BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday said time is up for the Awami League government, no matter how many countries Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visits and what she says.
Speaking at a rally in the capital, he called upon the law enforcers to play a neutral role as the country’s people and the democratic world want a credible national election in Bangladesh under a caretaker government.
“The time of this regime is over, no matter how much its Prime Minister shouts. Whether you (PM) go to Japan, the USA, the UK, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and China, you can't make any gains. Your time is up and that’s the reality,” the BNP leader said.
Fakhrul urged the government to take steps before time runs out fast for freeing people from 'misrule' and accept their demand for holding the next polls under a non-party caretaker government.
As part of the party’s countrywide programme, BNP’s Dhaka North City unit arranged the rally in Shyamoli Club Field in the capital to press home their 10-point demand, including holding the next polls under a non-party neutral government and to protest against the arrest and harassment of party leaders and activists in 'false cases'.
The party also organised rallies in 27 other cities and districts also for registering the party's protest against the filing of 'fictitious' cases against opposition leaders and activists, soaring prices of essentials, frequent power cuts and the ‘all-pervasive’ corruption by the Awami League government.
Fakhrul alleged that people are going through suffering due to the crisis of power, gas, and water though the government has been repeatedly hiking the tariffs of the utility services.
He said people are struggling to survive as the prices of all the daily necessities including rice, oil, eggs, salt, sugar, onion, garlic and ginger have increased two to three-fold.
“But the ministers and the ruling party leaders who live in air-conditioned rooms in luxury say everything is fine and the people of Bangladesh are in very good condition. The ruling party leaders often mock people by saying that they are better off than those in Singapore,” the BNP leader said.
He also said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her party leaders cannot understand the pulse of people as they got isolated from them. “Stand before people without any state protocol to read their eye and body language.”
The BNP leader said people have got fed up with the ‘misrule’ of the current regime. “They’re finding it difficult to survive. “Those who stay in power against the will of people can’t respect people. Those who stay in power depending on the law enforcement agencies and different forces can’t read the mind of people until their fall.”
He alleged that the government has destroyed every sector of the country. “They steal Tk 78,000 crore every year only from the power sector through quick rental…they also destroyed the education system. There’s no academic atmosphere anywhere, including in colleges, schools, and universities. The Chhatra League cadres have occupied every educational institution. People with third-class degrees are becoming university teachers.”
The BNP leader also said the government has also ruined the health sector by indulging in widespread corruption and plundering.
He said the government is now using the “false and ghost’ cases against the opposition leaders and activists as a last resort to clinging to power at the fag-end of its rule.
Fakhrul said their party leaders and activists have been subjected to repressions, imprisonment, and killing as they have been on a movement to restore democracy and people’s rights.
“Our 17 brothers have sacrificed their lives in the current movement. We have heard police opened fire on our leaders and activists in Khulna today (Friday). It won’t be possible to stop this movement of people by firing," he said.
Fakhrul slammed the ruling party leaders for their comments that the caretaker government system has already gone to its grave.
“We want to make it clear that the people of this country will not accept any election without a caretaker government to ensure fair polls, vote by themselves and get fair results,” he said.
The BNP leader also said no election will be held in a free and fair manner under the Awami League government. “We saw the election in 2018 and in 2014…..there is no reason to trust them anymore. There can be no question of going to the elections under you (Sheikh Hasina).
He said the government must quit, dissolve parliament, free Khaleda Zia and withdraw the false cases against 40 lakh people.
Fakhrul also questioned the capability of the Election Commission for holding a credible election as it is going to enact a law curbing its power to cancel the election of any constituency. “So where is the independence of the Election Commission? Do you think all the people of Bangladesh are fools? How long will you cheat people? You won’t be able to do it anymore."
He asked the law enforcers not to play any biased role as the current government has lost support both at home and abroad. “The people of the country and the democratic world want a fair, credible and participatory election and they know that it will not be possible without a caretaker government. So please don't create a situation where you (law enforcers) will be identified (for your biased role)."
BNP will also arrange rallies in Dhaka south city, 21 organisational districts and other metropolitan cities on Saturday.