A day before a special court is set to deliver verdict in the graft case against her, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Wednesday raised doubt over getting justice in the case and said she is ready to face any consequence.
She, however, claimed that she will be acquitted if justice is done to her in the case, and urged people to carry out a peaceful movement in a democratic manner for forcing the government to hold a fair and credible election, even if she is jailed.
“The ruling party leaders have long been saying that I’ll have to suffer jail. As if the ruling party, not the judge, fixed the verdict… all are in doubt whether any court will dare ensure justice and insaf against the regime’s will,” Khaleda told a press conference.
She further said, “I’m ready to face any consequence. It’s useless to threaten me with jail or conviction. I won’t bow down and budge from the struggle aimed at establishing people’s rights and democracy.”
Khaleda arranged the press meet at her Gulshan office on the eve of the verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
On July 3, 2008, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the case with Ramna Police Station accusing Khaleda, her eldest son Tarique Rahman, and four others for misappropriating over Tk 2.10 crore that came as grants from a foreign bank for orphans.
Khaleda said nothing will happen to her if justice is ensured in the ‘false’ case. “If an unfair verdict is delivered to appease the government, it’ll remain as a stigmatised one in the country’s history. I want to proudly tell my countrymen that your Khaleda Zia didn’t do anything unfair. I didn’t indulge in any corruption.”
However, the BNP chief said the government wants to keep her away from politics, election and people using the court. “But, I think their desire for restoring a one-party rule and score in an empty field won’t be fulfilled.”
“There’s no justice, no insaf the country. There’s no security of people here. Even, women and children are being subjected to repression… the trial process has been turned into a mockery through various evil tactics, including politicisation and intimidation. People want to get rid of the situation. They’re looking at us,” she observed.
“I would like to tell people if they try to keep me isolated from you, believe me, I will be with you. Stay united and carry out a peaceful movement for restoring democracy, establishing rights and a pro-people government,” she said.
The BNP chief also urged people from all walks of life to forge a greater national unity. “There’re many people in Awami League who believe in democracy and people’s rights and think about future consequences. I also urge them and other political parties to create a national unity.”
She also urged all to remain alert as many traps may be set up many and plots may be hatched in the days to come. “Think twice before taking any step. This country belongs to all of us, not to any person or party. We want peace, not any violence and anarchy. We want a fair election. We still hope good senses will prevail upon the Awami League leadership.”
Khaleda also urged the government to arrange a fair and peaceful election through talks shunning the path of threats, intimidation and repressive acts.
Accusing the government of turning the entire country into a ‘jail’, she urged her arch rival Sheikh Hasina to come forward to make the country a peaceful one.
The BNP chief also slammed the government for what she said establishing a reign of terror across the country ahead of the verdict in her graft case. “The government has given an administrative order to stop people’s rights of movement, and their constitutional rights to hold any rally and register protest as it got more scared than us ahead of the verdict.”
She also came down hard on the ruling party for launching the election campaign a year before the election spending public funds.
The BNP chief also said the government has no accountability while it has destroyed all the institutions.
She alleged the government has put the administration and law enforcers against people through politicisation and other heinous moves. “Negative campaign and hatred towards the armed forces are being spread.