Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said a Canadian court's recent verdict has proved that “BNP is actually a terrorist party”.
She made the comment at a meeting of the Awami League Parliamentary Party (ALPP) held at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban last night, party insiders said.
Lawmakers during a House session yesterday also blasted the BNP for “resorting to terrorism”.
At least one MP went on to demand the cancellation of BNP's registration with the Election Commission.
Earlier in the day, the BNP denounced such interpretation of a Canadian court's observation and called it a government plot to confuse people.
On January 25, a Canadian court, while disposing of an asylum seekers application, observed that, " … the BNP was, is, or will be engaged in terrorism is reasonable; it is supported by the evidence having regard to the broad definition of terrorism under Canadian law."
Mohammad Jewel Hossain Gazi, a BNP man from Bangladesh whose plea for permanent residency in Canada was turned down in May last year, appealed before Canada's federal court.
The court mentioned that he admitted his membership with the BNP on several occasions and that he joined the student wing of the BNP in mid-1997. In 2004, he went to South Korea to study and had returned. He left for Japan in 2005. Upon expiry of his visa, he was arrested and deported to Bangladesh in 2008. He later joined Swechchhasebak Dal.
Justice Henry S Brown dismissed the appeal for judicial review and observed, “In my respectful view, the Officer's conclusion [the findings of a senior immigration officer] that he had reasonable grounds to believe that the BNP was, is, or will be engaged in terrorism is reasonable; it is supported by the evidence having regard to the broad definition of terrorism under Canadian law … I also note that the Officer stated there was 'little evidence before me to find that the applicant personally engaged in violence for the BNP'.”
The observation was obtained from the Canadian federal court's website.
Jewel reached Canada on January 18, 2013, and made a refugee claim the same day. On September 26, 2013, he was found to be a refugee and on February 27, 2014, he applied for permanent resident status, according to the verdict.
The verdict quoted CBSA National Security Screening Division's observation, “The applicant indicated that the BNP is a 'party that uses armed struggle or violence to reach political objectives.' He specified that when there is a strike, the party uses ammunitions and arms. The BNP, like the opposition party, 'uses arms like a war. They use hand bombs, pistols, and big swords ...”
“Regarding the BNP's engagement in acts of subversion or terrorism, the Officer cites several reports, news articles and studies, as well as 'general information' found online on Wikipedia. The Officer acknowledges searching for and finding this general information on the internet by using the search term 'Bangladesh nationalist party terrorist acts' …"
Claiming that a Canadian court has recently branded BNP “a terrorist party”, Bangladesh Tariqat Federation Chairman Syed Nazibul Bashar Maizvandary yesterday demanded cancellation of BNP's registration with the EC.
The chief of Tariqat, an ally of ruling Awami League, speaking on a point of order in parliament, said, “I want to know why BNP's registration should not be scrapped as we demand Jamaat-Shibir to be banned on the same ground.”
He also demanded arrest of the BNP chief to expedite the trial against her and other “BNP leaders who were engaged in arson terrorism”.
He claimed that no BNP man gets political asylum in any country because the BNP has been branded as a terrorist party.
“A GOVT PLOT”
The BNP yesterday termed the matter a part of the government's plot to confuse people, reports UNB.
"What we have understood going through the court verdict is that it is a part of a conspiracy drama. We think the government has fabricated the drama with a motive to create confusion among people. They [the government] will stage some similar incidents before the election," said BNP senior leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
He came up with the remarks while speaking at a press conference at BNP's Nayapaltan central office.
Rizvi said even though the verdict was delivered a month ago, former vice-president of Chittagong University Chhatra League unit Shawkat Ali Sagar made a report for a Canadian website on Wednesday and the pro-government media in Bangladesh jumped on it.
"Sagar and the ruling party men are making various plots and propaganda against the BNP from Canada."
He questioned why would a person seek political asylum calling his party a terrorist outfit?
“The immigration department presented the false and fabricated information before the court. The department was provided with the information as part of the drama."
AL spokesperson Hasan Mahmud claimed that the BNP has become a terrorist party.
At a press conference at the party president's Dhanmondi office, Hasan said, "We have been claiming that the BNP is a terrorist party for a long time and now it has been proved after Canadian court's verdict."