Barishal BNP leaders press Mirza Fakhrul for potent protests to free Khaleda

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-07-18 22:49:59 BdST

Barishal leaders of the BNP have pressed Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir to announce tough programmes like general strike to free jailed Chairperson Khaleda Zia.

The party organised its first large demonstration, a rally, in the south-central district on Thursday since its defeat to the ruling Awami League in the parliamentary elections over six months ago.

The party is organising rallies in divisional towns demanding Khaleda’s release, who has been in jail for about one and a half years for corruption.

Her supporters from Barishal and the adjacent districts of Pirojpur, Patuakhali, Barguna and Bhola shouted slogans demanding her release at the rally on Hemayetuddin Eidgah Ground.

“We want freedom of the leader of the country (Khaleda). The people of Barishal have united in this movement,” Barishal Metropolitan BNP President and central committee’s Joint Secretary General Mojibur Rahman Sarwar told the rally.

“We demand that the secretary general announce tough programmes if the leader of the country is not freed very soon. We are ready,” he said. 

Nazrul Islam Molla, a BNP leader from Barguna, said it would not be possible to free Khaleda through human-chain demonstrations only.

“We want general strike,” he said. 

“Honourable secretary general, please announce programmes. We promise to make the programmes a success,” Alamgir Hossain from Pirojpur said.

BNP Vice-Chairman and former Bhola MP Hafizuddin Ahmed said: “The leader cannot be freed through these rallies, processions and human-chain programmes. We will have to go to Dhaka one day to free her.”

 “Hundreds of thousands of people will join us if we can gather no fewer than 100,000 on the streets of Dhaka and stage a peaceful demonstration. Let’s unite for this,” he added.

Standing Committee Member Selima Rahman praised the BNP activists of Barishal Division as “insuperable”.

“The government will find no way to flee once the people of Barishal announce a movement for the freedom of the leader,” she said.

BNP Vice-Chairman and lawyer for Khaleda, Zainul Abedin, said she was accused in 37 “political” cases and secured bail in 35 while the legal battle in the two others was under way.

“With the legal battle on the one hand and political movement on the other, we will surely be able to free Khaleda Zia,” he said.

Mirza Fakhrul thanked the party leaders and activists of Barishal for attending the rally “despite all odds”.

“The movement starts today in Barishal,” he said, and urged the activists to continue the protests for Khaleda’s freedom.