Contesting Next JS Polls: Khaleda's release 1st condition: BNP
The BNP yesterday said Khaleda Zia's release was the number one precondition for its participation in the upcoming general election.
"We have made clear our demands that the number one precondition for holding any election in Bangladesh is that Khaleda Zia must be released. No election would take place while she is in jail and the people of the country will not allow it,” BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told a rally.
The party has been able to hold the rally in the capital yesterday for the first time in two and a half years, fulfilling 23 conditions set out by the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
The government must resign and dissolve parliament before the national election, Fakhrul told the rally in front of the party's Nayapaltan office.
The Election Commission will have to be reconstituted and the army deployed during the election, he said, calling for the countrymen to unite and raise the demand.
He commended several left leaning parties for forming an alliance and urged other political parties to unite as well.
"Then we will be able to ensure that the repressive government is toppled and people's rights restored."
Addressing other political parties, the BNP leader said, “Let's get united and move forward to ensure people's rights ousting the current regime.”
BNP leaders and activists started to throng the venue following Juma prayers with festoons and banners. The rally stretched on the road between Fakirapool and Nightingale intersections.
The BNP leaders stood on the back of a truck to address the rally. The Dhaka Metropolitan Police had allowed the BNP to hold the rally between 2:00pm and 5:00pm.
Party leaders and activists chanted, “My leader, my mother, should not be behind the bars”, “no election will be held keeping her inside the jail”, as they gathered at the venue.
The BNP chairperson has been in prison since February 8 after being convicted in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
The BNP has been demanding her release and medical treatment at the United Hospital.
The party has claimed that Khaleda is severely ill.
Separate rallies were also simultaneously held across the country yesterday.
“You do not want an inclusive election. If all parties participate in the election, you will not get even 20 seats. That's why you kept Khaleda Zia behind the bars,” Fakhrul told the rally in the capital, addressing the ruling Awami League.
Referring to the allegations of irregularities regarding the gold kept in the Bangladesh Bank's vault, he said, “A chaotic situation is prevailing in the economic sector. The government has destroyed the banking sector.
“There is no investment in the country, people are not getting any job, garment factories are winding up one after another…. a total mess.”
Accusing the government of “killing and abducting” opposition leaders and activists in the name of anti-drug drive, Fakhrul said, “A dreadful situation has been created in the country. Every citizen of the country is unsafe.
“You saw how the quota reform movement activists were harassed. They were picked up and then taken on remand in a false case. Teachers are calling for an end to the harassment and saying that the role of the Chhatra League is worse than the one played by Ayub Khan and Monayem Khan's student wings.”
BNP Standing Committee Member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain termed the government autocratic and said the BNP along with the countrymen would go for a mass upsurge to unseat the government.
"We will not allow the government to hold a January 5, 2014-like election," he said.
Moudud Ahmed, another standing committee member, said there was no level playing field for a free and fair election.