POST TIME: 10 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
No nat’l election without Khaleda, warns BNP
Party holds 7-hour hunger strike at Mohanagar Natya Mancha in capital
Staff Reporter

No nat’l election without Khaleda, warns BNP

Activists of BNP and its associate organisations hold a token hunger strike at Mahanagar Natya Mancha at Gulistan of the capital yesterday to protest a stay order on BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s bail and to demand her release and proper treatment. Independent Photo

BNP yesterday warned it would not allow the next general election to be held if party chairperson Khaleda Zia was debarred from participation by keeping her in prison. The party also demanded reconstitution of the Election Commission, dissolution of parliament, formation of a neutral government and army deployment. “Elections should be held in the country only if there is a congenial atmosphere,” BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

Alamgir was speaking at the party’s seven-hour-long hunger strike programme at Dhaka Mohanagar Natya Mancha. Similar strikes to demand Khaleda’s unconditional release were held at the city and district levels in the country. In Dhaka, the hunger strike began at 9 am and continued till 4:10 pm, when Ganoshasthya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury offered fruit juice to Alamgir.

Thousands of leaders and activists of BNP, its frontal and associate organisations took part in the hunger strike. The leaders appealed to the gathering not to take part in the election if Khaleda was debarred from contesting.

Alamgir said the statements of the speakers had made it clear that there would be no election in the country if Khaleda was kept in prison.

The BNP secretary general also accused the government of not providing proper treatment to Khaleda or the minimum facilities that she deserved.

“The present government is plotting to keep our leader out of politics. The ultimate objective is to keep the BNP away from election and politics,” he said.

Alamgir called upon all political leaders and professionals to unite “for the emancipation of the country and its 16 crore people, restoration of democracy and oust the autocratic government”.

BNP standing committee member Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain alleged that the government was plotting to hold another farcical election like the January 5, 2014 polls by keeping Khaleda, BNP and the 20-party alliance out of the

election process. He said there was no alternative to a movement to free the country from the “autocratic regime”.

Barrister Moudud Ahmed said Khaleda’s release was being delayed as the lower courts were being run under the government instructions.

He called upon party leaders and activists to launch a movement, saying that it would be the only alternative left if Khaleda’s release could not be secured through the legal process. “This time, make preparations for a movement. A programme will be given and it should be implemented,” he added.

Mirza Abbas said “autocrat” Ershad too was ashamed of the autocratic actions of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

BNP leaders Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, Abdullah Al NOman, Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, Selima Rahman, Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf, DR AZM Zahid Hossain, Amanullah Aman, Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal and others also addressed the hunger strike.

Jamaat leader Prof Mojibur Rahman, Jatiya Party (Kazi Zafar) leader Mostafa Jamal Haider, LDP leader REdwan Ahmed, Khelafat Majlish leader Maulana Mojibur Rahman, Islami Oikya Jote leader Maulana Abdul Karim, NPP leader Fariduzzaman Farhar, Labour Party leader Mostafizur Rahman Iran, Jagpa leader Khandaker Lutfor Rahman, DL leader Saifuddin Moni, Sammayabadi Dal leader Sayed Ahmed, Peoples League leader Syed Mahbub Hossain, Mahmudur Rahman Manna of Nagorik Oikya, Prof Emajuddin Ahmed, Prof Akhter Hossain Khan and BFUJ president Ruhul Amin Gazi expressed support for the BNP programme.

Earlier on February 14, BNP had observed a hunger strike in front of the National Press Club. The strike was staged after a special judge court convicted Khaleda in a graft case and sentenced to five years of imprisonment on February 8.