Sylhet, Jan 13 (UNB) – Senior leaders of Jatiya Oikyafront (JOF) are going to Sylhet on Monday to visit violence-hit Balaganj upazila where a Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) leader was gunned down by criminals during voting December 30.
A five-member Oikyafront delegation, led by BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, is scheduled to reach Sylhet around 10:45am by air, BNP chairperson’s media wing member Sayrul Kabir Khan told UNB on Sunday.
The four other leaders are Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rob) president ASM Abdur Rob, Krishak Sramik Janata League president Abdul Kader Siddiqui, Gono Forum general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu and Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna.
Sylhet district BNP office secretary M Fakhrul Islam said the Oikyafront leaders will first offer fateha at the shrines of Hazrat Shahjalal (R) and Hazrat Shahjalal (R).
Later, they will go to Balaganj and offer fateha at the grave of slain Balaganj JCD general secretary Sayem Ahmed Sohel, and meet his bereaved family members to console them.
The Oikyafront leaders will also visit some election violence-hit areas in the upazila before returning to Dhaka.
JCD leader Sayem Ahmed was shot to death during a clash over capturing Azizpur Government Primary School polling centre in Balaganj upazila on December 30.
Dhaka, Jan 13 (UNB) – Observing that it is not necessary to be in parliament to become the opposition, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia during a hearing in a court here on Sunday said those who speak for people are the real opposition.
“Remaining in parliament never makes any party opposition, it can be from out of parliament if they stand for people,” she said during the hearing in the Niko graft case at the makeshift court inside the Old Dhaka Central Jail.
The court set January 21 for the next hearing in the case while January 15 for hearing an application filed by the BNP standing committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed, another accused in the case.
In the beginning of the day’s proceedings, Moudud Ahmed started reading out the first information report and the charge-sheet of the case.
“It was the Awami League government which inked the deal with Niko. We just maintained its continuity. Those who struck the deal are now free. I’ve no hesitation to say we’re now the opposition …”
At this point, lawyer Borhanuddin reminded Moudud that they are not even the opposition now and Moudud instantly told the court they are now nowhere.
It was then when Khaleda who was sitting on a wheelchair came up with her remarks.
She said a party can be the opposition even if it is out of parliament. “Now we see the opposition can be from inside the government, too. BNP is the most popular party, no matter what condition it is in.”
Meanwhile, BNP’s secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir went to the courtroom and talked to their chairperson during the hearing.
Later, he left the court around 12:55 pm.
Earlier around 12:22pm, Khaleda was taken to the Special Judge Court-9 of Judge Sheikh Hafizur Rahman on a wheelchair.
On December 9, 2007, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case accusing Khaleda and others of causing the state a loss of Tk 137.77 billion by signing an oil-gas exploration deal with Canadian company Niko when the BNP was in office.
Police submitted a charge-sheet against the accused on May 5, 2008.
The others accused in the case are former state minister for energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain, former principal secretary Kamal Uddin Siddique, Khandaker Shahidul Islam, CM Yusuf Hossain, former Bapex general manager Mir Mainul Haq, its former secretary Shafiur Rahman, Giasuddin Al Mamun, former MP MAH Selim and former vice-president of South-Asia affairs Niko Kashem Sharif.
Khaleda has been serving in jail after a court sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust on February 8 last. The sentence was later extended to 10 years by the High Court.
Dhaka, Jan 13 (UNB) – Jatiya Oikyafront convener Dr Kamal Hossain on Sunday appreciated the Prime Minister’s decision to hold fresh talks with political parties, saying it is a positive step.
Talking to UNB, he also said they will take a positive decision about joining the dialogue with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after discussions with their alliance partners.
“I called upon the government for holding talks with political parties to find an effective way for holding a fresh credible election. Now the Prime Minister herself has decided to hold talks. I hail the decision, and it’s surely a positive initiative,” Dr Kamal said.
Once they get the invitation to join the talks, he said their alliance leaders will sit together and fix what they may discuss with the Prime Minister during the dialogue.
Dr Kamal also expects a positive outcome in favour of the country’s people if the dialogue is held with the Prime Minister.
Contacted, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir declined to make any comment over the matter. “I’m not aware of any such development. So, I’m not willing to say anything about it right now.”
Earlier in the day, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will hold fresh dialogues with the political parties that joined talks at Ganobhaban before the December-30 election.
He said the Prime Minister will send letters to Oikyafront, Juktafront, 14-party, Jatiya Party and other political parties inviting them to engage in talks at Ganobhaban to discuss various issues.
