AL govt plans to convict, jail popular BNP leaders before next polls: Fakhrul

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam is speaking at a press conference at BNP chairperson's Gulshan office on Wednesday.Photo: BNP courtesy

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday alleged that the government has taken a master plan to make their party’s popular leaders ineligible for the next polls by convicting and jailing them in ‘false’ cases.

As part of that plan, he said three-time ex-BNP MP Habibul Islam Habib was convicted by Satkhira court in cases filed 21 years back while the trial process in many cases against the opposition leaders is being expedited.

“This illegitimate government has very systematically undertaken a master plan to create a leadership crisis in BNP before the upcoming elections. This plan includes arresting and sentencing BNP's popular leaders and former MPs on false charges and they have started this process", he said.

Speaking at a press conference at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office, Fakhrul said the government has already started executing the plan.

"Sentencing Habibul Islam Habib is part of the government's that blueprint. You will see very soon that many top leaders of BNP and opposition parties will be punished in such false cases. We’re observing that the cases (against our many leaders) are being disposed of very quickly."

Earlier on Tuesday, a Satkhira court sentenced four people, including former MP and BNP leader Habibul Islam Habib, to life term imprisonment and 44 others to 7 years in jail  in two separate cases filed over the attack on then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina's motorcade in Satkhira in 2002

Stating that Habibul Islam Habib is a very popular leader in his local constituency, Fakhrul said convicting such a political leader in false cases is conspiratorial, vengeful, and completely politically motivated.

“This punishment is a total travesty of justice. We condemn and protest against it.”

He questioned how the court accepted the evidence and seizure list that was collected 12 years after the attack on Sheikh Hasina's convoy in Satkhira's Kalaroa upazila in 2001.

The BNP leader warned that the government will not be able to suppress people’s justified movement by arresting, convicting, and repressing the opposition leaders.

“The people of Bangladesh have taken an oath that they’ll no longer accept such an authoritarian and fascist regime in this country. People will restore democracy through the movement,” he observed.

Fakhrul said their party standing committee at its meeting on Monday strongly criticized the government for the growing fire incidents in the different markets.

He said the BNP policymakers denounced the government’s efforts to implicate BNP in the fire incidents.

Fakhrul said their meeting urged the government to carry out an impartial investigation into the market fire incidents instead of trying to shift the blame onto others.

Replying to a question, he said Awami League is the master and initiator of arson violence in Bangladesh.

“We (BNP) have never had any involvement in arson violence. This terrorism is in their (Awami League) genes. I say one thing there are two things, terrorism and one is corruption, in their (AL’s) body chemistry,” Fakhrul said.

About the ruling party’s allegation of going to foreigners and seeking their favour by BNP, he said, their party did not go to the foreigners to curry any favour. “We went to foreigners only when we were invited by them."

The BNP leader said the ruling party leaders are going to foreigners and appointing lobbyists spending millions  of dollars to convince them to hold another election in the same style of 2014 and 2018.