Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Saturday launched a countrywide mass signature campaign demanding release of party chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir inaugurated the mass signature campaign from party’s Nayapaltan central office in the capital in the morning.
Besides BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, party’s standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed and Mirza Abbas were present at the inaugural function.
While inaugurating the campaign, party’s senior leaders first put their signatures on a form at the party office.
“The form is available at all party unit offices, including the unit offices of metropolitan cities, districts, upzilas, municipalities and thanas, its front and associate organisations across the country,”
BNP assistant office secretary Taiful Islam Tipu told the daily sun.
While addressing the inaugural programme, party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir called upon the party leaders and activists to take to the streets to register their protest.
Asking party men to have patience and remain disciplined, he called upon all to carry out a peaceful programme without interruption and make all of the programmes successful by ensuring their active participation.
“You (BNP leaders and activists) will ensure people’s victory foiling government’s provocation and blue print,” the BNP secretary general said.
He said their mass signature programme will continue until and unless Khaleda Zia is released from jail.
Mirza Fakhrul alleged that the government is arresting many of their leaders and activists across the country daily.
“The government wants to stay in power by carrying out repression. It won’t be possible.They have to leave power in face of people’s strong protest,” he asserted.
The BNP leader said their mass signature campaign will be available in book or online at www.bnpbangladesh.com.
BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said: “We’ll move forward for election after release of Khaleda Zia. No election will be held without her. We are not thinking about election before release of Khaleda Zia.”
He claimed that Khaleda Zia has now turned into an international leader.
On Thursday, BNP announced fresh three-day countrywide protest programmes to press home their demand.
The programmes include collecting signatures from general people across the country on Saturday, submitting memorandums to all the deputy commissioner offices on Sunday and staging demonstrations in all the district towns and metropolitan cities, except Dhaka, on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a press briefing on Friday announced that the party had decided to hold a public rally either at Suhrawardy Uddyan or in front of its Nayapaltan office on February 22 to press home their demand of immediate and unconditional release of Khaleda Zia.
BNP sources said that the party top leaders had been asked to go to their own areas across the country to ensure huge participation of party men in their memorandum submission programme on Sunday in the districts and in the countywide demonstration programme on Tuesday.
A special court convicted Khaleda Zia and sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8. She was later sent to the old central jail at Nazimuddin Road in the city.