Awami League spokesperson Syed Ashraful Islam yesterday alleged the then prime minister Khaleda Zia had prior knowledge of the countrywide blasts in August 17, 2005.
"We have evidence that Khaleda Zia not only knew about the blasts; she also gave full support to the attackers,” he said while addressing a rally at the party's central office on Bangabandhu Avenue.
“Through the attack,” he added, “militant organisations declared war against the nation."
The Dhaka city AL organised the rally marking the anniversary of the August 17 bomb attacks.
On this day in 2005, around 500 bombs exploded at 300 locations in 63 out of 64 districts within half an hour from 11:30am. The Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) claimed responsibility for the bombings.
"Khaleda Zia wanted to give rise to militant outfits like al-Qaeda, IS and Talibans in Bangladesh as in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, and August 21 grenade attack was the part of her plan," said Ashraf, also the LGRD minister.
He alleged that former president Ziaur Rahman was involved in the Bangabandhu assassination, saying Anthony Mascarenhas, ex-assistant editor of Karachi-based Morning News, wrote about the rise of Zia in a book.
He made mention of a report run by The Daily Star on Saturday, based on books including Mascarenhas' “Bangladesh: A Legacy of Blood”.
"Zia's aim was to create a political force by killing Bangabandhu and his family members. But it is unfortunate for Khaleda Zia that Zia's plan was not fully implemented as Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana [daughters of Bangabandhu] was abroad and escaped the massacre," the AL general secretary said.
AL leaders Matia Chowdhury, Sahara Khatun, Mahabubul Alam Hanif and Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya also addressed the event, while the city AL's acting president, MA Aziz, was in the chair.
At another programme yesterday, AL Presidium Member Mohammad Nasim alleged a section of “opportunists” have been using the party name for wrongdoing.
"Awami League organises its programmes with own fund. But there are some opportunists who use the party name for extortion targeting any special occasion," he said, responding to a query during the monthly “Meet the Press” of Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU).
Nasim, also spokesperson for AL-led 14-party alliance, turned down any possibility of midterm national election.
"There is no provision in the Constitution about midterm election and the next election will be held under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina in 2019," the AL leader said and hoped the BNP would join the 2019 national elections.
He also said BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia made a big mistake by not participating in the January 5 polls and she is paying for her mistake.
Nasim, also health and family welfare minister, said the government would assist BNP if they launch issue-based programme and hoped that the party would not create anarchy in name of movement.
Held at the DRU auditorium, the programme was also addressed by DRU President Shahed Chowdhury and General Secretary Elias Khan.