The Western countries' commitment to democracy encourages us to carry out the ongoing movement for holding a credible election under a neutral government, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said on Sunday.
"The prime minister revealed the fact yesterday (Saturday) that you may say anything brother, I want the golden deer. This means that whatever America says, whatever the European Union says, whatever the political parties say, she wants to stay in power," the BNP leader said.
Mirza Fakhrul said, "If Sheikh Hasina wants to hold the next election without voters, it will not happen this time. You won't be able to hold the same election in 2024 that you held in 2014 and 2018. We are not alone this time. The western countries' commitment to democracy encouraged us, helped us to move forwards."
Mirza Fakhrul said this at a seminar titled "The Role of Local-International Community in Restoration of Democracy in Bangladesh and What We Have to Do Right Now" at a city hotel.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has been staying in power unlawfully by usurping power and using the state machinery, has decided to hold the next election in the same style. "This is the reason behind the political crisis."
Fakhrul said people who carried out the Liberation War in 1971 to build a democratic Bangladesh, have started the movement again to turn Bangladesh into a democratic country. "As a responsible democratic party, we launched this struggle along with all pro-democratic and patriotic forces to restore democracy."
He said there are many pessimist people in society, but he did not see any sign of frustration among the BNP leaders and activists. "There's no frustration also among those who are with us and carrying out the simultaneous movement. We believe we'll surely win in this struggle as we're on the right track and on the path of truth."
The BNP leader said everyone should keep in mind that it is not an easy task for a democratic force to fight against a fascist regime. "Many of our leaders and activists have lost their lives in this struggle, including 22 people over the last one year, while over 1,000 have been subjected to extrajudicial killings."
He said around 45 lakh opposition leaders and activists have been implicated in 'false' cases as part of the government's move to suppress them,
Fakhrul said the people of this country are ready to make all kinds of sacrifices to get back their democratic rights. "Our leader Khaleda Zia never bowed down her head though she is very sick amid captivity. The same way our all leaders and activists have been performing their responsibilities. So, I believe our struggle will certainly be successful and we'll be able to restore democracy."
He said their party also wants a credible election where people will be able to exercise their right to franchise.
"We have to believe that the Western world is committed to democracy and their commitment and spirit gives us courage and helps us move forward. There's no way to deny it. At the same time, we must also remember that those of us who are carrying out the struggle must move forward with more determination in the future to reinforce the movement," Fakhrul observed.
He said they have been on a movement to settle the political problem on the streets following the footsteps of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia. "We'll definitely be able to achieve the final victory."
The cover of a book styled "No Comments" compiled by photojournalist Babul Talukder was unveiled at the seminar.
BNP standing committee members Mirza Abbas, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, Selima Rahman, vice chairman Abdullah Al Noman, Shahjahan Omar and Barkatullah Bulu, among others, spoke at the programme.