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20-party alliance backs BNP ‘‘programme’’

20-party alliance backs BNP ‘‘programme’’

The 20-party alliance on Sunday (Feb 11) expressed solidarity with all the ‘‘programmes’’ announced by Bangladesh Nationalist Party and decided to actively take part in those demanding Khaleda Zia’s release from jail. The BNP-led alliance also decided to take programmes seeking the BNP chairperson’s release. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir came up with the disclosure after a meeting of the alliance, local media reports said.

At the meeting, Fakhrul said, the alliance leaders firmly protested and condemned Khaleda’s conviction. He said they also demanded the government immediately withdraw the ‘‘false’’ case and release Khaleda unconditionally. The BNP leader said their meeting also urged the government to release all the arrested leaders and activists of BNP and its alliance partners.

Asked who will now lead the 20-party alliance in absence of Khaleda, Fakhrul said their Chairperson is still the main leader of the alliance. He is now working as a coordinator of it.

Earlier in the day, top leaders of the BNP-led alliance sat in a meeting at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office to discuss the evolving situation following the jailing of Khaleda, and work out its next course of action. Fakhrul said BNP acting Chairman Tarique Rahman "addressed" the meeting through mobile phone from London.

He urged the 20-Party leaders to form a people’s platform and national unity. The alliance partners supported it, the BNP leader added.

BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Mirza Abbas, Nazrul Islam Khan, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury and top leaders of the alliance were present at the meeting.

This was the first meeting of the alliance after Khaleda landed in jail on Thursday.

A special court in Dhaka convicted Khaleda and sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on Thursday.