Supreme Court Bar Association president Advocate Khandaker Mahbub Hossain yesterday said that there was no seditious element in the BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s statement. Rather, her statement was true as the exact figure of the freedom fighters should find out for the greater interest of the history of country’s Independence.
Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, who is also adviser to the BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, made the observations at his chamber following the government’s green signal for filing a sedition case against Khaleda Zia for her comments on the number of martyrs of Liberation War in 1971.
Hossain said, “It is necessary to specify the number of freedom fighters. It is shameful for us, if the exact number of freedom fighters would not be specified. We could not provide assistant to the bereaved families of the freedom fighters due to the lack of exact number of the freedom fighters,” he added.
The definition of sedition was given at the section 124 (ka) of the Criminal Procedure of Code (CrPC). As per the definition of sedition, the statement of Khaleda Zia, which was given on December 21 last year, was not a seditious comment at all, he added.
“If the BNP will come into state power, we would specify the exact number of the freedom fighters. We will include the matter in the up coming election manifesto,” he noted.
Earlier on December 27, a Dhaka court directed the authorities concerned to conduct an investigation into a sedition charge filed against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia for her comments on the count of 1971 martyrs.
The court also asked the officer-in-charge (OC) of Shahbagh Police Station to take approval from the home ministry before conducting investigation into the sedition charge as the case was filed against Khaleda Zia under section 123 of the penal code.
An approval from the home ministry is needed for a case to be filed under that particular section of the penal code.
Metropolitan Magistrate Md Atiqur Rahman gave the order after a hearing on the case filed by Moshiur Malik, founding president of Bangabandhu Foundation, against Khaleda Zia for making ‘derogatory remark’ about 1971 martyrs.
The court also asked the authorities concerned to take legal action, if any, against her in accordance with the law after conducting investigation into the case.
At a discussion on December 21 last year, Khaleda Zia expressed doubts over the government’s claim that three million people died during the 1971 Liberation War. She also said Bangabandhu wanted to become the prime minister of undivided Pakistan rather than lead the country to independence. Her comments drew widespread flak among pro-liberation forces in the country. Many slammed her as an ‘agent of Pakistan’ and demanded that she leaves Bangladesh.
Following the court order, the government earlier approved an appeal to file a sedition case against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
The home ministry approved the approval after former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) secretary Mamtajuddin Ahmed Mehedi had appealed to the ministry.
Plaintiff Momtajuddin Ahmed Mehedi yesterday told reporters that he might move the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court of Dhaka on Monday (today) to file the case before it.