18-party leaders weigh next course

Top leaders of the BNP-led 18-party alliance sat tonight (Sunday night) to work out the next course of action programmes to force the government to release its leaders and activists and pile pressure on it either to restore the caretaker government system or quit.The meeting started at BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office around 9pm.
Earlier, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a press briefing on Saturday said the alliance will announce the next course of action programmes after a meeting of the alliance leaders on Sunday night.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia convened the meeting of the opposition alliance following a meeting of her party’s senior leaders held on Thursday night.
The BNP top leaders at the meeting decided to enforce a fresh nationwide hartal on Tuesday with an ultimatum to call another 36-hour hartal from April 8 to press home their various demands, including the release of the opposition leaders and activists.
The meeting also decided that the BNP-led 18-party will hold a grand rally in the city on April 15.
Alliance chief Khaleda Zia will discuss the decisions of her party’s policymakers with the alliance leaders and finalise the next action programmes in consultation with them.
Meanwhile, Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, on Sunday announced to enforce a countrywide daylong hartal on Tuesday if its president Delwar Hossain is not released by Monday.
Earlier, the BNP-led 18-party alliance enforced 72 hours of hartal in two spells demanding the release of its leaders and activists arrested from BNP’s Nayaplatan central office on March 11.
Its second spell of 36-hour hartal ended at 6pm on Thursday.
Earlier, the opposition alliance enforced another 36-hour shutdown from 6am on March 18 as the government did not release the opposition leaders and activists by their March-14 deadline.
On March 11, police in a raid on BNP’s Nayapaltan central office arrested 157 of its leaders and workers, including acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
The law enforcers launched the drive in the BNP office after eight to ten crude bombs went off near the BNP central office while Fakhrul was addressing a rally.
Three of the arrested leaders—Mirza Fakhrul, Sadek Hossain Khoka and Altaf Hossain Chowdhury—were released the following day.
On March 20, two courts in Dhaka placed 154 leaders of the opposition alliance on an eight-day police remand in the two cases filed with the city’s Paltna Police Station.
Police on Sunday submitted a charge-sheet against 148 of them dropping the names of six BNP men in a case filed with Paltan Police Station under the Speedy Trial Act
A Dhaka court on Sunday accepted the charges against them in the case and fixed April 17 for charge framing against the accused. UNB

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