BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir
Thousands of leaders and activists of BNP have started gathering in front of the party’s Nayapaltan central office since Friday morning to attend their grand rally. Defying senior leaders’ instructions, several thousand activists thronged Dhaka’s Nayapaltan area on Thursday night and stayed there overnight. Visiting the rally venue around 10:30 am on Friday, the UNB correspondent saw thousands of party leaders and followers from different parts of the city arriving in processions. Also read: BNP gears up for Friday's anti-govt rally amid fear, speculations Carrying banners, festoons, placards and portraits of the party’s top leaders, they were shouting anti-government slogans. Roads and alleys stretching from Bijoynagar to Nayapaltan were crowded with BNP activists, halting traffic in the area. Many leaders and activists of the party alleged that they had to face checking by law enforcement agencies at the entry points of the capital. The party has already set up a big stage on nine trucks, rolled out red carpets, and installed loudspeakers. Also read: Ground for grand rally of Awami League's associate organisations is being ready Two separate stages have also been erected for the cultural activists and journalists. Artistes from the BNP's cultural body are performing patriotic songs to keep the crowds invigorated under the scorching sun and they will continue till 12 pm. BNP’s Dhaka south and north city units are organizing the rally to press home the opposition’s one-point demand for holding the upcoming national election under a non-party government. The rally is scheduled to formally begin at 2 pm after Juma prayers. Also read: Over 500 leaders, activists arrested in Dhaka ahead of grand rally: BNP BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir will address the programme as the chief guest and announce their next course of action to mount pressure on the current government to accept their one-point demand. Apart from BNP, 37 like-minded political parties and alliances are also going to arrange separate rallies in different city areas to press home the one-point demand that includes the resignation of the Awami League government and holding the next election under a neutral government. Besides, three associate bodies of the ruling Awami League—Jubo League, Swechchasebak League and Chhatra League—are also scheduled to hold a rally in front of the south gate of Baitul Mukarram mosque which is 1.7 km away from the BNP’s rally at Nayapaltan. The rallies of the ruling and opposition parties were scheduled to be held on Thursday, but they rescheduled their programmes for Friday as Dhaka Metropolitan Police authorities did not allow them to use their chosen venues on a workday for the sake of avoiding public suffering. Also read: BNP, AL associate bodies get permission for rallies at Nayapaltan, Baitul Mukarram on conditions Political analysts think it will be a daunting task for the law enforcers to maintain peace and fend off any untoward incident as both the opposition and the ruling parties will hold their programmes at short distances and at the same time. All eyes are on the BNP rally as there are speculations that the party may announce non-stop action programmes to force the Awami League government to step down. On Thursday, Dhaka Metropolitan Police gave BNP and Awami League’s three associate bodies permission to hold their rallies at Nayapaltan and Baitul Mukarram respectively on 23 conditions. The police authorities asked BNP to limit their rally from Kakrail’s Nightingale crossing to Rajarbagh Police Hospital, while the AL associate bodies have to restrict their rally from Mahanagar Natya Mancha to Muktangan.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday alleged that the government is using "internet shutdown" as a weapon to suppress the movement of the opposition. Speaking at a press conference at the BNP Chairperson’s Gulshan office, he said the current regime is also using the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) as a modern tool to repress people, deprive them of their rights to have uninterrupted internet access and snatch their freedom of expression. "The government is using a new digital weapon, 'internet-shutdown', to snatch people's right to have nonstop internet access and their freedom of expression out of its fear of a mass uprising,” the BNP leader said. Apart from the internet shutdown, he said the government has continued various other forms of digital torture, including monitoring the smartphones of the opposition leaders, violating their personal privacy, and checking their cell phones. "We strongly protest the abuse of digital technology.” 