What will be the future of BNP and Tarique Zia after the court delivers verdict of August 21 grenade attack case? Will BNP be identified as a `terrorist` party nationally and internationally? Will BNP senior vice chairman Tarique Zia be convicted? What can be his political future if he is proven guilty? Will Tarique lead BNP if he is proven guilty? Such questions are prevailing now in the political arena of the country. On Wednesday (10 October), the court will deliver the verdict of the grenade attack case. Election, movement, and protest—all these things are now centering the grenade attack case in the politics of Bangladesh.
The incident of the August 21 grenade attack took place in 2004. At that time the BNP-Jamaat alliance government was in power. The verdict of this case is going to be delivered after 10 years of waiting. Several press conferences were held by BNP before the verdict. On October 8, Barrister Moudud Ahmed called a press conference on behalf of the lawyers. At that press conference, he expressed fear that Tarique Zia would be punished because the government has desired so. With the same fear, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir held a press conference today (Tuesday). No Awami League leader has made any comment on this verdict in advance. There may be a different verdict on August 21. Firstly, due to lack of evidence, Tarique Zia and Lutfozzaman Babar could get rid of the charges in the case. Secondly, they can be proved guilty.
If, in the court verdict, they are proven guilty, especially if Tarique Zia is proven guilty, then what would be the sentence? The highest punishment for this case is the death penalty. State prosecutors demanded the maximum punishment of Tarique Zia, the main accused in the case. They also demanded the death penalty in the case of former Home Minister Lutfozzaman Babar. A judge finds one guilty or not guilty on the basis of evidence. The whole nation is waiting to know what the judge will decide.
Another significant aspect of the August 21 grenade attack is BNP`s liability as a party. In its argument, the state has claimed that this grenade attack is a state-sponsored act of terrorism. The state has claimed that the then government had a direct role in planning and concealing information after the incident. Therefore, the verdict may refer to the role of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government in this verdict. In the trial of war criminals, the Tribunal raised questions about the role of Jamat as a political party. In at least two cases of the tribunal, `Jamaat` had agreed to take part in the war crimes. Jamaat also gave a favor to the ban. Will there be anything similar in the 21 August grenade attack case? When the trial of war crimes began in Bangladesh, most people thought it `impossible` to carry out. The number of people who believed that the powerful war criminals like Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury would be hanged was very low. But in the end, in reality, the execution of SQ Chowdhury was carried. Whatever the judgment of tomorrow will be, it will bring new polarization into the politics of Bangladesh for sure.