BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has voiced deep concern over media reports that the government had taken a move to take away the Independence Award given to its founder Ziaur Rahman posthumously.
"Newspapers today ran a news item that Ziaur Rahman's Swadhinata Puroshkar to be taken back. The entire nation has got worried and surprised with it," he said Friday.
Speaking at a press briefing at the BNP's Nayapaltan central office, Fakhrul further said: "The BNP-led government awarded late Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Ziaur Rahman with the Swadhinata Puroshkar in 2003, and it is a glorious example of political generosity in Bangladesh history."
Asked whether BNP has got any information in this regard from any source, Fakhrul said: "We have somehow come to know that the Cabinet meeting has decided to withdraw Ziaur Rahman's Swadhinata Puroshkar. It is a suicidal and unbecoming decision of the cabinet.”
Claiming that Zia had declared the independence and led the war from the front, Fakhrul said: “He was awarded with the gallantry award of Bir Uttam by the post-liberation government in 1972 for his contributions to the Liberation War.”
Mentioning that Ziaur Rahman had introduced the Independence Award, the BNP leader said the ruling party could dishonour him by withdrawing his award, but would not be able to erase his achievements.
Swadhinata Puroshkar is the highest state award given by the government of Bangladesh in recognition of any person's outstanding contributions in any field.
The BNP secretary general said they were observing with frustration that the ruling party was trying to divide the nation instead of uniting it. "They are doing it in a planned way to make their political gains.”
He alleged that the Awami League was pushing the country towards destruction through its negative politics.
Mentioning that their party believes in the politics of unity, he said there was no alternative to “restoring” democracy and forging unity to overcome the country's current problems, including militancy.
He called upon the government to restore democracy in line with people's hopes and aspirations shunning its negative and destructive politics. “Or else people will not forgive you and you have to be accountable to them some day," he said.