1,651 BNP men sued in another case over Tuesday’s clash in Feni The BNP leader demanded the government immediately repeal the Digital Security Act (DSA) as not only the BNP leaders and workers but also the freethinkers are being subjected to harassment through it. “Internet-shutdown incidents are terrible violations of civic rights. It is a crime similar to murder and enforced disappearance,” he said. When a person is subjected to enforced disappearance, Fakhrul said, only one person is lost. “But if the internet is shut down somewhere, crores of people in the country and abroad become victims of it. Erasing people’s existence online is as much a crime as a murder. The fascist Awami League regime is continuously committing this crime.” BNP’s media cell arranged the press conference to protest against all forms of digital torture, including internet shutdown. One-point Movement: BNP to hold grand rally in Dhaka next Thursday Fakhrul highlighted the incident of shutting down mobile internet services during BNP’s rally in front of its Nayapaltan central office on July 12 last and during BNP’s divisional rallies in Khulna, Barisal, Faridpur, Sylhet, Cumilla, Rajshahi and Dhaka in November and December last year. He alleged that though the interest services were disconnected in the Nayapaltan area on July 12 during BNP’s rally, the internet connection was normal on the same day during the ruling party’s rally in Baitul Mukarram National Mosque area. BNP’s ‘youth rally’ underway at Suhrawardy Udyan with huge crowds According to a report released by digital rights watchdog Access Now this year, the BNP leader said Bangladesh ranked fifth in the world in terms of the number of internet shutdowns. He said four countries---India 84 times, Ukraine 22 times, Iran 18 times, and Myanmar 7 times—shut down the internet due to a state of insurgency or a war-like situation. The BNP leader questioned whether there was any war in Bangladesh for which the government was forced to shut down internet services six times. “Against whom the government is waging that war?.” "Internet services are now an essential means of expressing people’s opinions. Discontinuance of this service mainly hampers the freedom of expression,” he observed. Stating that internet services are now not limited to social media entertainment only, the BNP leader said as these services have expanded to many important areas, including financial transactions, education, medical treatment, data collection, preservation, outsourcing, overseas travel, employment, and job interviews, and has become an indispensable part of life. “So, we believe that the incidents of blocking or controlling the Internet services are a clear violation of the civic rights of individuals, a clear violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international agreements on civil and political rights," Fakhrul asserted. He also alleged that the police are harassing ordinary people by illegally arresting them on the streets and searching their mobile phones.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday regretted that the civil society members keep mum when their party men are killed and tortured on the streets as they do not consider the opposition leaders and activists as human beings. “I would like to say one thing with sorrow that we are being subjected to huge injustice and repression and our 17 people lost their lives in police firing on the streets for democracy. But those of our people talk nicely about democracy, good society, development and middle-income country, they don’t consider our leaders and activists as human beings,” he said. Speaking at a discussion, the BNP leader alleged that police also pick up opposition leaders and activists without any warrant and show them arrested in different cases relating to sabotage and explosion as there is no rule of law in the country. Besides, he said police file a case against 100 known BNP leaders and activists and over 1,000 others unidentified ones after any incident. Fakhrul said their party’s around 35 lakh people are facing ‘false’ cases. "Can it be imagined? Can 35 lakh leaders and activists of a democratic party be implicated in 35 lakh cases in any civilised democratic country? Can it be called a democratic state? Our only offence is that we’re working for restoring people’s rights. Only the sufferers know how much ordeal they’re going through?” Also read: AL destroys electoral system by “so-called” SCBA polls, says BNP demanding fresh vote He said the civil society members remain silent about such repression as they think the victims belong to BNP and they are not human beings and citizens of the country. Zia Parishad, a pro-BNP platform, arranged the discussion programme at a city hotel. Fakhrul said Bangladesh has been going through the toughest time of its 52 years’ history as the Awami League usurped power deceiving the country’s people. “They’re deceiving people so much in every case, everywhere that can never be imagined. He said the government’s biggest offence is that it has destroyed all the state institutions. Referring to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s comment on identifying those who are putting the state institutions into question, Fakhrul said, “Who will the people identify first? People have already identified that they (AL) are continuously not only making the institutions questionable but also destroying those. There is no institution, including parliament, that Awami League has not destroyed.” He said the government has created such a situation in the country that BNP leaders and activists cannot stay in their houses for months after months to avoid getting arrested.” He said their party has long been on a movement for the restoration of the caretaker government and sacrificing their lives for ensuring a credible election. “Caretaker government is not our concept as together with Jatiya Party and Jamaat came up with the concept” He said democracy was destroyed repeatedly by Awami League while it has been restored by Ziaur Rahman and Khaleda Zia. “This is the fact and there is no scope to deny it.”
