Accusing the government of indulging in ‘bad politics by distorting history’, BNP on Tuesday urged it to come to the path of national unity to tackle coronavirus and its fallouts instead of dividing the nation.
"The nation is observing with serious anger that an organised and disgusting conspiracy and false propaganda are going on with a dirty motive to discredit Ziaur Rahman. This evil effort has got a new pace through distorting the historic role of Ziaur Rahman by the head of government on August 15,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Speaking at an online press conference, he also alleged that the government is doing bad politics involving Zia with the tragic incident of August 15, 1975 to hang onto power. “We strongly protest and condemn such conspiracies and false campaign against Ziaur Rahman.”
The BNP leader said a united and concerted effort is needed as the nation is facing a crisis amid the ongoing corona disaster and economic uncertainty.
He said their party has already called for a national unity in the greater interest of the nation and they again urged the government to immediately stop the ill campaign and propaganda against Zia, Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman.
“Let’s get united and go back to a healthy democracy, regardless of party affiliation…we again call upon the ruling party to shun this heinous act of distorting history and come to the path of national unity in the interest of the country and the nation,” Fakhrul said.
BNP arranged the press conference at its Chairperson’s Gulshan office to give the party’s reaction to the Prime Minister’s recent comments involving Zia and his party.
Fakhrul alleged that the government is making efforts to demean Zia by distorting history and resorting to lies as it established a ‘fascist and authoritarian’ rule in the country deviating from the Liberation War spirit.
He claimed that people have got aggrieved and shocked seriously as the government has resorted to character assassination and false propaganda to malign Zia.
Referring to the August 15 incident, the BNP leader said, "Those who killed President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members have already been determined by the court in the case filed by Sheikh Hasina. Nothing was found to blame Zia for the killing. Even, neither Ziaur Rahman nor anyone close to him had been made accused in that case. They’ve now started a conspiracy to implicate Ziaur Rahman and Khaleda Zia in the incident.”
Fakhrul alleged that a video containing false and baseless hate speech of Bangabandhu’s convicted killer Abdul Majed was recorded illegally in custody before his execution, and the government has forced media to air it and made it viral on social media by recruiting a paid cyber force with an evil motive. “This move could lead to new controversies over the judicial process and the verdict. Such an illegal move is, in fact, nothing more than bad politics.”
He said the propaganda against Ziaur Rahman by airing killer Majed’s statement is purely a politically motivated lie. “The historical fact cannot be denied by putting a gun on Majed's shoulder.”
BNP on Monday alleged that Awami League is 'spitting venom' on Ziaur Rahman out of jealousy over the popularity of the party he founded.
"An army major (Zia) had performed the duty of national leadership at the bad time of the nation by declaring the independence. But they (govt) are now spitting venom on him by controlling the media. They want all the media to pay attention to only one person,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Speaking at a virtual discussion, he said, “The only reason behind it is the popularity of Ziaur Rahman and his party. They’re angry at Ziaur Rahman as he introduced multi-party democracy and Bangladeshi nationalism."
Nagorik Odhikar Andolon Forum arranged the programme at the Jatiya Press Club in memory of late educationist and former VC of Dhaka University Dr Emajuddin Ahmed.
About the August 15, 1975, Rizvi said their party has long been saying August 15 is the tragic and shocking incident for the nation.
After the assassination of Bangabandhu, he said, the then Army Chief and the chiefs of Police and Ansar extended their support to Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmed’s government.
“The then army chief didn’t play any role on that day (15 august). Ziaur Rahman was the second-in-command of the army, but Awami League has made him a target and trying to implicate him in the August 15 incident in various ways. Those who joined Mushtaq’s cabinet belonged to Awami League, but you (PM) don’t say anything about them,” Rizvi said.
He also regretted that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made a person her adviser who had conducted the oath taking ceremony of the Khandaker Mushtaq’s cabinet.
The BNP leader said Awami League leaders like Abdur Razzak and Tofail Ahmed even could not bring out a procession protesting Bangabandhu’s assassination. “But you (PM) don’t say anything against them, rather made them ministers. You’re trying to stigmatise valiant freedom fighter Ziaur Rahman as he formed BNP which has huge popularity. But we would like to say false stigma will never last long.”
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday alleged that the ruling party is trying to belittle their party founder Ziaur Rahman by resorting to a ‘false’ campaign against him.
“Efforts are on to belittle the person (Zia) who declared the country’s independence, fought for the country and awakened the nation after assuming state power by spreading false information,” he told a virtual discussion.
The BNP leader said Awami League politicised the country’s institutions as it never evaluates impartial and qualified people belonging to other parties.
“They’ve now politicised the entire state machinery as per their ideology and principle. Because, in 1975, they established a one-party Baksal rule. We’ve not forgotten it…it’s not so easy to cover up the truth.”
Bangladesh Krira Unnayan Parishad, a-pro-BNP platform, organised the programme, marking BNP founder Ziaur Rahman's late younger son Arafat Rahman Koko's 51st birth anniversary.
