Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader on Saturday claimed that his brother and ex-military dictator HM Ershad worked throughout his life for establishing true democracy.
“HM Ershad worked for establishing true democracy all his life. He reflected people’s hopes and aspirations by appointing first-class officers under elected representatives by establishing the Upazila Parishad system,” he said.
The Jatiya Party chairman made the remarks while speaking at a discussion at Islambagh Eidgah Ground in the capital's Chawkbazar area, marking Ershad 's first death anniversary.
GM Quader said their party will work for building a new Bangladesh free from corruption, misrule and unemployment by being imbued with the ideology of Ershad.
"The goal of the Jatiya Party is to establish social justice and good governance at all levels,” he added.
Later, GM Quader distributed food among the destitute.
HM Ershad, who was ousted in 1990 after his nine years of autocratic rule, died on July 14 last year at the age of 89.
He formed 'Jatiya Party' in 1986 and was elected President for a term of five years the same year through the third parliamentary election, triggering huge protests by other political parties.
Amid a fierce combined movement by the opposition parties, he was finally forced to step down on 6 December 1990.
Gonoforum on Saturday voiced concern over the worsening woes of the flood-affected people amid the coronavirus pandemic for ‘lack’ of proper steps and plans.
“Pro-people steps and plans are needed to ease the sufferings of the flood-hit people and protect the country's resources, land, crops and livestock, which is impossible without having a properly elected and democratic government in place,” the party said.
In a statement, Gonoforum President Dr Kamal Hossain and General Secretary Dr Reza Kibria said massive floods in the northern and central regions of the country, including Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Sirajganj, Jamalpur, Sunamganj, Sylhet and Habiganj districts, have left people in endless misery.
They said some areas even have been flooded frequently this year. “Besides, people's houses, lands and crops are being destroyed by riverbank erosion. Farmers have become helpless as their crops went under floodwater. The extent of destruction caused by the floods has gone beyond the limit since the gates of Farakka Barrage have been opened. People have become extremely helpless in the floods amidst the corona pandemic.”
The Gonoforum leaders said the government needs to ensure temporary shelter and necessary relief assistance for the flood victims.
“We strongly demand the government provide necessary relief by providing shelter to the helpless people,” the statement said.
Dr Kamal and Reza Kibria also urged the government to take steps for providing the affected farmers with saplings, seeds and loans as soon as the floodwater subsides.
They bemoaned that no government has so far taken proper initiatives for flood control and river training in the country.
Recalling late Professor Emajuddin Ahmed’s contributions to nationalist politics, BNP senior leaders on Friday said his works will inspire the nationalist forces in the struggle for the ‘restoration of democracy’.
"Professor Emajuddin Ahmed will never return among us. But his works remain with us. His thoughts, faith, his works will ever make us stronger, give us courage,” said party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Speaking at a virtual discussion, he said, “Prof Emajuddin was a strong advocate for Bangladeshi nationalism, a vigilant watchdog of independence and sovereignty, and a courageous and strong fighter for democracy. He inspired us and will do so in the future. He’ll give us the courage to fight and struggle for restoring democracy.”
BNP arranged the discussion in memory of Emajuddin, former-vice chancellor of Dhaka University (DU), where other BNP leaders recalled the contributions of the political scientists to the country and nationalist politics.
Fakhrul said Emajuddin will show the nation a path for turning Bangladesh into a liberal democratic country.
On behalf of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, he paid deep homage to the political scientist and prayed for the salvation of his departed soul.
Also read: BNP pays homage to Emajuddin
BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said Emajuddin wrote many books giving the nation and the country’s democratic parties necessary directions to go ahead overcoming all obstacles.
BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said Emajuddin was a very high level of intellectual. “Emajuddin Ahmed had been living with serious grievances in his mind for the last 13 years as he had a commitment to democracy. He left the earth with sorrow seeing democracy is slowly dying.”
On July 17, Emajuddin died of cardiac arrest at a hospital in the capital at the age of 87.
Also read: Prof Emajuddin passes away
Emajuddin served as the 21st VC of Dhaka University from 1992 to 1996.
He was awarded prestigious Ekushey Padak in the education category in 1992.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi on Friday said the resignation and transfer of a few officials will not help resolve the persisting crisis in the health sector as it is riddled with widespread corruption.
“The coronavirus crisis has exposed the sorry state of health ministry. So, it’s not possible to improve the situation with the arrest, transfer and resignation of some people or reshuffling one or two ministries,” he said.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing, the BNP leader said, "Though unpleasant, it’s true there’s no point in hoping that the situation will improve with the transfer of the thieves who played an active role in midnight’s conspiracy because they know they’ve emerged ‘through corruption with the help of corrupt leaders.”
He said a pro-people government will have to be installed to get rid of the irregularities and corruption. “That means, the entire government, including the Prime Minister, must step down.”
Rizvi said it is now clear to people that the main objective of this government is to plunder public assets and siphon off ill-gotten money abroad, not to serve the nation.
He said though the country’s banks have got almost bankrupt due to plundering, a huge amount of money has been deposited with foreign banks, including Swiss ones.
Referring to media reports, the BNP leader said Tk 5,427 crores were deposited by Bangladeshis with different banks in Switzerland. “Who do own that money and how did they siphon off so much money there?”
He also alleged that around Tk 9 lakh crores have been siphoned off abroad over the last one decade of the current government through widespread corruption ‘abetted by the state’.
BNP on Thursday demanded the government put Prof Abul Kalam Azad, who resigned from the post of the Director General (DG) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), on trial for his alleged irregularities in the health sector.
Speaking at a virtual press conference, party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also demanded the resignation of Health Minister Zahid Maleque.
“The DG of the Health Directorate has resigned. In fact, he should have been fired,” he said.
The BNP leader said, “We think the resignation of the DG is not enough as he should be brought to justice. At the same time, the Health Minister also should step down."
He said the government is responsible for giving people wrong information about corona tests and the misdeeds by the health DG and others. “We think the demand for the health minister’s resignation is a justified one.”
Referring to media reports on graft in the health sector, Fakhrul said the licnses of most Covid hospitals have expired but those are still in operation.
“Corruption has begun with the beginning of the corona outbreak through the procurement of health safety gears like masks, PPEs and medicines. It seems corona has come as a blessing for some corrupt people backed by the government,” he observed.
The BNP leader said the government cannot evade the responsibility of the extreme corruption in procuring health safety materials. “Mismanagement in the health sector is an unforgivable crime at a time when the whole nation is deeply concerned about the corona pandemic and when thousands of people are being infected with the virus every day. The government has to bear the responsibility for corruption in the health sector.”
He questioned as to how the government allowed Regent Hospital to conduct corona tests and provide corona treatment when it has no valid license. “The Health Minister himself, some secretaries, including the Health Secretary, and the DGHS DG were present when deal with Regent Hospital was singed. No one can justify the minister’s presence at that signing ceremony.”
Fakhrul also alleged that a drama in the name of the arrest of Regent Hospital owner Shahed Karim alias Shahed was staged by the government as he had good connections with the ruling party leaders.
He said the coronavirus situation has turned deadly in the country due to the government’s wrong decision and lack of coordination and effective steps.
Fakhrul claimed that their party and its leaders and activists have continued relief activities with their limited ability since the beginning of the corona outbreak to assuage public sufferings.
He said their party and its leaders have so far distributed relief materials among 58,57,280 families across the country.