Khaleda’s 48-hr ultimatum to accept demand

Leader of the Opposition Begum Khaleda Zia on Saturday gave the government a 48-hour ultimatum to clearly announce that the next general election will be held under a non-party administration or face tougher programmes.“As there’s a scheduled programme of Hefajat-e-Islam tomorrow, we’re giving the government 48 hours instead of 24 hours to declare about the restoration the non-party and neutral caretaker government. If you (government) don’t do this by the time, we’ll announce such a programme when you’ll either step down or flee the country,” she said.
The BNP chief came up with remarks while addressing a mammoth rally of the BNP-led 18-party alliance at the city’s Shapla Chattar.
She also invited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for having a cup of tea in her residence and to discuss the framework of the non-party caretaker government.
Mentioning that everyone has the democratic rights to hold a rally, Khaleda hoped that the government would not hinder the Dhaka Siege programme of Hefajat-e-Islam to be held on Sunday.
Khaleda urged the government to remove Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir from the cabinet. “Sit with the opposition on how to take the country forward by removing madcap ministers from the cabinet.”
She also lambasted the government for what she said mishandling the rescue operation at the Rana Plaza tragedy site, causing huge casualties.
“The government has failed to save lives. Had the government been able to begin the rescue operation in time, many lives could have been saved. Though there were offers from abroad to help expedite the rescue operation, the government did not avail of that,” she said.
The BNP chief came up with the allegations while addressing a mammoth rally of the BNP-led 18-party alliance at the city’s Shapla Chattar.
Khaleda further said, “Local people came forward spontaneously during the Rana Plaza rescue operation and saved many lives. But the government did not give proper information about the causalities in the country’s biggest-ever human tragedy in the garment sector.”
Khaleda came down hard on the government for not observing mourning day in honour of those killed in the tragic incident. “The government only delivered lip service. On one hand, they declared the national mourning day and kept everything operational, including the Jatiya Sangsad, on the other.”
“The government observes public holidays on the birth and death anniversaries of a particular person. But why a holiday was not declared during the morning day marking the Savar tragedy. The government must answer this,” she told the rally.
Khaleda observed that the word ‘humanity’ does not suit the Awami League. “The party that kills people brutally, the word humanity doesn’t suit them. You made Chowdhury Alam disappeared. “The word humanity doesn’t suit the Prime Minister who ordered to kill people with sticks and gunpowder.”
The former premier held Awami League leaders responsible for the recent Ramu incident. “You talk about secularism. Awami League men grabbed the building of minority community just after the independence. The Awami League men were involved in the Ramu incident. But the police didn’t arrest them as they belong to the ruling party.”
Khaleda criticised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the offer to the opposition to withdraw its programme and donate money for the Savar victims.
“We don’t hire people to join our rallies…people spontaneously join our programmes. It’s you who hire people for your programmes. Spend the money you have embezzled from Hall-mark, Destiny, the share market, Padma Bridge project for the Savar victims,” she added.
Earlier, Khaleda Zia arrived at the rally venue around 3.50pm amid roaring slogans and clapping by the alliance leaders and activists.
The rally began with recitation from the Holy Quran around 2:05pm with BNP’s Dhaka city unit convener Sadeque Hossain Khoka in the chair.
A special munajat was also offered seeking salvation of the departed souls of those killed in the Savar tragedy and early recovery of those injured in the incident.
The rally spilled over on to RK Mission Road, Dainik Bangla Crossing, Arambagh and Dilkusha areas and nearby roads with the opposition activists chanting slogans all around against the government and in favour of restoration of the caretaker government.
BNP Standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Barrister Moudud Ahmed, ASM Hannan Shah, MK Anwar, Abdul Moyeen Khan, Jamiruddin Sircar, acting Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Mokbul Ahmed, LDP president Oli Ahmed, BJP chairman Andalib Rahman Partha, Kalyan Party chairman Maj Gen (Retd) Mohammad Ibrahim, Jagpa president Shafiul Alam Prodhan, Khelafat Majlish chairman Maulana Ishak, Islami Oilya Jote president Abdul Latif Nejami and Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam secretary general Mufi Mohammad Wakkas, among others, addressed the rally.
On April 27, the alliance announced the programme to register its protest against the Savar tragedy and press home their various demands, including restoration of the caretaker government system. UNB

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