Fakhrul said the nation is going through a very bad time as the government has destroyed democracy, the main spirit of the Liberation War. “Nothing, including the sports, music and politics, is out of politicisation as we lost the spirit of building a democratic state and a democratic society.”
Mentioning that he met renowned Lalon singer Farida Parveen and her flutist husband at an event at the American Embassy, he said, “They told me with a regret that they no longer now invited to any government programmes or the government-sponsored television channels. Think what a painful situation that greatest artist like Farida Parveen won many international awards and her prominent flutist husband are now ignored.”
The same way, the BNP leader bemoaned that the forums of many people who had fought the Liberation War but belonged to other parties were not allowed to be taken to Shaheed Minar after their deaths.
To get rid of the situation, he said, there is no alternative to strengthening the movement for the ‘restoration’ of democracy in the country.
Fakhrul said their party wants to build the country and establish a democratic society together with all putting aside political division. “We shouldn’t evaluate anyone based on his/her political affiliation. The important thing is that the country belongs to all.”
He also recalled Koko’s contributions to the development of the country’s sports sector.
BNP on Saturday arranged a doa and milad mahfil seeking early recovery and long life of its chairperson Khaleda Zia on her 76th birthday.
Several hundred BNP leaders and activists gathered at their Nayapaltan central office and joined the programme.
Though the programme was arranged on the occasion of Khaleda’s birthday, nothing was written about it in the banner as the party is apparently trying to avoid formally celebrating their party chief’s birthday as it coincides with the National Mourning Day commemorating the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
It was written in the banner that the doa mahfil was meant for seeking early recovery of Khaled, salvation of the departed souls of party leaders and activists died of corona and other diseases and assuaging the sufferings of flood victims.
In a brief address, party senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi urged all to pray for the wellbeing of their ailing chairperson.
Mentioning that Khaleda’s role in establishing people’s different rights, including the freedom of expression, he said, "She never left people, but stood beside them during their sorrows and woes. She was kept in jail for two years by unjustly sentencing her, but she didn’t bow down when it came to the question democracy. May Allah grant her long life.”
Rizvi claimed that though their chairperson was an innocent person, she was convicted in false cases out of political vengeance. “She has repeatedly risked her life for democracy. She’s now out of jail, but not completely free.”
He said the nation is now going through a difficult time as the government has ‘snatched’ people’s rights, including that of the freedom of expression. “People now don’t dare speak up since the freedom of speech has been sent to ' museum. If someone makes comments on Facebook accounts and if someone shares those, law enforcers are picking him or her up at night.”
Rizvi said law enforcers are sending people to jail after implicating them with false cases or making them disappeared or killing them in crossfire without any trial for expressing their views freely. "This is the state of freedom of expression in the country."
Khaleda and her party used to observe August 15 as her birthday since 1991, but there are controversies about her actual date of birth and even the birth year.
Amid criticisms by Awami League leaders for celebrating her birthday on the National Mourning Day, BNP marked her 72nd and 73rd, 74th and & 75th birthdays through holding doa mahfils instead of cutting any cake.
As in previous four years, the party did not cut any cake to celebrate the birthday in the early hours of Saturday.
“We’ve not taken any programme to celebrate our chairperson’s birthday under the current situation of the country. We’ve not been celebrating it for the last few years with any programme as per Madam’s (Khaleda’s) directives. We only pray for her wellbeing on the day,” BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told UNB.
Asked whether they backed off from celebrating the birthday on the National Mourning Day to avoid criticisms, he parried the question, saying Khaleda herself does not want to celebrate it under the current situation of the country.
Khaleda was sent to Old Dhaka Central Jail since her conviction in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case by a lower court on February 8, 2018.
On March 25 last, the BNP chief was released from jail for six months upon an executive order considering her age and humanitarian ground following an application by her family. The six-month tenure of the order will end on September 24.
Meanwhile, the nation is observing the National Mourning Day the same day commemorating the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members on August 15, 1975.
BNP on Thursday distributed food items among some workers who have become jobless due to coronavirus.
In collaboration with the Bangladesh Institute of Labor Studies (BILS) and funded by the Dennis Trade Union Development Foundation, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi distributed the food on the ground floor of the party's Nayapaltan central office.
Speaking at the programme, Rizvi said a Danish organisation has funded BILS to help unemployed workers through 11 federations of workers in Bangladesh.
He said Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal, BNP’s labour wing, got some assistance from the BILS to help the workers.
“Workers are the worst sufferers of the Covid-19 pandemic. They get very poor wages while many factories have been closed down. Besides, the export-oriented RMG industry has also been hit hard and many factories have been shut. So, many workers have become unemployed,” Rizvi observed.
He appreciated Denmark and BILS for standing beside the jobless workers at this difficult time.
The BNP leader said foreigners are now coming to assist the unemployed people around the world and taking various steps in this regard. “But in Bangladesh, we see that the relief materials bought with public money are being found at the homes of Awami League leaders.”
He said though their party leaders have long been going through an adverse situation, they have stood by the poor and destitute to assuage their sufferings.