BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has threatened to reconsider the party’s decision to contest the upcoming general election if the government continues to arrest the BNP leaders and activists. “So far there is no proper environment for an election. They are arresting our leaders and activists. We have repeated our demands. We will reconsider our decision to contest the election if this continues,” he said after the BNP began the sale of its nomination forms at its Naya Paltan office on Monday morning.
The BNP has started its sale of nomination papers for the 11th parliamentary election by allocating nomination forms for three seats to BNP chief Khaleda Zia.
The Jatiya Oikya Front, the opposition alliance that includes the BNP, said they would participate in the upcoming polls in a press briefing on Sunday despite their continued protests to press for a seven-point list of demands. The alliance leaders said they would contest the election as part of their movement.
“Were contesting the election in the greater interests of the country based on our seven-point list of demands, which includes the release of Begum Khaleda Zia,” said Mirza Fakhrul as he bought a nomination form for the Feni-1 seat on behalf of Khaleda Zia.
“Were contesting the election to end autocratic rule and restore democracy. Were participating to demand the release of thousands of our leaders and activists.”
The seven-point demand by the Oikya Front alliance includes the release of all political prisoners, including Khaleda Zia. The senior leaders of the BNP have alleged that the government is arresting their leaders and activists in fake cases all over the country, despite assurances from the AL chief Sheikh Hasina to meet their demand during the dialogue prior to the announcement of election schedule.
“We have agreed to contest the elections amidst a hostile environment. We take this election as part of our movement, a part of our struggle to release Khaleda Zia,” said Mirza Abbas as he bought a Bogura-7 nomination form for Khaleda Zia.
The BNP chief is currently in jail over two corruption cases. It has not been confirmed whether she will be allowed to contest the election.