The BNP wants to wage a fresh movement to press home the demand for release of Khaleda Zia. Come February 7, she will complete one year in jail in connection with graft cases. Party leaders are discussing possible courses of action to wage a fresh movement for releasing the former premier. The party is likely to start a new phase of movement by staging demonstrations across the country on February 8 to mark the one-year imprisonment of Khaleda Zia.
Later, the BNP would carry out different course of political action. Highly placed sources, however, say that the BNP wants to carry out its movement peacefully in keeping with the democratic norms.
The Jatiya Oikyafront, where the BNP is a major partner, is also likely to bring out united programmes to press for the release of Khaleda Zia. This will be first street agitation of the BNP after the December 30 parliamentary election where its candidates faced a massive defeat.
Party leaders, however, continue to claim that they were comprehensively defeated due to "vote engineering.”
The leaders also consider launching a fresh movement to revamp the party’s rank and file as well as to create pressure on the government to release the party chairperson.
The BNP had started a peaceful movement for Kahleda Zia’s release after a special court sentenced to five years jail on February 8 last year. As part of the movement, the BNP had organised a number of street agitations, human chains, token hunger strikes and sit-in demonstration to press home the demand for the release of party’s ailing leader. Khaleda Zia’s jail term extended to 17 years in the meantime.
The High Court on October 29 doubled the five-year jail term in the Zia Orphanage Trust Corruption case after disposing of her appeal seeking acquittal in the case. On the other hand, a lower court sentenced her seven years in prison in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.
Later, the BNP decided to take part in December 30 elections as part of its movement. It joined the Jatiya Oikyafront to contest the polls. Standing committee member Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said they are discussing possible programme to press home their demand for the release of Khaleda Zia. “There have been discussions on fresh programmes for the release of the chairperson. However no programme has been finalised yet in this regard,” he added.
The elderly leader said the BNP spokesperson, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, would disclose the programme to the media after the party takes a decision.
BNP vice-chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu said the party is likely to take to the streets in demand of the release of the former premier.
He, however, said that the movement for Khaleda’s release would be carried out in phases to force the government to release her. He criticised the government for sending her to jail. He claimed that Khaleda had been implicated in false cases and sent to jail without any trace of justice.