In an attempt to counter the barrage of cases filed against the BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, the party plans to implement a twofold strategy – legal defence and political movement on the streets.
However, the majority of senior BNP leaders have spoken in favour of observing the unfolding situation closely, before announcing any demonstrations or movements.
A total of 14 cases, along with the Zia Orphanage Trust and the Zia Charitable Trust Graft cases, are currently on trial at the special court at Bakshibazar in Dhaka. The BNP has protested the move, but the party wants to take its time to analyze the government’s intent.
In a meeting on Monday, leaders of BNP and allied parties made a firm decision not to participate in the 11th general elections without its chief Khaleda Zia.
“The true reason behind holding the trial of cases against Khaleda Zia at a special court is to harass her. More cases against the BNP chief are currently on trial, in an attempt to disrupt the party’s campaigning process ahead of the next general polls,” claimed a senior leader.
Addressing the issue, BNP Vice-Chairman Abdullah Al Noman said: “Case filed against our chief are politically motivated, and the issue will be dealt with in a political manner. Legal defence can also be a part of the political effort.
“The government has an ulterior motive to send the cases to a special court, and we will counter the move both legally and through political movement.”
When asked about any possible plans for political agitation, Noman said: “We will announce demonstrations eventually, but we intend to take our time and observe the situation closely.”
According to a number of sources within the BNP, the party high command believes that the government is plotting to keep Khaleda Zia away from the next general election through these trials.
The senior leadership plans to counter the move through legal defence and strong political movement on the streets.
Another Vice Chairman of the BNP Shamsuzzaman Dudu said: “The meetings and the rallies will continue. A conspiracy is underway to silence a popular political leader, and to send her to prison. We must reunite the people against this move.”
He added: “The situation will tell us about the type of movement BNP wants to engage in.”
Members of the 20-party alliance are also observing the situation. Some of the alliance leaders feel that before taking any action, the government’s stance on this issue must be understood first.
Some leaders however believe that the BNP must decide how to react on matters relating to Khaleda Zia.
“A legal defence must be mounted first. The situation will tell us what to do next. The trial procedures indicate that Khaleda Zia will get justice. If not, decision should be taken depending on the situation,” said Khelafat Majlish Amir Maulana Muhammad Ishaq while speaking on the issue.
On the other hand, insiders claim that some BNP leaders are confident that Khaleda Zia will be acquitted of the Zia Orphanage and the Zia Trust graft cases. However, they also believe the BNP chief can only be acquitted if the court delivers its verdicts free from political influence.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune