Khaleda Zia is trying to galvanise expatriates into stepping up an anti-Bangladesh government agitation, having failed to lend momentum to the movement back home.The BNP chief is currently in London for ‘medical treatment’ and is staying with her elder son Tarique Rahman.The party’s UK unit chief MA Malek said Khaleda had urged Bangladeshis living abroad to work together to unmask the “real face of the anti-people” government back home.Along with Malek, several BNP leaders from the US and Canada met Tarique at his London residence on Saturday to ‘press’ for the formation of a committee.“There is intimidation of various kinds back home. There is no such fear abroad. So, the BNP chairperson has urged everyone to work together in foreign countries to expose the anti-people government of Bangladesh among the international community,” Malek told greenwatchbd.com over phone.
Among those present in the meet were former vice-chairperson of the US chapter Gias Ahmed, former general secretary Mostafa Kamal Pasha Babul, South Florida BNP leader Iliyas Khan, Boston BNP leader Saiful Alam, Chicago leader Mozammel Hossain Nantu, and Canada BNP chief Faizal Chowdhury.The BNP’s US committee had been dissolved several years ago. At present, party activities are conducted by four groups but grass-roots workers seem demoralised.
“Khaleda Zia has not said anything specific about committee formation. She has only said, ‘These are difficult times. This is the time for everybody to unite in creating a strong international opinion against the government’s autocratic ways’,” Gias Ahmed said.
Senior BNP Vice-Chairman Tarique, who has been implicated in several cases in Bangladesh and living in the UK for the past seven years, was also present.Khaleda said anti-government programmes were “not being allowed” and the current regime was “propped up” with the help of police. She added the expatriate leaders and activists did not “face this problem”.The Awami League came to power for the second consecutive term through the Jan 5, 2014 election that the BNP and its allies boycotted, leaving the BNP out of the present Parliament.
Khaleda had openly expressed her frustration at the failure of the boycott movement and disbanded the committee headed by Sadeque Hossain Khoka to replace it with a new body, led by Mirza Abbas.The political heat gradually cooled off in the months after the election.But the BNP made yet another attempt to energise its anti-government movement on the election anniversary by resorting to a ceaseless transport blockade coupled with repeated shutdowns, triggering sabotage and violence that killed over a hundred people.The movement was withdrawn last April. Since then the BNP and its allies have not walked the path of any major agitation.Khaleda, who went to London for treatment on Sep 16, celebrated Eid-ul-Azha with the family there this year.