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BNP stands its ground over JS polls
Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party sticks to its demand for release of its imprisoned chairperson Khaleda Zia and resignation of the government before announcement of the 11th parliament poll schedule as it pledges justice-based welfare state if voted to power.
Rolling out a seven-point charter of demands for a free and fair election, the party at a rally in the capital on Sunday also declared its action plan to press for the demands.
It will hold rallies in district headquarters and submit memorandum to deputy commissioners on October
3 and hold rallies in metropolitan cities and submit memorandum to divisional commissioners on October 4.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir from the public meeting at Suhrawardy Udyan announced the demands and 12-point objective.
If voted to power, BNP would establish a justice-based welfare state through establishing good governance in all spheres of the state, he told the big gathering.
Thousands of leaders and activists from Dhaka city and different districts including Gazipur, Tangail, Narsingdi, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Madaripur, Cumilla, Chandpur, and Jashore poured into the venue braving sweltering heat and lack of transport which was allegedly created to make it difficult for the party supporters to join the rally.
Khaleda zia, now in jail, was made chief guest at the rally for whom a chair was kept on the stage.
The demands, that the party says must be met before announcement of the schedule of 11th parliamentary polls, are release of Khaleda Zia, withdrawal of all ‘false’ cases against her, withdrawal of ‘false’ cases against all political prisoners including BNP acting vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, dissolution of parliament, resignation of the government and establishing poll-time neutral government through talks with all political parties, deployment of armed forces with magistracy in each polling center and not using EVM in the election.
Khaleda was sentenced to five years in jail in a graft case by a special Dhaka judge’s court on February 8
The party also demands deployment of local and international observers for ensuring transparency in election and not to impose any kind of rules and regulations on them in the process of fair polls observation.
Reconstitution of Election Commission is also what the party considered essential for a fair election.
It also presses for release of all imprisoned leaders and activists of all opposition political parties.
Fakhrul, who presided over the rally, said they would gradually take forward the movement, saying that they would force the government to release Khaleda, bring back Tarique and release the party’s leaders and activists.
The secretary general announced the 12-point goal: forming a justice-based welfare state through establishing good governance in all spheres of the state, establishing rule of law in democratic system to ensure neutrality in state institution instead of trend of politicisation, establishing balance in state power, appointment of judges in transparent recruitment process and ensuring independence and power of judiciary, making armed forces more modern, strong and functional, ensuring freedom of mass media, making Anti-Corruption Commission free from political influence, ensuring security of life and property of all citizens and establishing national consensus for ending politics of vendetta.
Among the goals, he said, were not to patronise any kind of terrorism and allow any extremist group to use the land of Bangladesh, improving the living standard of low income people, universal health service, unemployment allowance for educated unemployed and free education up to graduate level.
Though the rally was scheduled to be held at 2:00pm, thousands of leaders and activists began to throng the venue since 11:00am.
They, wearing colourful caps, T-shirts, tying ribbons round their heads and carrying badges, festoons, posters and banners joined the rally in small processions.
They chanted anti-government slogans.
The leaders and activists told CNC that they fearing police harassment came to the venue in small groups.
As the rally was in progress, the crowd of leaders and activists spread towards the roads and adjacent areas from Shahbagh and Matshya Bhaban.
Severe traffic jam occurred in the area and about 1:45pm, the roads of surrounding areas came to a standstill and police were seen to try to make way for transports.
At about 3:15pm, police picked up one person chasing a group of BNP activists at Matshya Bhaban intersection when they tried to stop the vehicles there defying the police efforts for smooth traffic movement.
Meanwhile, police at Segunbagicha picked up at least 10 participants in the rally. The on-duty policemen, however, declined to say why they were picked up.
Fakhrul said all concerned must form a national unity to protect democracy by ousting the Awami League-led government, which he alleged was trying to establish one-party rule.
BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said that if BNP was voted to power, it would scrap within a week the controversial digital security bill.
Addressing the rally as the main speaker, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain asked the public servants not to abide by the orders of the ruling Awami League.
Mirza Abbas, also a standing committee member, said BNP must carry on the anti-government movement alone if there was no national unity against the ruling Awami League.
Leaders and activists of BNP and its front and associate organisations including Jamiruddin Sircar, Abdul Moyeen Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan, Abdullah Al Noman, Selima Rahman, Hafizuddin Ahmed, Shamsuzzman Dudu, AZM Zahid Hossain, Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, Zainul Abedin, Amanullah Aman, Abul Khaer Bhuiyan, Fazlur Rahman, Habibur Rahman Habib, Ataur Rahman Dhali, Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, Mahbub Uddin Khokon, Khairul Kabir Khokon, Fazlur Hoque Milon, Syed Emran Saleh Prince, Kazi Abul Bashar, Munshi Bazlul Basit Anju, Saiful Alam Nirob, Afroza Abbas, Shafiul Bari Babu and Razib Ahsan addressed the rally conducted by publicity secretary Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annie.