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday voiced concern that Dhaka has become an 'explosion-prone’ and 'dangerous' city due to the government’s extreme negligence and mismanagement.” “Explosions have been taking place one after another in the country for the past few days. These incidents are happening as there is no supervision of the construction work of the buildings or their maintenance,” he said. Read more: Blast in Sidddique Bazar not from gas leakage: Titas Gas In a brief address before launching a rally, the BNP leader said the government organisations that are supposed to monitor and inspect these buildings are not properly doing their duties as they are involved in corruption. As a result, he said, there is no security in the buildings to prevent explosions and there is no system to prevent fire there. “So, such terrible explosions are happening, leaving many people dead and injured. In fact, Dhaka has now become an explosion-prone and most dangerous city,” Fakhrul said. Read more: Gulistan building turned risky after blast: Home Minister He also bemoaned that the air in Dhaka city is said to be the most polluted in the world. Besides, the BNP leader alleged that the wind of corruption has now completely engulfed Bangladesh. Jatiyatabadi Mohila Dal arranged the rally in front of the Jatiya Press Club, marking International Women's Day. The leaders and activists of Mohila Dal took part in the rally wearing purple sarees and holding purple balloons and placards with the photos of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia. At least 19 people were dead and over 100 injured in a huge explosion in a 5-storey building in Siddique Bazar of Dhaka’s Gulistan area. Read more: Reason behind Gulistan blast to be known after examining samples: Rab director Earlier on Sunday, three people were killed in an explosion in a building in Dhaka's Science laboratory area while seven people were killed and many injured in another explosion and fire at an oxygen plant in Chattogram’s Sitakunda on Saturday.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Standing Committee member Mirza Abbas have been shown arrested in a case filed with Paltan police station over Wednesday’s clash that left one dead and several injured. “They have been arrested in the case filed under the Explosive Substance Act at Paltan police station on Thursday after questioning,” said Harun Or Rashid Chief of Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police at a press briefing in the capital Friday. Read more: 205 BNP leaders, activists sued over crude bomb blasts in Barishal They will be produced before court today and a remand will be sought to interrogate them, he said. They were accused of instigating, planning and directing an attack on police, crude bomb explosion, destroying public property and lives, he added When asked whether any other central BNP leader is under surveillance he said,” If anyone else is involved with such crimes we will take action against them too. We are keeping an eye on everything.” Questioned about the BNP’s rally venue he said BNP is now proposing Golapbagh field but no decision was taken yet in this regard. In the early hours of Friday, BNP’s Media Cell member Sayrul Kabir Khan said that a team of Detective Branch (DB) of police picked up Mirza Fakhrul and Mirza Abbas from their homes in separate raids in the capital city. Earlier on Thursday night, a BNP delegation had a six-hour meeting with the DMP commissioner where they talked about holding the rally on Saturday (December 10) either at Kamalapur Stadium or Mirpur Bangla College ground. Later, Abbas with some BNP leaders visited the two venues. Read more: Police control of BNP office at Nayapaltan continues amid mounting tension On Wednesday, a Swechchasebak Dal leader was killed and around 50 others were injured in a clash between police and the BNP activists in front of the party’s Nayapaltan central office ahead of its December 10 rally. On Thursday, a Dhaka court sent 445 BNP leaders and activists to jail in two cases filed over Wednesday’s violence. Party’s Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Dhaka south city unit convener Abdus Salam and Publication Secretary Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annie were among the top leaders who were sent to jail, pending further legal procedures.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Saturday said their stance is clear that no election will be held under Sheikh Hasina; she has to resign and dissolve parliament. “She has to hand over power to a caretaker government. That neutral government will hold a free and fair election,” he said while addressing the crowds at Bangabandhu Udyan during BNP’s Barishal Divisional rally. He said that Awami League is trying to snatch votes again, like they did in the elections of 2014 and 2018. “They are trying to show that the new Chief Election Commissioner is neutral who said the election will be held using electronic voting machines. But we have strongly opposed it,” he added. Also read: BNP divisional rally begins at packed Barishal venue He said the government keeps saying that Bangladesh is self-sufficient in food production and there is development everywhere. “But the reality is 42 percent people in Bangladesh are still living under the poverty line,” said Fakhrul. He said the ongoing movement of BNP is not only to save its Chairperson Khaleda Zia, Tarique Rahman or any leaders but also for saving the people of Bangladesh. He acknowledged and praised party activists and leaders who started arriving to the venue from Thursday, defying all obstacles amid no vehicular movement. Tens of thousands of BNP activists and leaders joined the divisional rally in Barishal city, demanding the release of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and national election under a non-party neutral government. Also read: Ishraque says motorcade attacked on the way to BNP’s Barishal rally The rally began around 11 am at the city’s Bangabandhu Udyan. The crowd spilled out onto the surrounding roads. Saturday’s rally is be the fifth by the BNP at the divisional level. The first one was held in Chattogram, the second one in Mymensingh, and the third and fourth in Khulna and Rangpur, respectively.
