Dhaka, Sept 30 – Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Sunday aired a seven-point demand and a 12-point vision, including unconditional release of party chairperson Khaleda Zia and withdrawal of false cases filed against her, dissolution of parliament, the resignation of the government and formation of election-time neutral administration through talks with all political parties.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir placed the demands at a mammoth public meeting at Suhrawardy Udyan in line with the five-point demands of the Jatiya Okiya Prokriya (National Unity
Process) led by eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain.
The other BNP demands include ensuring deployment of armed forces in each polling centre with magistracy power, not to use Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in the polls, allowing local and international observers without imposing any restrictions and the release of all imprisoned leaders and activists of the opposition parties.
The BNP, the arch-rival of the ruling Awami League (AL), also demanded suspension of the procedures of all the political cases and not filing any new cases until the poll result is announced, not to arrest anyone in old cases and withdrawal of all cases the release students and journalists who were arrested in connection with quota reform movement, students movement for safe roads and freedom of expression.
Mirza Alamgir, who presided over the meeting, also announced a 12-point objective of the party to implement if voted to power. These include the establishment of a just welfare-oriented state by establishing rule of law everywhere of the state, establishing the rule of law in a democratic manner instead of the trend of politicization to ensure the neutrality of the government institutions and bringing an acceptable balance in power of the state.
The BNP aims also include not giving shelter to any terrorism and allowing any militant group to use Bangladesh’s land, recruitment of judges through a transparent process, modernize the armed forces
further, free the anti-corruption commission from political influence and ensure the safety and security of the people and their wealth and fundamental rights and forging a national unity to end all the politics of vengeance.
The public meeting that turned into a big show of strength of the BNP month ahead of the next general elections raised their hands extending their support to the party’s demands and aims.
The BNP secretary general also announced a two-day mass contact programme as part of what he said series of programmes to be announced later to press home their demands.
According to the programme, the BNP would hold rallies at district levels on October 3 and city levels on October 4 and handover memorandum to the concerned Deputy Commissioner and the Divisional Commissioner across the country.
The BNP alone organized the public meeting after getting the permission of police after three attempts and on 22 conditions. No leader from allies of the BNP-led 20-party alliance or any party involved in the national unity process took part in the meeting.
Party’s jailed chairperson Khaleda Zia has been made the chief guest of the public meeting in her absence and a chair was preserved in the middle of the front row of the podium in honour of her.
The public meeting began at 2:00 pm as thousands of party leaders and activists thronged at the Suhrawardy Udyan from the morning and the venue and its adjacent areas including Matshya Bhaban, High Court and Shahbagh area field up with people. The movement of party leaders and activists in processions created huge traffic congestion has been created at the nearby roads before and during the public meeting pushing the passengers towards immense sufferings.
A total of 46 leaders spoke at the public meeting continued till 5:40 pm but no leader mentioned the name of either the 20-party alliance or their major ally Jamaat-e-Islami.
However, in an oblique reference, Jamaat’s involvement in the ongoing movement, standing committee member Goyeshwar Chandra Roy said those who will be in the movement for restoration for democracy will be their friends.
On ruling party remarks to take the streets under their control, he said there is nothing left except Azimpur and Banani graveyards to grab by them as they have grabbed everything.
Another standing committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed strongly criticised the digital security act saying that if voted to power the BNP would repeal the law within seven days.
Mirza Alamgir quoted chairperson Khaleda Zia as saying that she is ready to accept any term for the sake of restoration of the democracy.
He accused the government of destroying all the three organs of the state and killing opposition leaders and activists making them victims of enforced disappearance.
The BNP leader alleged that a total of 4,319 party leaders and activists have been arrested in what he said ghostly cases in September alone where the number of accused is over 2.72 lakh.
He remained the police about the filing of ghostly cases saying that all have to be accountable for these ghostly cases.
“The ruling party leaders are so afraid of the BNP, Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman that the wake up from sleep suddenly thinking about the BNP, Khaleda and Tarique Rahman,” he said.
He called upon the government to immediately accept the demands saying that otherwise tougher action programme would be launched.
He also called upon all political parties, organisations and individuals to forge a greater unity for the sake of democracy.
Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, who addressed the meeting as the main speaker, said there will be no election without Khaleda Zia who is serving five years in jail in graft case adding that they won’t allow anyone to hold the election without her.
Referring to different remarks of the ruling party leaders, he said being afraid of the BNP, they are making unbalanced comments.
He called upon the employees of the republic to work neutrally and stand beside the people and assured the ruling party leaders that they won’t do not follow the politics of vengeance.
The former minister called upon the party leaders to get prepared for greater movement saying that the release of Khaleda and the party demand won’t be materialised without forcing the government
Barrister Moudud Ahmed accused the government of hatching conspiracy to foil the next elections as they realized that there is no possibility to go to power through a fair election.
BNP leaders- Barrister Jamirudidn Sircar, Mirza Abbas, Dr Abdul Moin Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan, Abdullah Al Noman, Maj (Retd) Hafizuddin Ahmed, Selima Rahman, Barkatullah Bulu, Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, Dr AZm Zahid Hossain, Shamsuzzaman Dudu, Shawkat Mahmud and Syed Moazzme Hossain Alal, among others, also spoke on the occasion. – Staff Reporter