutional rule.”
He urged that the government to remain alert so that people are not harassed unlawfully and the law enforcers do not abuse power.
The Gano Forum president criticised the government for arresting and taking on remand those students who waged movements for quota reform and safe roads.
Referring to the arrest of several hundred BNP leaders and activists from their Monday’s human-chain programme, he said the government should refrain from such acts to ensure a normal situation in the country ahead of the general election.
Dhaka, Sept 10 (UNB) – BNP on Monday said the government must release its chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail to demonstrate its good intention of holding a fair and acceptable national election.
“We would likely to clearly say the election will never be acceptable to people if Khaleda Zia remains in jail,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Speaking at a human-chain programme, he said, “The government must release our leader (Khaleda) from jail. If they do it, we’ll understand they want an acceptable election.”
As part of its countrywide scheduled programmes, hundreds of BNP leaders and activists formed a human chain in front of press club from 10:15am to 12pm, demanding Khaleda Zia‘s release from jail.
Fakhrul said the days of the current government are numbered and the government must go as people are not with it.
“A strong unity is now very essential. We’ll unite our party, people and all political parties to establish a pro-people government and restore democracy by removing the current monstrous government,” he said.
Mentioning that Khaleda Zia, before going to jail, called for a national unity, BNP leader urged all the democratic political parties to get united to force the government for holding a credible national election under a non-party administration to restore democracy.
Fakhrul renewed their party’s demand for installing an election-time neutral government, dissolving parliament before the announcement of the polls schedule, reconstituting the Election Commission and deploying army to hold the election in a credible manner.
He strongly criticised the government for its continued ‘repressive acts’, saying it has turned into a ‘terrorist’ regime. “The entire nation has been held hostage by the government as it is arresting people without any reason and harassing them with threats and intimidation.”
The BNP leader alleged that their party leaders and activists were arrested in ‘ghostly cases’ in a planned way. “We’ve got information that the government has made over one lakh people accused in many ghostly cases. Around 12,000 people have already been arrested.”
He warned the government that it will not be able to hang onto power by resorting to killing, enforced disappearance, arrest in false cases and other repressive acts.
Speaking at the programme, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said the government is not releasing Khaleda to grab power again by holding another January-5, 2018-like election keeping the BNP chief out of the race.
He said people will not go to the polls without Khaleda’s release and the participation of BNP and the 20-party alliance.
Mosharraf said the country’s people are united, and they want the next election to be held under a non-party neutral government. “The entire world also wants to see a fair and inclusive election in Bangladesh.”
He alleged that though their chairperson is seriously ill, the government is not freeing her from jail. “The government will have to ensure proper treatment of Khaleda Zia by ensuring her unconditional release.”
Otherwise, the BNP leader said, their party will ensure the government’s fall by creating a national unity. “There’s no other alternative to waging a strong movement to get rid of misrule.”
BNP standing committee members, Abdul Moyeen Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan, vice chairmen Abdullah Al Noman, Selima Rahman, Barkatullah Bulu, AZM Zahid Hossain and Shamsuzzaman Dudu, among others, addressed the programme.
Leaders and followers of the party formed the human chain around 10:15 am in front of the Jatiya Press Club, 45 minutes before the scheduled time, and it ended peacefully at 12 noon.
BNP leaders and activists chanted different slogans demanding the release of Khaleda Zia immediately.
Huge law enforcers were deployed around the Jatiya Press Club to fend off any trouble.
The party’s different district and city units also formed human chains across the country on the same ground.
Meanwhile, at a press conference, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged that police arrested around 200 BNP leaders and activists from their human-chain programmes in the capital and other parts of the country.
BNP is also scheduled to observe a two-hour token hunger strike on Wednesday in all districts and metropolitan cities, including the capital, to press home the same demand.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia has been in jail since a special court convicted her in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8 last.
Dhaka, Sept 10 (UNB)- As part of countrywide scheduled programmes, BNP leaders and activists formed a human chain in the city on Monday demanding their chairperson Khaleda Zia‘s release from jail.
Leaders and followers of the party formed the human chain around 10:15 am in front of the Jatiya Press Club 45 minutes before the scheduled time which ended at 12 noon.
The leaders and activists chanted different slogans demanding the release of Khaleda Zia immediately.
Huge number of law enforcers were deployed around the Jatiya Press Club to fend off any trouble.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, its standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Abdul Moyeen Khan and Nazrul Islam Khan addressed the programme.
