BNP has said that its six elected MPs will take oath and participate in parliamentary programs if the government meets its 5-point demands that include BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia’s bail or parole and make arrangements for her medical care at city’s United Hospital. It has been reported that BNP has submitted its 5-point demands during a secret compromise meeting with the government. However, BNP secretary general has ruled out this as ‘rumor’. He said, ‘There’s no chance of holding dialogue with the government.’ But a number of BNP leaders have confirmed that BNP is trying to compromise with the government. Liberating Khaleda is their main goal.
On condition of anonymity, a BNP leader said, ‘This is transparent as water that BNP no longer has the strength to start a movement. Ensuring Khaleda’s release through legal way also seems unviable. Therefore, we’re trying to compromise with the government. But we also want this process of compromise to be respectful.’ He also confirmed that BNP is holding a series of meetings with the government in this regard. So far, there has been some positive advancement in these meetings.
A responsible person in the government, who held two meetings with Mirza Fakhrul this week, said, ‘We’re discussing with BNP without any condition. It is BNP who took initiative to contact with the government. We told them that they must go to parliament first. If they have any fair demand, they must raise it in the parliament.’
After talking to a number of top leaders of the government and BNP it has been confirmed that there are five demands of BNP. Those are as follows:
1) Arranging bail or parole opportunity to Khaleda to get long-term medical care at the United Hospital
2) Withdrawing the cases that have been filed against the BNP leaders and workers. It should be noted that when BNP held the dialogue with the government before the 11th parliamentary election, it submitted the list of its leaders and workers who had cases filed against them. BNP demands that the government must withdraw cases according to the list.
3) BNP leaders and workers, who were arrested during and after the election, will be released.
4) BNP will not be prevented from announcing party programs so that it can ensure regular activities as a systematic political party.
5) Make arrangements for the BNP leaders who are absconding in fear of court case and arrest so that they can return to their normal life.
However, a number of government sources said there was no discussion on Khaleda’s release. They discussed BNP going to parliament. It is true that BNP has submitted some demands, but there has been no decision so far whether the government will consider those.
An AL leader said that Khaleda’s release issue depends on the decision of the court. Likewise, her treatment at the United Hospital also depends on the High Court’s decision. The claim of filing cases against their leaders and workers are also baseless. An additional secretary of the home ministry is probing into the cases of the listed BNP leaders and workers. However, none of the cases was found to be filed to harass or take revenge against them. Those cases were filed based on specific allegations. Therefore, these cases cannot be withdrawn without a proper investigation.
However, a BNP leader, who is participating in the discussions with the government, said that the government looks flexible this time. It is ready to give BNP the highest concession to bring them to parliament. He further said that except for Khaleda’s release issue, the government has agreed in principle about other demands. But the government has offered that if Tarique Zia returns to the country and face the trial, Khaleda’s matter will be considered.
But a number of sources said that some foreign embassies have taken the initiative to help BNP and the government to reach an agreement. If they become successful, Khaleda might get bail for some days and BNP may come to the parliament under Jatiya Oikya Front’s leadership. Sources confirmed that Dr. Kamal Hossain is playing a big role behind taking BNP to the parliament. He is putting pressure on BNP to go the parliament and trying to resolve the compromise issue with the foreign embassies.