The 18-party opposition alliance led by BNP has instructed its activists to come out to the street and join with the Islamists of Hefazat, which has decided to continue sit-in at Motijheel. The opposition will also hold a rally in front of the BNP headquarters at Naya Paltan at 3pm as their 48-hour ultimatum ends at 6pm today.
The announcement came after BNP chief and opposition leader Khaleda Zia discussed the latest situation with her party policymakers last night.
Farhad Mazhar, an NGO activist and columnist who had urged the prime minister to support Hefazat’s 13-point demands, was seen leaving the BNP office at around 10pm last night.
“BNP standing committee has decided to hold a rally at 3pm,” Maruf Kamal Khan, press secretary to Khaleda, told reporters after the BNP policymakers’ meeting last night.
From an opposition rally on Saturday, Khaleda issued the 48-hour ultimatum to the government to make specific announcement on a non-partisan poll-time government after the PM invited her to talks to resolve political impasse.
BNP leaders said they were also planning tougher agitation starting from tomorrow that might include blockade and non-stop shutdown.
“If the government dilly-dallies in realising our demand, we will go for tough programmes like hartals and blockades,” BNP vice-chairperson Sadeque Hossain Khoka told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.
A senior BNP leader, seeking anonymity, said that they might go for a 60-hour countrywide shutdown.
Shamsuzzaman Dudu, adviser to the BNP chairperson, said that there was no alternative to dialogue to resolve the political crisis.
“By killing and repressing the opposition, it would not be possible to work for a solution,” he said at a press briefing at the party’s Naya Paltan head quarters.
Dudu said the whole city became a battle field as law enforcers and activists of the ruling Awami League’s student and youth wings attacked activists of Hefazat-e-Islam, who laid siege to Dhaka and were holding a rally yesterday.
“Stop shooting and killing people immediately. Bring all those involved in attacking the Hefazat men to book immediately.”
Dudu continued that the government was autocratic and the attacks by law enforcers were a shadow of the Second World War and the 1971 Liberation War.
“There is no alternative to the restoration of the caretaker government system for the peace of the country,” he said.
Urging Dhaka residents to help Hefazat men, Dudu said that the members of the umbrella organisation of Islamists are Musafirs [visitors].
“Stand beside the Musafirs and help them.”