Dhaka, Oct 31 (UNB) – BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday said no dialogue and election will be fruitful keeping their chairperson Khaleda Zia in jail.
A day before Oikyafront’s scheduled talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he came up with the remark at a human-chain programme in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the city.
“The government on one hand has offered dialogue and extended Khaleda Zia’s punishment on the other. These are two conflicting moves, which don’t demonstrate the government’s sincerity for talks,” Fakhrul said.
He further said, “Neither any dialogue nor any election will be fruitful keeping Khaleda Zia in jail. So, we would like to call upon you please return to the path of democracy and create a democratic atmosphere.”
The BNP leader said the government must fully accept Oikyafront’s seven-point demand for holding a credible and neutral election. “First of all, our leader (Khaleda) must be freed as no election can be meaningful without her release.”
He said a credible election cannot be held in an atmosphere where the ruling party leaders are carrying out ‘unilateral’ election campaign using helicopters while BNP leaders and activists are either in jail or on the run.
Fakhrul called upon the people of all walks of life to get united and organised to ‘restore’ democracy and their voting rights.
BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain alleged that doubling the punishment of their chairperson by the High Court in Zia Orphanage Trust case is an unusual and unprecedented incident.
He alleged that the government is trying to keep BNP and Khaleda Zia away from the next general election.
The BNP leader warned that the country’s people will not allow the government to hold any ‘lopsided’ election like 2014 one without the participation of BNP and Khaleda Zia.
“We want to join the election with our leader (Khaleda). So, we urge the government to free her and accept our seven-point demand. Or else, you (govt) will have to shoulder the responsibility if any disorder is created in the country,” he added.
BNP’s another standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said though the ruling party ministers had long been saying not to engage in talks, the party has now agreed to hold dialogue realising the nation’s aspiration.
“We would like to say dialogue, election and movement will continue together. We’ll carry out our movement until we succeed,” he added.
BNP formed the human chain protesting the conviction of its chairperson Khaleda Zia in Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
Several hundred BNP leaders and followers formed the human chain around 11:00 am in front of the Jatiya Press Club amid tight security.
They chanted various slogans demanding the immediate release of their leader Khaleda Zia.
Police cordoned off the protesters to fend off any trouble.
BNP assistant office secretary Taiful Islam Tipu said law enforcers arrested their party’s some leaders and activists on their way back home after joining the human chain programme.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi on Monday announced a three-day countrywide programme, including the human chain, protesting the conviction of its chairperson Khaleda Zia in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
As part of the programme, the party will also observe a token mass-hunger strike on Thursday in all metropolitan cities and district towns.
On Monday, a Dhaka court sentenced BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and three others to seven years' rigorous imprisonment each in the much-talked-about Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.