Bangladesh not to obey lordship of any country: Mirza Fakhrul

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir addresses a gathering of freedom fighters in front of the party’s Naya Paltan headquarters in Dhaka on 25 March, 2024Prothom Alo

Bangladesh will not obey the lordship of any country over it, remarked Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

“If the leaders of any country think they would rule over us, they must know that Bangladesh never accepted such authority. That was not accepted in the Mughal era, not in the British period, and not in the Pakistan period. This won’t happen now as well,” he said.

Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir was addressing a gathering of freedom fighters in front of the party’s Naya Paltan headquarters in the capital city in the afternoon.

Quoting the lyrics of a song by people’s artiste Fakir Alamgir, the BNP leader said, “We have bought Bangladesh at the price of blood. Bangladesh has not achieved independence at the mercy of any person.”

He urged the youths and students to challenge the status quo imbued with that spirit. “THe international community surely will observe this as they did in the past. We believe, none has the power to subjugate this country. This terrible ruling quarter, who are in power now through staging many dramas and using force, will have to go a day.”

The BNP secretary general urged all including the students and labourers and youths to take to the streets with courage. He asked to build the temperament so that people do not flee hearing a whistle of the police or the explosion of a sound grenade.

Mentioning the incarcerated former prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, Mirza Fakhrul said, “Look at Pakistan. Whenever we hear the name of Pakistan, we become agitated, think otherwise. Imran Khan has shown how the youths and women have to be mobilised to take to the streets.”

“They did not face less torture than us. They attacked the cantonment, took positions against the US and the army. No one could survive in Pakistan’s politics taking resort to this stand. Imran Khan has gone to jail, he has been sentenced to 34 years’ imprisonment. Over 2,000 of his leaders and activists have been arrested; the party of the leaders was changed forcefully; even the party symbol has been snatched. At that time he ordered, take part in elections and the youths participated in the election as independent candidates,” he added.

Speaking about torture of female students at universities, the BNP secretary general expressed his frustrations as students and women have not protested at the incidents. “What have you done about the incidents of harassment of female students by teachers at Jahangirnagar University and Jagannath University? You have not even lodged a single protest against this! Where is the Dhaka University of the past and its students who fought in the liberation war, waged the language movement and waged the mass upsurge in the 90’s?”

Mirza Fakhrul alleged that Awami League has destroyed the spirit of the liberation war, goals, aspirations and dreams. They have snatched everything including the aspirations for a democratic Bangladesh, electing people’s representatives through voting, living in a democratic environment, freedom of speaking and writing, right to dissent and above all the people’s ownership of the state.

“They have even destroyed the constitution. There are three paragraphs in this constitution now that you can never change. There is nothing but a person and a family there. They have brought back the system of holding elections under a one-party government instead of the unanimously accepted system of holding elections under a nonpartisan caretaker government. While doing this, they have destroyed all the democratic institutions in Bangladesh,” Mirza Fakhrul said in his speech.

A section of the people who joined the BNP programme at Naya Paltan, Dhaka on 25 March, 2024
Prothom Alo

Criticising the AL government, Fakhrul said they (AL) did not allow the opposition to join the parliamentary elections in 2014, then they artfully organised the voting in the previous night of the scheduled day of elections in 2018. This time in 2024, they staged an even better drama of election by organising competition among themselves as they asked their party leaders to contest the election as dummy candidates. The party that claims to be the opposition, actually traded seats in the election. Neither the people of Bangladesh, nor the international community accepted that election.

Mentioning BNP’s founder Ziaur Rahman as the proclaimer of independence, Mirza Fakhrul Islam in his speech stated that the people took part in the liberation war through his announcement.

Without mentioning anyone’s name, the BNP secretary general said, “Today is black night of 25 March. Awami League could decline this, but the party tried to negotiate with Pakistan until the evening of this day. When that failed, none of our top political leaders at that time stayed in the country; they took shelter in India. And, the main leader surrendered and went to Pakistan. Later, the country achieved independence as people took part in the war through the announcement of Ziaur Rahman.”

This was Mirza Fakhrul’s first public speech since his arrest on 29 October last year and staying in jail for three and a half months.

Jatiyatabadi Muktijoddha Dal organised the programme marking 26 March, the Independence and National Day, 2024.

Freedom fighter and BNP vice-chairman Hafiz Uddin Ahmed (Bir Bikrom) presided over the programme.

Addressing the event, Hafiz Uddin Ahmed said the common people of this country fought in the liberation war but Awami League wants to take the credit.

The war was fought for democracy but Awami League, in the first chance after taking power, annihilated that democracy and formed a one-party BAKSAL, he said.

Hafiz Uddin Ahmed also said, “There was no vote rigging in the Pakistan period. But the astounded people saw in 1973 how the vote was being rigged in the parliament election, how the candidates and ballot boxes were snatched. This suggests the Awami League, which has formed the incumbent government, did not have the spirit of democracy back then, and does not have that even in these days.”

The BNP vice-chairman further said nowadays a farce in the name of election takes place. The US and other developed countries did not acknowledge the election that took place on 7 January. Even the United Nations said that was not an election in terms of global standards. Since this government has come to power through rigging and illegal ways, this government cannot claim it as a legal government.

Hafiz urged all the people to join the movement that BNP would wage against the government.

Muktijoddha Dal general secretary Sadek Ahmd Khan moderated the programme that was inaugurated by BNP’s Independence Day celebration committee member secretary and the party’s senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.

The programme was held on the footpath in front of the party’s headquarters in Naya Paltan.

A banner hung behind the gathering read in Bangla and English “Boycott Indian Products”.

However, none of the speakers said anything about boycotting Indian products though they spoke profusely about hegemony of India.