BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has warned that leaders who betray the party will neither be given any position in the party nor be forgiven.
“Those who maintain [secret] contacts with the government and betray the BNP can easily be identified, and they will not be forgiven this time,” UNB quoted her as saying.
The former prime minister made these remarks while addressing the inaugural session of the party’s national executive committee’s meeting at Hotel Le Méridien in Dhaka on Saturday.
She called the meeting to issue fresh directives to party members about the BNP’s next course of action given the upcoming elections, as she is awaiting a verdict in a graft case that is scheduled to be delivered on February 8.
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Urging members to remain united under all circumstances, the BNP chief said: “There will be various plots and repressive acts against you. They will try to harass you in every way, but don’t be afraid.”
In 2007, BNP expelled its then secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and some other senior leaders for siding with “reformists” during the quasi-military regime of Fakhruddin Ahmed.
Directives for party members
In her speech, Khaleda urged leaders and activists of her party to be courageous in registering their protest against any type of injustice and put up resistance against any injudicious move.
“I would like to say I am always with you and will be with you wherever I stay. Let’s face any type of upcoming danger together…We’ll work together in our good days, too.”
She instructed leaders and activists of the BNP and its associate bodies and allies to carry out their protest programs in a peaceful and democratic manner.
Khaleda promised to recognize the sacrifices and efforts of those who would remain with the party and sincerely work for it during its bad days.
‘Lower courts under grip of govt’
The BNP chairperson alleged that lower courts in the country are now under the grip of the government. “Lower courts do not have the power to deliver proper judgments.”
She claimed that the Supreme Court said lower courts are under the grasp of the government, and they cannot work independently.
“We’ve seen the consequences of delivering proper judgments. A lower court judge had to leave the country for delivering the right verdict in a graft case against Tarique Rahman,” she said.
‘AL scared of polls’
Alleging that the current Awami League-led government amended the constitution to forcibly stay in power, Khaleda said the ruling party was trying to keep the BNP out of the next parliamentary polls by convicting her in a “false” case.
She further said: “The Awami League-led government is holding this trial…to keep me and the BNP out of the next polls, as the party is scared of facing inclusive elections.
“We have no fear, but they [the Awami League] are scared as the Boat [the ruling party’s electoral symbol] has already sunk. As per the prime minister’s announcement, the next polls will be held in December. If so, why have they started their electoral campaigns so early? They’ve no confidence in themselves.”
She also placed six conditions for contesting the polls.
‘Govt trying to stop freethinkers’ voices’
Turning to the recently approved draft Digital Security Act 2018, Khaleda alleged that by enacting such acts one after another, the government is trying to silence the voices of journalists and freethinkers who voice against state terrorism, murders, and disappearances.
She also said the country had become a safe haven for killers and kidnappers.
Section 32 of the act allows a 14-year jail term and a maximum fine of Tk20 lakh for those who are caught secretly recording information inside government, semi-government, or autonomous organizations’ offices.
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BNP Senior Vice-Chairman and Khaleda’s son Tarique Rahman also addressed the meeting via video conference from London while Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir greeted the delegates and shared organizational reports at the event.
A condolence motion was adopted for eminent personalities and party activists who have died recently. Leaders and activists of the party observed a minute’s silence to show respect to them.
In the concluding session, a closed-door meeting was held between Khaleda and the party’s top leaders.
Over 450 leaders, including members of party’s Standing Committee and National Executive Committee attended the meeting.