As the trial proceedings of the Zia Charitable and Zia Orphanage Trust graft cases against its chairperson Khaleda Zia nearing completion, BNP is preparing for a countrywide strong agitation alongside carrying out its legal battle in the apex court if she is convicted.
The party is also preparing to stage a big showdown on January-5 by observing the day as a ‘democracy killing’ one across the country aiming to register BNP’s protest against the 10th parliamentary elections.
As part of its preparation, BNP has already formed 77 teams, headed by its standing committee members, vice chairmen, chairperson’s advisers, senior joint secretary general and joint secretaries general, to visit its organisational districts for making its grassroots ready for the agitation and showdown.
Sources at the BNP central office said the team leaders have been asked through a letter to complete their district tours by December 30 as the verdict in Khaleda’s cases may be delivered anytime early next year.
Besides, party senior leaders have been maintaining close contact with diplomats and civil society members and discussing with them the development over the political situation and Khaleda’s case proceedings.
Leaders close to the BNP chief said Khaleda is not thinking of making anyone acting chairperson of the party to lead it in her absence if she is sent to jail as her lawyers are of the opinion that she will be able to secure bail from the High Court within a short time.
Meanwhile, Home Minster Asaduzzaman Khan at a programme in Pabna on Thursday warned that law enforcers have been kept on alert to resist any possible anarchy in the country over the verdict in the graft cases against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
The prosecution on Tuesday concluded its argument in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case in the Special Judge Court-5 and sought highest punishment (life imprisonment) for Khaleda and five other accused in the case.
The defence lawyers have been placing closing arguments in the case. The court on Thursday fixed December 26, 27 and 28 for the defence to place further arguments in the case.
Talking to UNB, two lawyers of the BNP chairperson said if the lower court convicts Khaleda they will immediately move to the apex court seeking bail for her subsequently challenging the lower court verdict.
Contacted, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said there is no ground to convict their chairperson in the two graft cases. “We still hope we’ll get justice.”
Asked if she is convicted what they will do, the BNP leader declined to reveal their plans to face the situation. “If it happens, we’ll then brief journalists about our programmes. We don’t want to talk about it right now as we’re expecting justice.”
About the party’s plan for district visit by central leaders, he said they have taken the programme to strengthen their organisational strength further. “Our central leaders will exchange views with the grassroots ones about the current political situation and the next general election.”
BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said they will face it both politically and legally if Khaleda is convicted. “It’s a political case, so we’ll surely face it politically alongside the legal battle.”
Replying to a question who will lead the party if the BNP chairperson is sent to jail, Mosharraf said they did not think of it yet. “If the lower court convicts her as per the government’s will, she’ll get bail from the apex court within a short time.”
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said the government is conspiring to convict Khaleda and other BNP senior leaders by promptly disposing of the ‘false’ cases filed against them to make them disqualified for the next general election.
“We’re ready to face such heinous motive of the government. We’ll put up a strong resistance together with people against it. The government will have to take her to jail upon our bodies,” he added.
The BNP chief’s counsel and BNP joint secretary general Mahububuddin Khokon said the prosecution could not submit any substantial evidence and document before the court to convict Khaleda. “There’s no scope to convict her.”
Khaleda Zia’s another counsel and BNP law affairs secretary Sanaullah Miah said If Khaleda is punished in the cases, they will go to the High Court against it as early as possible. “We’ll also face it politically.” unb
*News Searching By theindependentbd *