BNP on Monday urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to offer a public apology for her remark on pushing Khaleda Zia into the river from the Padma Bridge. Speaking at a rally here BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam also said Khaleda is very sick and renewed the party’s demand for allowing her to go abroad for advanced treatment.
“You issued a death threat to Khaleda Zia. She is the most acceptable and popular leader to the country’s people who was never defeated in any election,” he said denouncing PM’s comment.
Fakhrul said it is unimaginable that such an ‘irresponsible’ comment came from a prime minister, no matter how she came to power. “People of any civilised country can’t tolerate such a remark. We would like to unequivocally ask you (PM) to offer an apology to people for your remark,” he said. Or else, the BNP leader warned, the people will oust the government without giving a scope for making an apology.
BNP’s Dhaka south and north city units arranged the rally in front of the Jatiya Press Club protesting what they said the prime minister’s ‘indecent’ comment on Padma Bridge involving Khaleda. Hundreds of leaders and activists of the party and its associate bodies joined the programme.
Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told a discussion meeting of Awami League that Khaleda once said that the Padma Bridge would collapse while using it as it was being constructed with patchworks. “What should now be done to them? They should be taken to the Padma Bridge and pushed into the river from there,” she said.
Fakhrul said the PM made such an offensive comment against Khaleda out of her nervousness as she is foreseeing the end of her rule. The BNP leader said Khaleda is now very ill and her life will be in danger unless given the scope for proper treatment abroad.
“From this rally, we would like to call upon the government to completely free our leader Khaleda Zia and allow her to go abroad for treatment before time runs out,” Fakhrul said. He alleged the government has kept the party’s chairperson under the house arrest to prevent her from carrying out a movement for democracy.
Khaleda was sent to the Old Dhaka Central Jail on February 8, 2018 after a trial court sentenced her to five years imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. She was also found guilty in another corruption case the same year.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government temporarily freed Khaleda from jail through an executive order suspending her sentence on 25 March, 2020, The release was conditional that she will stay in her Gulshan house and won’t leave the country.