BNP’s ideology stands poles apart from Jamaat, it sees India as a special friend, says Mirza Fakhrul in an exclusive interview with UNB
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has said that his party is different from Jamaat-e-Islami in terms of ideology and political principles. “We believe in democracy, religious freedom and religious values of all religions. But Jamaat does politics to establish Islam and it doesn’t match with us,” Fakhrul said in an exclusive interview with UNB at his Uttara residence this week. He, however, said that there are many equations and polarisations in parliamentary politics. “The main issue here is the number or 151 seats,” he said. Read more: US sanctions on RAB made BNP fearless in anti-government protests: Fakhrul Every party, he said, tries to get 151 seats and that's why parties make alliances with Jamaat or reach an understating with Jamaat without forging an alliance. “Awami League had a clear relationship with Jamaat when it waged a movement against us in 1994-1996.” The BNP leader said their party had an electoral alliance with Jamaat, but not an ideological one. “Our politics will depend entirely on our interests. We’re now going to wage our simultaneous movement independently but not under any alliance.” He also said Awami League talks against Jamaat only to make political gains, but it has not so far taken any step to ban the party. Replying to a question, Fakhrul said their party wants all opposition parties, including the left-leaning and Islamic ones, to participate in the simultaneous movement to force the AL government to resign paving the way for holding the next general election under a neutral caretaker administration.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday described the Election Commission's (EC’s) project to buy two lakh more electronic voting machines (EVMs) as a mockery with the nation. "You see what kind of mockery is happening with the nation (in the name of procuring EVMs) when people want the election to be held under an impartial government and all political parties, except Awami League, have told the Election Commission that we don't want EVMs,” he said. Speaking at a press conference at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office, Fakhrul said the EC has sought Tk 8,711 crore for buying EVMs to use those in 150 seats in the next general election. “It’s like a rogue state as there’s no accountability in this country." Read: EVMs in 150 constituencies: EC finalises Tk 8,711cr project Earlier on Monday, the EC finalised the project to buy two lakh electronic voting machines and their management. The project will now be sent to the Planning Commission for government approval. A few days ago, Fakhrul said the cabinet secretary made it very clear in a meeting of the Planning Commission that most of the projects are made for stealing public money. “Even the projects are not assessed here while the loan agreements are signed in the middle of the night. This is the overall situation of the country.” He said there is no government or governance in the country as Awami League has turned Bangladesh into a terrible failed state. “We never imagined that we would see such a Bangladesh one day." Harassment in the name of collecting info Fakhrul alleged that police are harassing BNP and opposition party leaders and workers in the name of collecting their personal information in the rural areas, creating an alarming situation. “Police in various areas are collecting information from one political worker to another. They’re also collecting the list of committees of BNP and its associate bodies. Such activities of the police are not justified in any way by the Constitution, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Police Act or the Police Rules or any other law,” he said. Read:BNP turns down EC’s move to use EVMs up to 150 seats The BNP leader said the law enforcers are also violating the right to privacy of the citizen and interfering in the enjoyment of legal rights and personal liberty of the citizen by such a move. “It is a clear violation of Articles 31, 32 and 43 of the Constitution.” He said the law enforcers are collecting detailed information about the BNP leaders and activists, their children and relatives and property apparently to suppress them and spread fear among them. “BNP wants an end to this situation. We call upon the police authorities to fulfill their constitutional duty to create a democratic environment in the country by stopping the harassment of ordinary citizens and political workers," Fakhrul said. Whenever the leaders and workers of BNP initiate a movement, he said, the police start raiding their houses and collecting information about them by going door to door. “They have no constitutional authority to do so. There they are just doing it as a strategy to harass people and suppress the movement. We condemn it and call upon them to refrain from it.” Fakhrul also narrated how their party's senior leaders, including standing committee member Selima Rahman, vice chairman Barkatullah Bulu and his wife were attacked by the ruling party activists. “The way senior leaders were attacked and Bulu and his wife were beaten is unimaginable. But no one has so far been arrested in these connections. Even, not a single case has been filed. It’s disrespectful to the state.”
