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8 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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‘I didn’t commit any corruption’

Khaleda doubts court courage to go against rulers
Staff Reporter
‘I didn’t commit any corruption’

On the eve of the verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday maintained that she was not involved in any kind of corruption.

If justice was indeed done in the “false and fabricated” case, she would be acquitted of all charges, she said expressing her doubt as to whether any court would have the courage to ensure justice against “the will of the rulers”.

“Your (people’s) Khaleda Zia did not do any wrong. I did not commit any corruption… I will face nothing (no punishment) if justice is done in the false case. Insha Allah (Allah willing), I will be acquitted,” she said confidently at a mammoth press conference arranged at her Gulshan political office on the eve of the verdict.

Khaleda also said if the verdict is written to please the ruling party, it would be a shame. “The people of Bangladesh do not, and will not, forgive the offenders,” she asserted.

The former premier accused the government of hatching a plan to keep her away from the election and the people.

Khaleda said she is ready to face any situation, but would not bow down to anyone or backtrack from the demand of establishing the rights of people and democracy.

“I am ready for any situation. No one will benefit by intimidating me with a jail sentence. I will not bow down to anyone. I will not go back from the demand of establishing the rights of the people and democracy,” she added.

She claimed that she was never and in no way involved with the Zia Orphanage Trust and alleged that she has been implicated in the case with forged documents. No money of the trust has been spent; all the money is in the bank account and the amount has risen to thrice the original amount with the interest, she claimed.

She said if there is minimal rule of law and independence of the judiciary in the country, a case should be filed against those who filed the “false case” and the masterminds should be punished.

The BNP chief alleged that the court is being used to keep her away from the political arena, the election, and the people. “But I think it would not fulfil their (Awami League’s) intention of imposing a one-party rule and scoring an empty-net goal,” she added.

Referring to losing her relatives, including her younger son Arafat Rahman Koko, the former premier said the countrymen are her relatives. “The countrymen are my relatives. Allah is my only hope,” she added.

Khaleda called upon the countrymen to unite and carry out a peaceful and democratic movement for the restoration of democracy and people’s rights and to hold a fair election.

“If there is a move to isolate me from you (people), trust me, I am with you. You will unite and carry out a peaceful and democratic movement for the sake of democracy, to establish rights, a fair election, and a people’s government,” she said.

She also called upon students and common people to come forward, along with each political party, including the 20-Party Alliance, and people from every profession to forge greater national unity for the restoration of democracy and to protect the country’s independence and sovereignty.

The BNP chief also sounded a note of caution, saying that there would be many traps and conspiracies. She called upon everyone to be alert and work cautiously.

She hoped that good sense would prevail among the leadership of the ruling Awami League. She reminded everyone that the country was for all and not for any individual party.

 “We do not want any violence, conflict, or anarchy. We want peace, and a fair election,” she said.

The BNP leader called upon the government to shun the path of threats and repression and hold a fair election following the path of peace and talks. “Election is not about evicting someone from power or sending someone to power. It is meant to run the state with the people’s representatives with their consensus,” she said.

In her 35-munite speech, Khaleda criticised the government for its “misdeeds”, saying that it has been practising corruption in the name of development projects. She also said that had there been a fair election in 2014, the BNP would have participated in it and been running the country now.  Khaleda alleged that the government wants to hold another farcical election to stay in power.

Referring to the constant refrain from the ruling party that she would be landed in prison, Khaleda expressed her doubt as to whether any court would have the courage to ensure justice against “the will of the rulers”. She accused the ruling party of unleashing a reign of terror across the country ahead of the verdict.

Khaleda alleged that the ruling party is more worried about the verdict. The government has snatched the right of movement of the people via administrative directives, she said.

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Jamirudidn Sircar, Mirza Abbas, Lt Gen. (Retd) Mahbubur Rahman, Nazrul Islam Khan, and Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, and vice-chairman Khandaker Mahbub Hossain were present at the press conference.

Police cordoned off Road 86—the one leading to Khaleda’s office—and stopped the movement of vehicles and people, except for journalists and senior party leaders, during the press conference. No television channel was allowed to broadcast Khaleda’s speech live from the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office.

A special court is scheduled to deliver its judgement in the Zia Orphanage Trust case today against Khaleda, senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, and four others.

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Verdict on Khaleda today A special court in Dhaka will deliver its verdict in the much-talked- about Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, in which BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, her son Tarique Rahman and four others are accused. On…

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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