Khaleda reiterates demand for polls
In a blistering attack on the government, Khaleda Zia yesterday said "the repressive administration" had confined not only her but the whole country as well.
"The way the government is acting is tantamount to dictatorship," said the BNP chairperson, who had been confined to her Gulshan office since Saturday night, in the afternoon after her failed bid to exit the office premises to attend a scheduled rally at Nayapaltan in the capital.
The two-time former premier reiterated her call to the government for dialogue to "end the current political impasse by holding a free, fair and inclusive election, and restore peace in the country".
"There is no peace in the country. That's why people want an inclusive election ... I urge the government to take necessary measures to this end.”
Terming the government weak, she said, “The government has understood that it does not have public support ... That's why it is afraid of going for an election. The government wants to stay in power through killing, bombing and other repressive acts."
Khaleda bitterly rejected the government's claim that law enforcers did not confine her but were providing her security following her letter to the government in this regard.
"Why the gate of my office has been locked down? Why wasn't I allowed to go out of my office today [yesterday] to attend our scheduled programme if I am not confined?
"If I'm not confined, why didn't the government allow many prominent personalities, including a former president [AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury] to meet me at my office? Why have so many trucks, police vans, armoured personnel carriers and water cannons been brought up here?
"The government did not provide any security when needed. But whenever we want to hold any rally, they block it on the pretext of providing security. What type of security is this?
"If the government really wants to provide security, it should ensure my free movement first,” said Khaleda.
Khaleda later announced an indefinite countrywide blockade, protesting "the government's repressive acts" and her confinement. “We will set the next course of action after the situation calms down.”
Yesterday's rally was scheduled to mark the anniversary of January 5 election last year. The BNP-led alliance boycotted the polls and ended up having no membership in parliament for the first time in 22 years.