Closing paths to fair election, AL lets loose reign of terror: Khaleda

Bnp Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia on Friday said that the Awami League and its leader Sheikh Hasina posed the main crisis in the country as they by their one-sided decision stopped all paths to free and fair election after passing the 15th Amendment of the Constitution. The party was now autocratically clinging on the power. The 20-Party movement against this would continue, she said.
Addressing a press conference at her besieged party office in Gulshan in the Capital Khaleda said that in the name of operation of joint forces the government has created a reign of terror in the country. After snatching the people’s right to vote it was now conspiring to make its power permanent.Leaders of the 20-Party Alliance were present at the press conference she addressed after a gap of 53 days, two days after the disappearance of Bnp’s joint secretary general Salahuddin Ahmed who used to announce the party programmes from an undisclosed location since early February when another joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi was picked up and arrested from a similar hideout from where he did announce the party programmes for a month.
The three times former prime minister said that democracy has been exiled from the country through the 05 January ‘farcical election’. The government had promised to call fresh election by dissolving Parliament as it was called a ritual one, but subsequently the promise was not kept.
Khaleda said as a party believing in democratic give and take, her party and alliance had dropped movement after the 05 January 2014 election because of the promise. But ‘we soon realised that it was a mistake’ as the government created a dangerous situation through extrajudicial killings, abduction, enforced disappearance and killing. The entire country faced a spell of killings and torture. She said even then her party waited for one year as they believed in democratic give and take. But on every occasion they took the course of conflict, the alleged.
The press conference was continuing when this report was filed.

Khaleda Zia yesterday said that the 20-party alliance would continue its “peaceful movement” until it reaches to a logical conclusion.
“Since the ruling party did not take any initiative to bring back normalcy and deteriorated the situation through their provocative behaviour, the peaceful movement will continue until it reaches a logical conclusion,” she said at a crowded press conference at her Gulshan office in the city.
The former premier met press after 53 days of the countrywide blockade programme, which began on January 6 leaving at least 120 persons killed in political violence.
Khaleda Zia condemned the killing of innocent people including children by burning them with petrol bombs and demanded exemplary punishment for the perpetrators after carrying out proper investigation.
Rejecting the allegation against the 20-party alliance of killing people through petrol bombs attack, she said the ruling party is carrying out propaganda against them.
“People are with us. We cannot make people as the target of attack…Question does not arise of our involvement in such activities from where the ruling party could derive benefits,” she added.
She said the key to resolving the crisis lies with ruling party and they can open the door of reaching expected national unity by resolving he crisis.
We hoped that we would be able to celebrate the forthcoming National Independence Day getting free of the crisis…Good sense will prevail among the rulers and they will come to the path of consensus,” she added.
In her written statement Khaleda said the country is passing through a deep crisis which she termed as political and constitutional.
“The government has pushed the nation towards an extreme uncertainty in a bid to hang on to power after it came to power through manipulations,” she alleged.
Khaleda alleged the 15th amendment to the constituted has closed all the ways to peaceful, democratic and normal transition of power leaving no scope for holding a free, fair and neutral election. “The roots of the crisis lie there,” she added.
She mentioned that there was an opportunity to amend the visible loopholes in the caretaker government system through a consensus but the ruling Awami League cancelled the system without arriving at a consensus.
Terming the January election lopsided one where 153 out of 300 lawmakers were elected unopposed, she said the unaccountable government has no moral rights, base and jurisdiction to run the country.
The BNP chairperson accused Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of flouting her promise to hold a fresh election by dissolving the present Parliament if they could arrive at a consensus on an election time government.
She said it was a mistake to suspend their movement after January 5 election believing Sheikh Hasina’s stand to hold a fresh election the result was that they unleashed a reign of terror in the name carrying out drives by joint forces.
Despite taking away the rights to do normal politics they have waited for a year and called the government repeatedly for dialogue to remove the political impasse but they have chosen the path of violence and clashes.
“We put forward seven pointy proposals as the basis of dialogue but they rejected it immediately. In such circumstance, there was no way left for us to restore rights of the people including the franchise. So we have been forced to announce programme for movement,” she said.
Referring to the sufferings and damages of the people during the movement, she they understand it and all are aware about it but the ruling party has come top no sense.
Khaleda urged all to take on the this temporary phase of suffering in their greater interest and adding that the movement would be successful soon if everyone take part in it with courage.
Demanding immediate release of BNP joint secretary general Salahuddin Ahmed who is has been missing since Tuesday night, she said the consequence would not be good if the BNP leader is not released.
Expressing her sympathy to the families of those who were killed, injured or poured in jail and assured them with the change of time she would stand beside them.
The BNP chief accused the government of resorting to a policy of vengeance to resist their democratic movement which has undermined the national unity and pushed the country on the edge.
She put forward a three point proposals to overcome the present crisis. The proposals include the release of all political prisoners, ending extra judicial killing, abduction, and killing, withdrawal of all false cases filed against opposition leaders and activists.
The other proposals are withdrawal of all restrictions on all political activities including holding meetings and rallies and arranging a dialogue for an inclusive poll under government acceptable to all.
Khaleda made it clear that their movement not either against any individual or any party but it was for ideals. The movement is not for capturing power but it is to build up democratic and self dependent Bangladesh
She asked political leaders, who are still inactive to become active and take to the streets to carry forward the movement. She also called upon all irrespective of caste and creed to join the movement.
Khaleda also accused the ruling AL of spreading canards against the alliance to confuse the people that their movement was to prevent trials of Sheikh Mujib killing and war criminals.
BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan, BNP vice chairperson Selima Rahman, BNP chairperson’s adviser Abdul Quaiyum, press secretary Maruf Kamal Khan Sohel, among others, were present on the occasion. – Staff Reporter