Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir was the BNP’s acting secretary general when he went to the Judge’s Court yesterday morning to attend hearings in three cases filed on charges of vandalism, arson and attempted murder during his party’s anti-government movement last year.
Now facing at least 89 cases, Fakhrul surrendered before the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Md Golam Nabi around 12:10pm and sought bail in the cases.
His counsel Md Sanaullah Miah told the court that Fakhrul’s health condition was not good. “If he gets bail, he will not flee and will also not misuse his bail.”
Sanaullah also said: “My client is respectful to the country’s judiciary. He appeared before the court as per the Appellate Division order issued on February 29.” On that day, the apex court extended his bail until March 15 in the cases filed with Paltan police.
Around 1pm, the court turned down his petition in two of the cases, apparently frustrating the pro-BNP lawyers waiting eagerly to greet him with bouquets. The enraged supporters then chanted slogans as they watched the law enforcers taking Fakhrul to the Dhaka Central Jail.
Around the same time, the BNP announced Fakhrul as the party’s secretary general, over five years after serving as the acting secretary general. It is considered as the third highest position in the party.
Ruhul Kabir Rizvi made the announcement at a press briefing from the BNP’s Nayapaltan Headquarters around 12:45pm, 11 days after the sixth national council. Previously a joint secretary general, Rizvi was made the party’s senior joint secretary general. Rizvi also said that party Chairperson Khaleda Zia had appointed Mizanur Rahman Sinha as its treasurer.
Khaleda and her elder son Tarique Rahman were re-elected as the chairperson and the senior vice-chairman of the party as no one else contested for the posts.
At the council held on March 19, the councillors gave Khaleda the authority to form the full committee.
“The chairperson has appointed some leaders against the posts of national executive committee of the party,” Rizvi said. He then announced the three names and said that the rest of the names would be announced soon.
But Fakhrul, a former state minister, and his party supporters could not enjoy the good news.
His lawyers filed separate re-consideration petitions in the two cases through the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court around 3pm. Metropolitan Magistrate Md Golam Nabi granted the pleas this time.
One of the cases was filed by police on January 4 last year against Fakhrul and 28 others for vandalism and arson attack on a bus in front of Bangabandhu Hawkers Market in Gulistan area.
Another case accuses Fakhrul and 49 others of setting fire to a motorcycle of police Sergeant Md Abu Zafar in Fakirerpool area on January 5. The other case was filed against Fakhrul and 33 others for torching a BRTC bus in Purana Paltan area on January 6.
Fakhrul’s lawyers said the BNP leader was suffering from several health complications including diabetes. In December last year, he flew to the USA for treatment upon release from jail on bail.
After securing bail in all the three cases yesterday, Fakhrul walked out of jail around 6pm and went to the party’s Gulshan office to meet the chairperson.
BNP leaders consider Fakhrul as a gentleman with clean image saying he is capable of handling media and party’s formal activities. But he is criticised within the party for not being a conventional politician like the other senior leaders.
Fakhrul started his political career as a leader of Bangladesh Chhatra Union and then joined a college as a lecturer. He quit job in 1988 and joined the BNP.
In 2001, he was elected as a lawmaker from Thakurgaon 1 constituency, and served as the state minister for agriculture, and civil aviation and tourism ministries.
In December 2009, he was appointed as the senior joint secretary general of the party at the fifth national council when Tarique Rahman became the senior vice-chairman of the party.
Fakhrul became the acting secretary general of the party seven days after then secretary general Khandakar Delwar Hossain died on March 16, 2011.
He is the seventh secretary general of the party founded on September 1, 1978.
Former president AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury, now chief of Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, was the founding secretary general of the BNP. He was succeeded by Mustafizur Rahman.
Then KM Obaidur Rahman was appointed as the secretary general but was expelled and replaced by Abdul Salam Talukder. Salam resigned from his post and Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan was made the secretary general of the BNP.
Mannan Bhuiyan was expelled from the party just before Khaleda’s arrest in 2007 during the army-backed caretaker government and Khandakar Delwar Hossain took the charge.