logo
POST TIME: 8 December, 2019 00:00 00 AM
AL watchful of BNP moves
Khaleda’s release in spotlight
ABU JAKIR, Dhaka

AL watchful of BNP moves

Ruling party Awami League (AL) remains watchful of the activities of its arch-rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) over the issue of the party’s jailed supremo Khaleda Zia’s release from jail. When asked, the AL leaders said they remain alert about the BNP activities as the latter may again indulge in creating anarchy in the country in the name of movement for the release of Khaleda, who has been in jail since February 8, 2018, after being convicted in corruption cases. But top brasses of the ruling party believe that the BNP and its allies would not be able to get its chief released from jail by launching any street movement. They should rather go for legal battle to free their leader, the leaders opined.

While talking to this correspondent, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader said that they were observing the activities of BNP leaders and activists over Khaleda’s release issue.

“If they try to create anarchy in the name of movement and start doing politics of arson and violence, a befitting reply will be given.”

When contacted, AL Joint General Secretary Abdur Rahman said that his party was not worried about BNP’s threat to wage a movement to force the government to release Khaleda, but they remained alert to BNP’s activities.

Meanwhile, BNP thinks that it is not possible to release their jailed leader Khaleda without waging a tougher movement, which may eventually force the government to release her and provide with proper treatment.

They think Khaleda is not getting bail due to the government's ‘direct interference’ into the court affairs.

The major opposition political party has already declared to stage a demonstration across the country today demanding immediate release of Khaleda from jail for better treatment.

Leaders and activists of the party will stage nationwide demonstrations in all upazila and district headquarters to press home their demand.

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the programme at a press conference at the party’s Nayapaltan central office in the capital yesterday afternoon.

Fakhrul on Thursday alleged that Khaleda's bail was obstructed according to the ‘direct interference of the government.’

“We have come to know from unofficial sources that the medical board’s report was finalised Wednesday night, but her bail was

obstructed with the government’s direct interference,” he said.

Meanwhile, the AL high command does not agree with the BNP’s stand that Khaleda should get bail on political consideration or humanitarian ground.

AL leaders think that Khaleda’s release is not political as she has been serving a jail sentence in a corruption case.

This is why, they observed, some quarters believe that the former PM will not be getting bail in near future.

Khaleda, who has been serving a 17-year prison sentence for corruption since February last year, is currently undergoing treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).

On April 1, she was shifted to the BSMMU from the Old Dhaka Central Jail with severe pain in the joints of her hands and legs, insomnia, weakness, and high sugar.

However, AL insiders said if the BNP chairperson agrees to be released on parole and go abroad for treatment, the government would only then consider her case, otherwise not.

Talking to this correspondent, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader said since BNP is a major political party, it can talk to the Prime Minister (PM) about its problems.

He also said Khaleda’s release is absolutely a legal issue and the government has no intervention here. “If Khaleda’s doctors tell the government that she should be taken abroad for better treatment, the government will help her.”

But the government cannot tell the court to release Khaleda on humanitarian grounds, added the AL general secretary, who is also the road transport and bridges minister. “Besides, a medical board was formed for her treatment. There is no similarity between the statements of BNP leaders and her (Khaleda) doctors over her health condition,” he said.

Speaking on the issue, AL President and PM Sheikh Hasina, at a Ganabhaban meeting on Wednesday, said BNP chief Khaleda is now in jail not in a political case, but in a corruption case for ‘misappropriating orphans’ money’.

She also pointed out that a caretaker government had filed the case.

The premier also wondered why some people are shedding tears over the treatment of a ‘corrupt person like Khaleda, who has killed several hundred people by carrying out arson attacks’.

During an ‘unprecedented chaos’ on Thursday, a six-member Appellate Division bench expressed embarrassment and left the courtroom after a three-hour chaos caused by pro-BNP lawyers over rescheduling of the bail hearing in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.

As Khaleda’s medical report was not submitted before it, the court fixed the new hearing date.

The lawyers became agitated and started protesting in the courtroom after the Supreme Court bench fixed December 12 to hear the petition seeking bail for incarcerated BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.

Earlier, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, while talking over the issue with this correspondent, told that Khaleda’s release depended on the court.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will decide whether she (Khaleda) would be freed on parole. I can’t say anything about it,” he added.

But recently the home minister told the media that the government would consider BNP’s request if Khaleda Zia submitted a prayer seeking hr release on parole.

After BNP lawmakers joined the parliament, the AL high command was supposed to change its decision on Khaleda’s release on political consideration, but that negotiation eventually failed somehow, the sources said. Talking to this correspondent, AL Office Secretary Dr Abdus Sobhan Golap, however, had admitted that a negotiation was going on.

“As far as I know, five BNP lawmakers have joined the parliament and all of them want Khaleda to get released. If they pray to the government seeking her release on humanitarian ground, the government may consider their prayer. But they are yet to do so,” he said.

Sources concerned said the imprisoned BNP chief will get bail if the BSMMU medical board gives a positive report stating that she should be transferred elsewhere for better treatment. When the medical board submits such a report to the High Court, the court can consider her bail.

However, many think that everything, including the doctors’ positive statement on Khaleda’s release, depends on the government’s political will.