• Thursday, Apr 25, 2019
  • Last Update : 09:48 am

BNP plans to step up movement for Khaleda’s release, polls-time govt

  • Published at 02:40 am June 10th, 2018
File photo of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Some BNP leaders are saying that low key political events have failed to secure the release of party Chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail or secure an election-time non-partisan government.

They believe the time has come to take their demands to the streets and are slating a stronger movement after Eid-ul-Fitr.

But BNP Standing Committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain clarified that the party would not go for very tough programs.

“We have struggled peacefully alongside the legal battle for the release of Khaleda Zia. But many party people are considering tougher programs, and we have to prepare for it,” he said.

Adding that the party has yet to set a course of action on the issue, Mosharraf Hossain said the BNP would go for a tougher steret movement if the government continued to ignore its demands.

“We do not believe the judiciary is independent, so the release of Khaleda Zia cannot be achieved through the courts,” said Mosharraf.

Senior BNP leader Moudud Ahmed, speaking in Dhaka on May 25, also hinted that the party would opt for a tougher movement after Eid-ul-Fitr. 

Tougher movement ahead

BNP insiders said the party’s grassroots may soon be asked to prepare for a tougher movement aimed at securing the release of Khaleda Zia, who has been incarcerated since February 8, after a special court sentenced her to a five-year prison term in a graft case.

BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said: “... we will not be able to participate in the polls if our chairperson remains imprisoned.

“We will strengthen our movement for her release, and ensure a peaceful election.” 

Asked whether their street movement would be peaceful, he said the movement will be peaceful unless party workers are attacked.

Rizvi said: “The government has repeatedly blocked our street movements. This makes the situation tense, creating further conflict. 

“I do not think that any street movement will be entirely peaceful. The party leadership will decide on this through discussion.”

The BNP boycotted the 2014 general election and waged a year-long nationwide movement of blockades, strikes, and other street demonstrations. 

At least 100 people were killed, mostly from arson attacks on public transportation. The government and law enforcers blamed BNP-Jamaat leaders and activists for the violence.

Since then, the BNP has held mostly indoor programs to put forward their demands.