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday termed ‘ridiculous’ Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s remark on fair elections under her Awami League government. “The Prime Minister said in the UK that fair and beautiful polls are held during the Awami League government. Even, a horse would laugh hearing your words,” he said dismissing the PM’s claim. Read:Shameful for PM to be questioned by BBC on fair polls: BNP Speaking at a rally, the BNP leader said every person in Bangladesh knows that she made a fake claim on fair elections. “So, a slogan--Sheikh Hasina is fake--would be shouted all over Bangladesh.” Khilgaon zone of Dhaka south city unit arranged the rally in Khilgaon Jorpukur field protesting the price hike of fuel, daily essentials and the killing of three opposition leaders in Bhola and Narayanganj in police firing and attacks on different programmes of the party.
Stating that an anti-government movement cannot be a plot, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Thursday urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to make public the names of those conspiring against her. “The Prime Minister said yesterday (Wednesday) that a new plot has begun to oust her and she knows the conspirators. I would like to urge her…. you please clearly make public their names. The nation wants to know who they are,” he said. Speaking at a discussion programme, he categorically said any movement for toppling a government is not a conspiracy. “We would like to clearly and openly declare that we want to establish a pro-people government by removing this fascist and authoritarian regime through a mass movement. There’s no question of any plot here,” the BNP leader said. Also read: Don't cry, wake up: Fakhrul to BNP activists He said it is Awami League that came to power by resorting to conspiracy in 2008. Fakhrul said a vested quarter in a planned way hatched a conspiracy to defeat BNP in 2008 and filled ballot boxes on the night before the voting day to ensure Awami League’s victory. “The election was held in the same way in 2018...Even, the Jatiya Party secretary general said voting was held at night and they themselves did it,” the BNP leader observed. The pro-BNP faction of the Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) arranged the programme at Jatiya Press Club, marking its founding anniversary. Earlier on Thursday, PM Hasina said a fresh plot has begun to oust her from power as the country is heading towards another national election. “Conspiracies were hatched before the national elections in 2014 and 2018. They are again hatching their conspiracies to remove me from power. I know all of them [conspirators]," she said. Fakhrul alleged that Awami League shut down many media outlets, repressed and killed many journalists, implicated many of them in different cases and enacted the Digital Security Act to gag the media. “It’s natural for Awami League as it’s their basic character. Awami League doesn’t believe in democracy. It’s also the party’s character to deceive people. This party does exactly the opposite of what it says” Also read: BNP, Montu-led Gonoforum agree on simultaneous anti-govt movement About the change in the superintendent of police (SP) in 40 out of 64 districts, he said those who genuinely belong to Awami League were made SPs through the fresh reshuffle in the police administration. Besides, he said the government appointed 11 additional judges to the High Court Division of the Supreme Court. “If you investigate, you’ll find all of them are Awami cadres. Has this country been liberated only for Awami League? He said Bangladesh is now under the worst form of authoritarian rule since there is no democracy and no press freedom. “So, there’s no point in talking about democracy and justice here. Ensuring the fall of this regime through a united movement of people is the only way left for us.”