BNP on Thursday alleged that the entire nation has got aggrieved as its chairperson Khaleda Zia’s bail has been obstructed with the ‘direct interference of the government’.
“The entire nation has not only got frustrated, but also aggrieved over the Appellate Division’s decision. Depriving a leader like Khaleda Zia of bail is against the traditional norms and also an inhumane behaviour with her,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, he further said, “We’ve come to know from the unofficial sources that the medical board’s report was finalised last night (Wednesday night), but her (Khaleda’s) bail was obstructed with the government’s direct interference.”
Earlier in the day, the Appellate Division deferred until December 12 the hearing on Khaleda’s bail petition in Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
The court also asked the medical board, formed by the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) to treat Khaleda Zia, to submit a report on her health condition before it within December 12, as they could not present the report today as per the directive given on November 28.
Fakhrul said the BSMMU VC was bound to submit the medical board’s report on Khaleda’s health condition before the court by today, but it was not presented. “We think the BSMMU authorities committed the contempt of court as they failed to submit the report as per the directive of the court.”
Referring to the Prime Minister’s remark involving Khaleda on Wednesday night, he said Sheikh Hasina ‘directly’ interfered in the court with her comments on an under-trial case. “Being the Chief Executive of the State what she said is tantamount to direct interference in the judiciary and the contempt of court.”
Speaking at a meeting of the AL National Committee at the Gono Bhaban, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said Khaleda is in jail not in a political case, but in a corruption case for misappropriating orphans’ money.
She also wondered why some people are shedding tears over the treatment of a corrupt person like Khaleda who killed several hundred people by carrying out arson attacks.
Fakhrul said the Prime Minister’s comments exposed that she and her government does not want Khaleda to be freed on bail. “She deserves the legal right to be freed and it’s not a matter of anybody’s mercy. Usually, bail is granted by 7-10 days in such cases. But Khaleda is not given bail illegally out of political vengeance with a motive to keep her away from politics.”
The BNP leader said Sheikh Hasina described Khaleda as a ‘godmother’ and said the BNP chief used to move in wheelchair as she underwent knee-replacement surgery. “She (PM) intimidated BSMMU authorities who’re supposed to submit the medical report with her remarks.”
He said the Anti-Corruption Commission approved the chargesheet in a graft case against former chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha on Wednesday. “The chargesheet against the ex-chief justice and the Prime Minister’s comments are a threat to independent judiciary and doctors.”
Fakhrul said they been observing with wonder and concern that Khaleda Zia, since the beginning of the trial process, is not getting the normal facilities what a common person can enjoy.
He said the BNP chairperson’s immediate release is necessary for her advanced treatment as she may lose her life anytime if she is not given proper treatment.
“We would like to clearly say this unelected government and its Prime Minister will be held responsible for the gradual worsening health condition of Khaleda Zia for not giving her treatment,” the BNP leader added.
Replying to a question, he said they will now wait until December 12 to see what decision the Appellate Division takes about Khaleda Zia’s bail.
Fakhrul said their party’s different units and associate bodies staged demonstration in different areas as their chairperson was not given bail today.
He also said the BNP standing committee will work out the party’s next course of action if Khaleda is not given bail on December 12.
BNP standing committee members Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, Selima Rahman, vice chairman Prof AZM Zahid Hossain and senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi were, among others, present.
Additional members of the police were deployed around BNP’s Nayapaltan central office since morning, while some BNP activists were arrested from the area.
BNP on Wednesday hoped that the Appellate Division will grant bail to its chairperson Khaleda Zia in Zia Charitable Trust graft case on Thursday considering her sickness, age and human rights.
“We believe our leader (Khaleda) will get justice from the apex court. She’s a senior citizen, former prime minister, opposition leader, and the most popular politician of the country,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Speaking at a press conference, he also said many people were granted bail by the apex court in such cases in the past. “It’s her legal and justified right to obtain bail in consideration of her constitutional, human and basic rights, her age and illness.”
Rizvi said the entire nation will keep their eyes on the apex court on Thursday over the hearing on the bail petition of Khaleda.
Dhaka North City unit of Doctors Association of Bangladesh (DAB), a pro-BNP physicians’ platform, arranged the press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.
On November 28, the Appellate Division deferred the hearing on Khaleda’s bail petition in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case till December 5 (Thursday).
The court asked the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University to place Khaleda’s health reports before it by December 5.
Rizvi said 75-year-old Khaleda Zia’s health condition is so bad that her life will be at stake if proper steps are not taken for her release and advanced treatment.
He alleged that the BNP chief’s relatives were not allowed to meet her for the last 25 days as part of a plot by the government. “It’s the violation of the jail code. We’re deeply worried over her present health condition.”
Speaking at the programme, Dhaka north city unit DAB president Dr Sarker Mahbub Ahmed Shamim said Khaleda is very sick and her body may get paralysed permanently if proper treatment is not ensured for her immediately.
He also said the BNP chief’s diabetic problem may turn complicated and she may develop heart problems, too.
Under the circumstances, Shamim, on behalf of DAB, demanded the immediate release of Khaleda Zia so that she can receive treatment by her personal physicians. “We hope the apex court will grant her bail and thus allow her to get treatment at a hospital of her choice,”
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday alleged the government has become desperate to arrest and imprison BNP leaders and activists to continue its ‘dangerous misrule’.
