Unidentified people shot BNP chairperson's adviser Reaz Rahman and then torched his car at the capital's Gulshan-2 last night.
Two bullets hit the 74-year-old in the left leg and two below his waist, said Fowaz Shuvo, a doctor at United Hospital where he was being treated.
“The bullets did not cause major injuries to his internal organs. We could not remove the bullets yet, but we can say he is out of danger,” he told The Daily Star after examining the X-ray report.
In protest, the BNP has called a 24-hour nationwide hartal for tomorrow.
In a statement, Khaleda blamed the government for the attack, saying it was "an act of cowardice and terror”.
Reaz, also former state minister for foreign affairs, was attacked following some instigating remarks by the government high-ups, the BNP chief said.
“The ruling party will have to shoulder the full responsibility for the evil attempt to create anarchy in the country by resorting to terrorism, killings, secrete attacks and enforced disappearances,” the statement reads.
Six attackers took part in the action movie-style shooting around 8:40pm, witnesses said, adding that the attack lasted no more than three minutes.
They said the assailants came on three bikes and all the six were wearing hooded jackets.
The motive behind the attack remains unclear, but several highly placed sources told this correspondent that it was meant to intimidate the opposition party.
Gulshan police said they launched a drive to catch the attackers, but they were yet to file a case as of filing this report at 3:00am today.
A former foreign secretary, Reaz was passing through lane no-46 of Gulshan-2, just behind the Hotel Westin.
The lane is just about 50 yards long and police members were present on both ends of the lane when the shooting happened, witnesses said.
Party sources said Reaz was on way to his Bashundhara residence after meeting Khaleda at her Gulshan office, where the BNP chief remains confined for the past 11 days.
When he entered the narrow lane after coming out of Khaleda's office around 8:30pm, the attackers followed him and then waylaid him with their bikes.
They first asked him to come out of the car. When he demanded their identities, they smashed the windshields with hammers and started shooting him. The BNP leader then got down from the car and crawled to a nearby building for safety. The attackers then firebombed the car and fled, said Titu Das, an electrician of a nearby building.
In no time, police arrived at the scene and took him to the hospital.
Some security guards tried to catch the attackers, but they backed away as they fired blank shots and threw bricks at them.
Reaz Rahman's driver, who escaped the attack unhurt, called the family to inform them of the shooting.
Only three days ago, assailants set ablaze the car of Sabih Uddin Ahmed, also an adviser of Khaleda Zia, at Gulshan-2. Sabih Uddin was not in the car at the time of the attack, which too was carried out by six people on three bikes, said his driver.
The BNP chief warned the government that consequences of the planned criminal act would not be good.
“I have no words to condemn and protest the attempt to murder Reaz Rahman,” she said in the statement last night.
Khaleda also warned the government would not be able to cling to power by carrying out such “naked attacks” on the opposition.
She demanded the immediate arrests and punishment of the attackers.
In another statement earlier in the day, the former prime minister said those sacrificing their lives for restoring democracy would be declared as "national heroes" and that the party would compensate their families once it returned to power.
Undersigned by BNP Joint Secretary General Rizvi Ahmed, the statement also said the family members of the victims would be given jobs fitting to their qualifications.