After the “1/11 incident”, Koko was arrested and then he was sent abroad, in exile, implicating him in false cases, Fakhrul said. “The only reason behind it was that he was the son of Ziaur Rahman and Khaleda Zia.”
Fakhrul said Koko was an extraordinary sports organiser who played sports himself and was associated with various sports organisations.
“Arafat Rahman Koko was the main hero in the development of Bangladeshi cricket,” he said.
The BNP leader said Koko contributed to organising cricket, establishing cricket and taking its standards to international level.
“But we saw how he had to die in a pitiful condition and had to leave this world without proper treatment abroad,” he said.
Fakhrul recalled that Koko’s body was brought home from Malaysia when his mother Khaleda Zia was confined in her Gulshan office “amid a fierce anti-government movement.”
“But lakhs of people took to the streets on that day and participated in his janaza at the Baitul Mukarram Mosque… It has demonstrated how the country’s people have trust and confidence in the politics of Ziaur Rahman and Khaleda Zia,” he viewed.
Fakhrul said the Zia family is the symbol of Bangladesh's independence, sovereignty and democracy.
He prayed for the salvation of the departed soul of Arafat Rahman Koko on his death anniversary.
Stating that Koko was the “darling son” of Khaleda Zia, the BNP leader said she was devastated after losing him. “She is still under house arrest and many of our leaders and activists are imprisoned while our 15 leaders and activists have so far been killed in the current movement.”
He said the countrymen are now united to restore democracy through a tough struggle. “We believe that we’ll succeed and turn victorious in the ongoing movement and restore democracy by ensuring the fall of the current regime.”
BNP and its associate bodies have undertaken various programmes to mark the eighth death anniversary of Koko with due respect.
A Qurankhani was arranged on the premises of Koko’s grave in Banani at 8:00am.
Fakhrul along with some BNP leaders placed wreaths at his grave around 10:00am.
BNP also arranged a doa mahfil at its Naya Paltan central office at 12pm seeking eternal peace for Koko’s departed soul.
On 24 January 2015, Koko died of cardiac arrest at the age of 45 at a rented house in Malaysia.
His body was brought back home on 27 January and buried at Banani Graveyard.