At a discussion on Thursday last, Dr Kamal Hossain called upon the government for holding a national dialogue to find ways for arranging a fresh national election as per the constitution.
However, Obaidul Quader on Friday turned down the call for talks and terming it an absurd demand of Oikyafront.
Two days later, the Awami League general secretary said the Prime Minister at a joint meeting of their advisory council and the central working committee on Saturday said she will again invite those who joined the talks earlier.
Before the announcement of 11th parliamentary elections, Jatiya Oikyafront leaders, led by Dr Kamal Hossain, sat twice with the Prime Minister on November 1 and November 7 last at Ganobhaban.
Dhaka, Jan 13 (UNB) - BNP on Sunday expressed surprise over the ‘unexpected’ and ‘regrettable’ remarks by Hefajat-e-Islam chief Allama Shafi asking parents not to send their girls to schools and colleges.
“I’ve got stunned and surprised at Hefajat-e-Islam Ameer Allama Shah Ahmed Shafi’s comments on not sending girls to schools and colleges,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
In a statement, he further said, “The remarks of Allama Shafi against women education are unexpected and regrettable.”
The BNP leader said such remarks in the 21th century will only embarrass Bangladeshis to the international community.
Mentioning that there is no conflict between women education and religion, Fakhrul said BNP thinks women’s development and real empowerment will not be possible to ensure if women are not enlightened with proper education.
Earlier on Friday, Allama Shafi at parogramme in Chattogram’s Hathazari urged parents not to send their daughters to schools and colleges for further education after they complete fourth or fifth grades.
Shafi said, “If you allow your girls to be educated up to eight, ninth or tenth grade, or to have MA or BA degree, they would no longer remain yours. Somebody else would take them away from you after marriage. Don’t you see incidents like this in newspapers?”
Disapproving the Hefajat chief’s comments, Fakhrul said irrespective of gender male and female cannot understand the innate message of slam for social welfare and the economic and human problems without education.
Stating that half of the country’s total pollution is women, he said education is crucial for women to play a due role in building the nation and strengthening the country’s economy coming out of old taboos and superstations. “It’s BNP’s declared principle.”
The BNP leader said well-educated mothers are necessary to teach their children morality and good education as the offspring get primary education from their mothers. “The women education is compulsory to eliminate social injustice and discrimination.”
He also said women will not get rid of social deprivation, exploitation, harassment and deception by inhuman and wicked persons if they do not get educated.
“Women must pursue education to avoid harassment and disgrace. Otherwise, our country and society will remain far behind from the advanced world,” Fakhrul observed.
Dhaka, Jan 12 (UNB) – Ruling Awami League has set Tuesday, January 15 to sell nomination forms for aspirants to its 43 reserved seats (women) in the 11th Parliament.
The aspirants will have to collect the nomination forms from the AL president’s Dhanmondi political office in the city from Tuesday 10:00am, said an AL release on Saturday.
The Election Commission is likely to announce the election schedule for 50 parliamentary seats exclusively reserved for women this week, EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed told UNB.
The reserved seats’ distribution will reflect the seat share in the directly elected 300 constituencies. According to the proportional representation in the Parliament, Awami League will get women MPs from 43 reserved seats, Jatiya Party from 4 seats, BNP from one, and others will fill out the last two.
Out of the 300 parliamentary constituencies across the country, Awami League won in 257 constituencies, while Jatiya Party in 22 seats, BNP in six seats, Workers’ Party in three constituencies, Gano Forum, Jasod and Bikalpadhara each in two seats, Tarikat Federation and JP each in one seat in the recent 11th general election.
Besides, independent candidates were elected in three constituencies in the polls held on December 30 last.
One remaining constituency will go to polls on January 27, after the election there was postponed earlier following the death of a candidate.
The Election Commission has a legal obligation to arrange the polls to the 50 reserved seats within 90 days after the gazette of general election result is published.
The directly-elected members of parliament are the voters of the election.
If the number of nominated candidates by a political party is equal to its reserved seats, the contenders will be declared elected unopposed immediate after the last date for withdrawal of candidacy.
It may be noted that eight elected MPs of Jatiya Oikyafront –- six from BNP and two from Gano Forum –have not taken the oath of office as MP. The BNP has been quite unequivocal that those elected on its ticket will not do so in future either, as the party has rejected the results. It is unlikely therefore that the reserved seat accruing to it will be filled.
Gano Forum’s position on joining the 11th Jatiya Sangshad has been less clear. Although in one voice with the BNP in denouncing the election, the party’s founding head Dr Kamal Hossain has never ruled out the possibility that the first-ever MPs elected from the party, albeit with the BNP’s electoral symbol, would eventually join Parliament.