Dhaka, Sept 1 (UNB) – BNP senior leaders on Saturday urged all, including democratic political parties and institutions, to forge a greater unity to ensure the rule of people and ‘restore’ democracy by removing the current “autocratic regime”.
Speaking at a public rally, they also demanded the government release BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and all political prisoners after withdrawing the ‘false’ cases filed against them to create an atmosphere for an inclusive and meaningful election.
“I would like to urge the people of all walks of life, all democratic parties and institution, let’s save the country and democracy putting aside all the misunderstandings and conflicts,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Stating that Khaleda, before going to jail, called for a national unity, he said, “We believe a national unity will be forged. We welcome those putting in efforts for forging a national unity. We call upon them to come forward for creating a greater national unity to defeat the autocratic regime and establish the rule of people,” he said.
Fakhrul also said the government must take steps for releasing BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and ensure her better treatment as she is very sick.
The BNP leader renewed their party’s some demands for holding the next election in a fair and credible manner. “Before the announcement of the election schedule, this government must quit, parliament must be dissolved, the Election Commission will have to be reconstituted and army must be deployed.”
BNP arranged the public rally in fort of its Nayapaltan central office marking the party’s 40th founding anniversary.
Hundreds of leaders and activists of the party and its associate bodies joined the rally in small processions from across the city.
Fakhrul alleged that the government is making various plots to hang onto power as people are not with it. “Now, they’re trying to use EVMs in the polls to perpetuate its power as people won’t protect them. People have abandoned Awami League and it has now turned into a politically bankrupt party.”
He alleged that the government is hatching a new plot against their party senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman. “The ruling party leaders are saying that Tarique Rahman will be convicted in the August-21 case as if they’ve taken the charge of judges.”
The BNP leader alleged that the government is deliberately trying to influence the August-21 case. “We would like to clearly say that people won’t accept any verdict of conspiracy. They’ll rather give a befitting reply to it.”
Fakhrul said Awami League leaders cannot have sound sleep as a fear of BNP and its leaders always hunt them down.
Speaking at the rally, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said the government is conspiring to use EVM in the next polls to cling to power through another lopsided election.
He warned that people will not allow the ruling party to implement its any plot, and hold another January-5 like election. “BNP together with people will resist such plots.”
The BNP leader alleged that the government has kept Khaleda Zia in jail unfairly to keep her and BNP away from the next polls.
Mentioning that freeing Khaleda Zia from jail is a challenge for their party, he said, “Awami League won’t release her willingly. We must free her through a strong movement.”
Mosharraf said the Prime Minister and her government must quit before the announcement of the election schedule to create a level-playing field for the polls. “Khaleda Zia must be freed, if the government wants to ensure the participation of BNP and an inclusive election.”
He also called upon the law enforcers to change their partisan attitude so that they can play a neutral role during the election as per people’s hopes and aspirations.
BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said it will not be possible to free Khaleda from jail through a legal battle. “Street movement is the only way for having freed her from jail.”
“We need to get ready for taking to the streets. We’ll have to go to polls after freeing our leader (Khaleda). We’ll carry out the movement for our leader’s release and installing a non-party neutral election-time government,” he said.
The BNP leader said the government must dissolve parliament before the announcement of the election schedule. “Holding parliamentary polls keeping parliament functional is unprecedented in the world.
Moudud thanked Dr Kamal Hossain, B Chowdhury and others who are trying to forge a national unity. “We’ll launch the movement by forging the national unity, and ensure a free and fair election in the country.”
The BNP leader said the young generation will never vote for Awami League the way the government repressed those waged quota-reform and safe-road movement.”
BNP standing committee members, Jamiruddin Sircar, Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, among others, addressed the rally.