Leading US newspaper The Washington Times has accused BNP of adopting terrorism as a means to perform as an opposition party, saying a recent Canadian High Court ruling set in "legal language" its status as a "terrorist organization".
In an analysis titled "Terrorism in Bangladesh under the guise of politics", the newspaper on July 19 wrote BNP lost its stake in parliament as the party boycotted the 2014 general elections when they escalated their terrorist activities taking along with them Jamaat-e-Islami.
It noted that more than 200 lives were lost and more than 1,100 people were injured while thousands of cars were burned as they launched a violent street campaign after the elections.
"These are the acts of a terrorist organization, not an opposition party," the newspaper wrote, also publishing along with the article an illustration showing the BNP's party flag gradually burning or tearing apart Bangladesh's national flag.
It commented that the western media and several otherwise well-intentioned nongovernmental organizations routinely criticize Bangladesh government for its actions against BNP leaders, assuming that accusing opposition party members with crimes is "automatically undemocratic and undermines the rule of law".
"In fact, the opposite is the case, and a top court in Canada recently provided proof (of allegations)," the article commented referring to the Canadian Federal Court ruling acting on an immigration case saying "BNP willfully engages in terrorism and violence to further its aims in Bangladesh".
It said Judge Henry S. Brown made the observation in January as he upheld a Canadian immigration officer's decision to deny permanent residency to a BNP member.
The newspaper further wrote, "For the Bangladeshis who have suffered through BNP-backed violence in recent years -- ranging from overturning railway cars to firebombing buses full of civilians -- the ruling must have come as obvious news, like a court declaring that the sky is blue".
It said the Canadian court ruling also shed international light on a sustained campaign of bombings and terrorism -- particularly against religious minorities -- by BNP and its allies dating back to 2001.
"In the aftermath of its election victory that year (2001), the BNP unleashed violence against Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and supporters of the Awami League, which is currently the governing party of Bangladesh," the article read.
It recalled that in line with Awami League's 2008 election pledges, incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took steps to expose to justice the perpetrators of atrocities during Bangladesh's 1971 Liberation War while "this position helped propel her to the prime minister's seat".
"But it put BNP on the defensive because of its alliance with Jamaat-e-Islami," the article commented, referring to Jamaat's stance in 1971 when its members took part in "horrific crimes against humanity, including a genocide that killed 3 million Bangladeshis".
It added: "When (Bangladesh's International Crimes) Tribunal was launched, BNP and Jamaat wanted to stop the war crimes trials and launched wave after wave of violence and economy-stopping nationwide strikes in 2013 and 2014".
The Washington Times referred to a subsequent European Parliament resolution condemning the violence and urging BNP "to unequivocally distance itself from Jamaat-e-Islami, but to no effect".
"The BNP (now) has a choice: It can abandon Jamaat and its terrorist tactics and rejoin Bangladesh's democracy. Or it can remain, as the Canadian court found, 'a terrorist organization'," read the analysis.