After a Dhaka court on Thursday sentenced BNP chief Khaleda Zia to five years in prison in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, the BNP-led 20-party alliance has held a meeting to decide on its strategies and course of action.
The meeting was held at Khaleda’s Gulshan office in Dhaka on Sunday evening.
Emerging from the hour-long closed door meeting, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, who is also the coordinator of the alliance, told reporters that they had decided to undertake collective programs to protest the sentencing of Khaleda and demand her immediate release.
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Andaleeve Rahman Partho, president of Bangladesh Jatiya Party, a member party of the alliance, said they would announce their programs within two or so days.
He said the alliance condemned the sentence and called on its members to stay united and face any dangers together.
BNP acting Chairman Tarique Rahman, who has also been convicted in the same case, joined the meeting from London via phone.
He announced their plans to form a platform, likely to be dubbed as People’s Platform, to ensure Khaleda’s release and press home their demand for a fair and participatory election.
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Tarique also urged all leaders and activists of his party and members of the alliance to stick to the path outlined by Khaleda.
Before the verdict was delivered, BNP chief and former prime minister Khaleda Zia instructed her party leaders and activists not to resort to violence over the verdict’s outcome, no matter what the provocation.
Addressing a program earlier in the day, BNP Standing Committee member Nazrul Islam Khan came down heavily on the government, saying Khaleda was convicted in a “politically motivated false” case so she could not participate in the 11th parliamentary polls due in December this year.
Doctors’ Association Bangladesh, a platform of pro-BNP doctors, organized the event a Dhaka Reporters’ Unity.