The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is worried and anxious over as much as 4,331 cases filed against its 158 leaders including its chairperson Khaleda Zia.
The party fears that the party leaders might be made ineligible for the next general election by convicting them in the cases.
Talking to Prothom Alo, several top leaders alleged the government is going ahead with a plan to convict the party’s “key leaders” so that they cannot take part in the next elections.
The party has recently collected information about the cases filed against its leaders and workers across the country.
According to the party statistics, as of 2 August this year, as much as 21,680 cases were filed against 4,03,878 leaders and workers.
Party sources said another 141 cases were filed against BNP leaders and activists across the country till 7 October from 1 September.
Of them, 4,331 cases were filed against 158 leaders including party chairperson Khaleda Zia while the party’s 12 standing committee members are facing 288 cases.
The party statistics said a total of 17,885 party workers and leaders are now in jail across the country.
Talking to Prothom Alo, BNP spokesperson Asaduzzaman Ripon said the party has collected the information scrutinizing the documents of the cases.
Pabna BNP leader Salah Uddin Khan, also a former police official, coordinated the task of collecting information regarding the cases.
He said some 150 to 200 of the cases filed against the party’s central leaders were filed during the regime of military-backed caretaker government in 2007. The rest were filed later during the regimes of Awami League but most of them were filed in 2013, 2014 and in the current year.
When contacted, law minister Anisul Haque said cases were filed against them (BNP leaders and workers) across the country for the way they unleashed a reign of terror killing people with firebombing from 5 January to 5 April this year.
“Those who were involved in these incidents of violence and who gave the instructions will now be tried as per law.”
Scrutinising the cases, it is found that 86 cases were filed against party’s acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, 101 against party’s Dhaka city convening committee’s member secretary Habibunnabi Khan Sohel and the maximum of 130 cases were filed against BNP’s youth front Juba Dal president Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal and of them, charge sheet has already been framed in 78 of 130 cases.
Besides, BNP’s student wing Jatiyabadi Chhatra Dal president Rajib Ahsan is facing 88 cases and its organising secretary Ishaq Sarker is facing 122 cases.
On bail, Mirza Fakhrul went abroad for treatment. Rajib Ahsan is languishing in jail while Habibunnabi Khan Sohel and Ishaq are on the run.
Moazzem Hossain has recently been freed on bail.
“On an average, I am now appearing before three courts in every working day. The situation is so acute that lawyers have asked to shift my residence to the area in close proximity of the courts.
Two hundred and eighty eight cases against 12 standing committee members: The party’s highest policy making body, the National Standing Committee, has a total of 19 members.
The party’s standing committee member Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury was awarded with the death penalty for crimes against humanity in the War of Independence in 1971.
Twelve of the remaining 18 members of the national standing committee are facing 288 cases and charge sheets were issued in 97 of the cases.
Party officials said there are 19 cases pending against Khaleda Zia and charge sheets were given in nine of them while witness deposition is under way in Zia Orphanage and Zia Charitable Trust corruption cases.
Charge sheets were given in eleven of 31 cases filed against party’s senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman and in 24 of 86 cases against party’s acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
There are 43 cases against the party’s standing committee member Mirza Abbas, 30 against MK Anwar, 21 against Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, 12 against Tariqul Islam, 10 cases against ASM Hannan Shah, nine cases against Moudud Ahmed and six cases against Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain.
There are two contempt of court suits against standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan.
But no cases were filed against six standing committee members. They are RA Ghani, M Shamsul Islam, Sarwari Rahman, Jamiruddin Sircar, Abdul Moyeen Khan and retired Lieutenant Mahbubur Rahman. The first three are seriously unwell for a long time.
One hundred and twenty four cases against 12 advisers: The BNP chairperson has an advisory council of 35 members. Eight to 10 of them have remained active in political affairs.
The statistics showed that some 124 cases were filed against 12 advisers and the charge sheets were given in 31 cases.
Of them, 13 cases against Supreme Court Bar Association president Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, five against Joynal Abedin, three against AJ Mohammad Ali, 37 against Iqbal Hasan Mahmud, 15 against AZM Zahid Hossain, 12 against Abdul Awal Mintoo, 11 against Shamsuzzaman Dudu, eight against Shaukat Mahmud, eight against Shahjahan Omar, three against Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, seven against M Akbar Ali and two against Zahurul Islam.
One hundred cases against eight vice chairmen: There are 100 cases against eight vice chairmen and charge sheets were given in 43 of the cases.
Of them, 42 against Sadeque Hossain Khoka, 13 against Abdullah Al Noman, 11 against Selima Rahman, five against Shamser Mobin Chowdhury, seven against Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, 18 against Shah Moazzem Hossain and four cases against Hafiz Uddin Ahmed.
Two hundred and fifty four cases against seven joint secretaries general: Cases were filed against all of the party’s seven joint secretaries general and the number of cases is 254 and of them, charge sheets were framed in 113 cases.
Of them, there are 126 cases against Amanullah Aman and of them charge sheets were given in 58 cases. Charge sheets were given in 26 out of 51 cases against Barkatullah Bulu. Out of 35 cases against Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, charge sheets were given in 11.
Another joint secretary general Salahuddin Ahmed was charge-sheeted in five out of 17 cases against him.
Mizanur Rahman Minu has been charge-sheeted in seven out of 13 cases against him, Mohammad Shahjahan charge-sheeted in three out of seven cases and Mahbubuddin Khokan charge-sheeted in three out of five cases against him.
Amanullah Aman and Rizvi are now in jail while Salahuddin Ahmed is in Shillong of India.
52 cases were filed against BNP chairperson's special secretary Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas, 43 against press secretary Maruf Kamal Khan, and 10 against press wing official Shamsuddin Didar. Charge sheets of the 26 cases were also filed against the first two.
BNP’s joint-secretary Md. Shahjahn told Prothom Alo statistics and nature of the cases suggest that the government want to harass and suppress BNP and its leaders with cases. BNP would move forward with some strategies. After such repression, the party still want to an immediately and credible election and it would participate there.
Thirty eight cases against four city mayors: A total of 38 cases have been lodged so far against four city corporation mayors backed by BNP. Off those, charge sheets were placed in 19 cases. There were 13 cases against Rajshahi city corporation mayor Mosaddeque Hossain Bulbul, 11 against Gazipur city corporation mayor Abdul Mannan, nine against Sylhet city mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury, and five against Barisal city mayor Ahsan Habib Kamal. Mannan and Ariful are now in jail and Mosaddeque is on the run.
According to the party’s central office sources, BNP-backed 28 upazila chairmen were expelled by the local government ministry on charges of sabotage. Charge sheets were submitted against 18 of them.
Total of 651 cases against 19 central leaders: Top 19 leaders of BNP have been facing 651 cases, which include 31 against Zainul Abdin Farroque, 101 cases against Sultan Salauddin Tuku, 87 against Shahin Uddin Chowdhury, 17 against Nazim Uddin Alam, 10 against against Khairul Kabir Khokon. So far charge sheets were placed before court in 298 cases out of 651.
BNP chairperson’s lawyer Khandaker Mahbub Hossain termed the cases as “politically motivated”. After analysing cases against senior BNP leaders, he came up with the understanding that the government wants to complete trials of BNP leader and make them ineligible to contest in election.
Law minister Anisul Huq said that it is clear that they have run amok in three months this year. There is no relation between the cases and the election.