As political parties are in preparation at the field level for an inclusive national election, a South Asian expert says the BNP has a choice to abandon "Jamaat and its terrorist tactics" and rejoin Bangladesh's democracy.
Or it (BNP) can remain, as the Canadian court found, "a terrorist organisation," Tahseen Ali who has a doctorate in history, specialising in modern South Asia, said in a recent article shared by the Foreign Ministry here on Friday.
The opinion piece titled "Terrorism in Bangladesh under the guise of politics: Canada's High Court condemns the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was published in The Washington Times on July 19.
In 2014, Tahseen Ali wrote, the BNP boycotted Bangladesh's elections despite Prime Minister Hasina's invitation to join an all-party coalition to oversee the elections.
After the elections, which resulted in the BNP losing its seats in Parliament, the BNP and Jamaat escalated their "terrorist" activities, the article reads.
Tahseen mentioned that more than 200 lives were lost and over 1,100 others injured. Thousands of cars were burned and roads destroyed. Schools were targeted. These are the acts of a terrorist organisation, not an opposition party.
Bangladesh is scheduled to hold its next general election at the end of the next year or in early 2019.
The expert said the western media and several otherwise well-intentioned nongovernmental organisations routinely criticise Bangladesh for taking actions against leaders of the country's main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, or BNP.
"They assume 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."
Earlier this year, Judge Henry S Brown in the Federal Court of Canada, acting in an immigration case, concluded that the BNP willfully engages in terrorism and violence to further its aims in Bangladesh.
He wrote in January that "BNP is or was a terrorist organization," upholding a decision by an immigration officer denying permanent residency to a BNP member.
Tahseen said 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.
"Still, it is notable that the BNP's status as a terrorist organization was set in legal language by a major world power," The writer claimed.