In a statement, he said the government is sending opposition leaders and activists to jail by establishing its control over the judiciary. “Political prisoners are not released timely while those getting freed on bail are being rearrested at jail gates in fresh false and fabricated cases.”
The BNP leader furthers said, “Though we’ve been repeatedly urging the government to refrain from such illegal activities, it has got desperate and violent further in the question of protecting its existence.”
The statement was issued protesting the arrest of Chattogram city BNP joint secretary Gazi Sirajullah and filing of a ‘false and fictitious’ case against 17 other party leaders.
Fakhrul said the government has kept arresting BNP leaders at different levels in ‘false’ cases and sending them to jail. “The main motive behind this is to weaken BNP and obstruct its organisational activities.”
He said the present government is suffering from a serious image crisis due to its immoral activities and ‘dangerous misrule”. “The government is getting isolated from people further because of its fascist attitude.”
He demanded that Gazi Sirajullah be released immediately, and the false case filed against 17 other BNP leaders in Chittagong be withdrawn.
Jatiya Oikyafront Convener Dr Kamal Hossain on Tuesday said BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia is eligible to get bail from the apex court in the corruption cases she was convicted.
“I would like to say she of course has the scope to obtain bail (from the Appellate Division)...what else should I say clearly about it,” he said.
Dr Kama, also a legal expert, came up with the remarks while talking to reporters after a meeting of Oikyafront’s steering committee at his Motijheel chamber.
He said their meeting demanded Khaleda’s release on humanitarian grounds. “In our written statement, we’ve clearly said she’s eligible to get bail for humanitarian reasons.”
Earlier, reading out a written statement, Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said, the meeting discussed the health condition of Khaleda and expressed concern. “We know Khaleda has been kept in jail for 664 days with a motive.”
Stating that the BNP chief has been convicted in ‘motivated’ cases, he said considering her latest health condition, they demanded her immediate release. “It’s our meeting’s main demand. We think it’s a human demand and she deserves to get bail.”
The alliance also warned the government that it will be held responsible for the emerging situation in the country if Khaleda is not given bail, and if she is subjected to injustice.
On November 28, the Appellate Division deferred the hearing on Khaleda’s bail petition in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case till December 5.
The court also asked the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University to place Khaleda’s health reports before it by December 5.
Asked about the alliance leaders’ plan to meet Khaleda, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal President ASM Abur Rob said the Home Minister agreed in principle to allow them to meet the BNP chief and asked the IG Prison to maintain official formalities in this regard as they met him at the Secretariat.
He, however, said the IG Prison is not responding to their application to take steps for the meeting with Khaleda. “This means they’re unwilling to give us any scope to meet Khaleda Zia.”
Replying to a question, BNP standing committee member Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan said Oikyafront leaders will decide whether they should take any action programme demanding Khaleda’s release assessing the Supreme Court’s decision on December 5.
Stating that the government has completely failed to control the soaring prices of essentials due to a ruling party syndicate, BNP on Tuesday warned that it will come up with tough programmes if the power tariff is hiked further.
“The price of every essential commodity has skyrocketed due to corruption and plundering by the government, causing immense sufferings to the public. Those who raise the prices of essentials, they all belong to Awami League,” said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
He further said, “The government is now trying to hike power tariff. We’ll surely take tough programmes if the power price is increased this time.”
The BNP leader also said the price hike of onion and power not only affects BNP, but also all the people of the country. “So, all must come forward to remove the current monstrous regime.”
Fakhrul came up with the remarks while speaking at a press conference arranged by BNP at its Nayapaltan central office on the unusual price hike of essential commodities.
He said the government’s failure and indifference to control the prices have frustrated the country’s people. “The government is responsible for the unbearable market prices of essential items. It’s not possible to rein in the price hike of commodities without breaking the partisan business syndicate, regulating the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh and checking the extortion in the transport sector.”
The BNP leader said the government must take action against all types of business syndicate to ensure the food security. “Though there’s no short supply of essential commodities, their prices are increasing due to the government’s failure as it’s interested in protecting the interests of its partisan businesspeople.”
He alleged that a situation of lawlessness has been created in the country due to December-30 ‘farcical and midnight’ election, widespread corruption, and the growing incidents of enforced disappearance, killing and rape. “That’s why the government has failed to control the market, which got reflected through the unbearable price hike of essential items, including that of onion, rice, pulses, oil and salt.”
Referring to the Prime Minister’s November 16 comment that onion price problem would be resolved as onion-loaded cargo planes were supposed to reach the country in a couple of days, Fakhrul said Sheikh Hasina has been visiting different countries, including Dubai, India and Spain, but the prices of rice, pulses, salt, oil, ginger, garlic, and winter vegetables keep rising influenced by onion.
“Overall, the price of everything used for cooking in everyday life has gone beyond the buying capacity of common people,” he observed.
Criticising the ruling party leaders for asking people not to consume onion due to its intolerable price hike, Fakhrul said the government’s responsibility is to control the prices of commodities, but not to decide who will eat what.