BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Thursday said the verdict in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case sentencing Khaleda Zia to five years’ imprisonment will deepen the country’s political crisis further.
“The current immoral government has convicted the country’s most popular leader, Khaleda Zia, in a false case making fake documents to keep her away from politics and the next general election. The country’s people have turned it down,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference at the party’s Nayapaltan central office, the BNP leader further said, “The verdict, we think, will deepen further the country’s existing political crisis. People will lose their confidence in the judiciary following such a verdict.”
Amid heightening tensions and various speculations, a special court here convicted the former prime minister and sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the much-talked-about Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
Five other accused in the case, including her son and BNP senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment each. The court also fined the five accused Tk. 2.10 crore each.
Fakhrul demanded the government immediately release Khaleda.
He alleged that the government has created a war-like situation across the country over the last three days centring the verdict. “The government itself has created an unstable situation, and it’s now indulging in terrorism using the state machinery.”
The BNP leader said their party followers spontaneously escorted Khaleda’s motorcade on her way to the special court, but the ruling party men attacked them without any provocation.
He said the ruling party ‘cadres’ took positions at different points in the city and attacked Khaleda’s motorcade with the help of police.
Fakhrul also announced that BNP leaders and activists will stage countrywide demonstrations on Friday and Saturday to register their protests against the verdict.
He said their party chief gave them clear directives on Wednesday not to go for any imprudent and violent action programme. “She repeatedly asked us to register our protest in a peaceful manner.”
Asked who will lead their party now, Fakhrul said, “Our party will be run as per our party constitution.”
However, BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan said their current senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman will become the party’s acting chairman as per the constitution.
BNP vice chairman Hafizuddin Ahmed said Tarique in coordination with party standing committee members will run the party in absence of Khaleda.