BNP on Sunday got permission to stage a human chain programme in the city demanding Khaleda Zia's release from jail.
They will also observe a two-hour token hunger strike on Wednesday in all districts and metropolitan cities to press the same demand.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia has been in jail since a special court convicted her in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
Basra, Sep 10 (AP/UNB) — A sense of calm returned to Iraq's southern city of Basra on Sunday after a week of violent protests over unemployment and poor public services that left at least 15 people dead and threatened stability in the oil-rich region.
Troops sent from Baghdad have reinforced police, and government offices and markets reopened after a quiet night. Municipality workers were out in force cleaning up the streets and carting away debris from the clashes.
Governor Asaad al-Aidani said the provincial government has found new offices to work from, after angry demonstrators burned most government buildings in the city this week. He said it would take at least five weeks, however, to supply the city center with potable water, after a rash of stomach illnesses fueled unrest in the oil-rich region.
Basra and other cities in Iraq's southern Shiite heartland have been convulsed by the most serious protests in years, with residents complaining of power outages, filthy tap water and soaring unemployment.
In recent days, protesters have attacked government offices, political party headquarters and the Iranian consulate. Many blame their woes on neighboring Iran's outsized influence on Iraqi politics and are calling for radical change.
On Saturday, a spokesman for an alliance of powerful Shiite militias, many of them backed by Iran, vowed to respond against "those who are carrying out acts of arson and sabotage." The local commander, known as Abu Yasser al-Jaafari, said the lack of response thus far should not be taken as a sign of weakness.
Hours later, masked government troops in combat fatigues deployed in the city, setting up checkpoints and riding through the city center in black pickup trucks with heavy weapons mounted in the back. Security forces in Humvees deployed at intersections.
Naqeeb al-Luaibi, a local activist, said protest organizers have decided to suspend the demonstrations after receiving death threats from Iran-backed militias. The militias accuse them of colluding with the U.S., which has long worked to curb Iranian influence in Iraq, allegations denied by the activists.
"We'll suspend protests now to spare blood and we'll return with a new approach," he said. "We will not give up until our demands are met."
Iraq is still without a new government nearly four months after national elections in which no party won a majority. Rival parliamentary blocs — one seen as friendlier to the U.S. and the other closely allied with Iran — each claim to have assembled a governing coalition. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, part of the pro-U.S. bloc, and Basra's governor have traded blame for the crisis.
Basra, once known as the "Venice of the East" because of its freshwater canals, has been hit by an acute water crisis, including rising pollution and salt water levels. The city, where temperatures often approach 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) during the summer, has also been crippled by electricity shortages.
Iraq's government has scrambled to meet the growing demand for public services and jobs, but has been hindered by years of endemic corruption and a financial crisis fueled by diminished oil revenues and the costly war against the Islamic State group.
Basra is Iraq's second-largest province and home to about 70 percent of the country's proven oil reserves of 153.1 billion barrels. It is located on the Persian Gulf bordering Kuwait and Iran, and is Iraq's only hub for oil exports.
Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) – The-BNP led 20-party alliance on Sunday night decided to intensify the efforts for forging a greater national unity with other political parties to ‘restore’ democracy and ensure a fair election.
“Our leader (Khaleda) before going to jail called for forging a greater unity among all the pro-democratic parties, organisations and individuals to restore democracy. We’re working on it,” said 20-party coordinator Nazrul Islam Kahn.
Talking to reporters after a meeting of the alliance at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office, he further said, “The meeting of the 20-party not only extended support to the initiative, but also decided to take it forward.”
Nazrul, also a BNP standing committee member, said the meeting criticised the government for not ensuring proper treatment of Khaleda Zia in jail and strongly demanded the government allow her to receive treatment at United Hospital.
Besides, she said, the 20-party leaders also demanded the release of Khaleda Zia and all other political prisoners.
They also demanded the government withdraw all the cases filed against political leaders and activists ahead of the national election, the BNP leader added.
Nazrul said the 20-party urged all the democratic parties and institutions to come forward for forging a greater national unity with demands for holding the next polls under a non-party government, dissolving parliament before announcement of the schedule, reconstitution of the Election Commission, not using the electronic voting machines (EVMs), deploying armed forces during the election, pulling out cases against political leaders and workers and stopping harassment of them.
Apart from Nazrul, BNP standing committee members, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Jamiruddin Sircar, Mirza Abbas, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury and the top leaders and the 20-parties, including Jamaat-e-Islami, attended the meeting with BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in the chair.