Family members of Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s imprisoned chairperson Khaleda Zia were denied permission to meet her at the jail to wish her on birthday on Wednesday.
BNP chairperson’s private secretary ABM Abdus Sattar told New Age that they had contacted the authorities concerned for allowing Khaleda’s family members to meet and wish her on the occasion of her birthday at the old Dhaka central jail but did not get permission.
Khaleda’s younger son the late Arafat Rahman Koko’s wife Sharmila Rahman and her daughters had come from abroad recently to meet Khaleda to wish her on birthday, the family members said.
Inspector General of Prisons Syed Iftekhar Uddin could not be contacted over repeated phone calls for his comment.
BNP held prayer session on Wednesday marking Khaleda’s 74th birthday praying for immediate ‘unconditional’ release, early recovery from illness and long life of Khaleda who was sentenced for five years in jail in a graft case by a special Dhaka judge’s court on February 8 and sent to old Dhaka central jail in Dhaka.
BNP centrally held a prayer session at its central office at Naya Paltan in the afternoon and held another prayer session at Khaleda’s Gulshan office in the evening.
The party’s city, district and upazila units across the country also held prayer sessions, the party leaders said.
Khaleda was born on August 15 in 1945, according to BNP press release.
She took the helm of BNP after assassination of president Ziaur Rahman, founder of BNP and her husband, on May 30 in 1981.
Briefly addressing the prayer session at the party’s central office, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the incumbent Awami League government was ‘worse’ than that of ‘illegal Fakhruddin-Moen Uddin’.
He said Khaleda from prison during the rule of ‘illegal’ government of political changeover in January 2007 forced them (Fakhruddin-Moeen Uddin) to release her and to lift the state of emergency in the country through ‘silent movement’.
The secretary general said the party leaders and activists would have to carry out struggle taking risk of their lives to free Khaleda and democracy, and to establish people’s rights. ‘We have to win this struggle,’ Fakhrul said.
The BNP leader said the government was needed to be forced to release Khaleda, to hold a fair general election under a neutral government and neutral Election Commission dissolving the parliament for establishing a ‘people’s government.
He claimed that Khaleda was now in jail due to ‘conspiracy’ of the present government.
BNP leaders including Mirza Abbas, Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, Abdus Salam and Ruhul Kabir Rizvi were present at the prayer session.
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