DHAKA: Political leaders in the country are in very uncomfortable situation replied BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir when he was asked about his well-being by the Bangalnews team. Mirza Fakhrul told that the government is creating obstructions to the usual political activities of the opposition. They are inflicting sufferings after filing heaps of cases against us. We cannot stay in our houses, let alone coming out on the streets with political programs.
Fakhrul talking to Banglanews in an exclusive interview further told that, “Similar situation is prevailing in the towns and villages. Practically the government does not want to allow the politics of the opposition.”
In reply to a question, “How to come out of the situation?” Mirza Fakhrul replied that the practice of democracy shall have to be ensured. Government should create a democratic atmosphere, the opposition shall have to be taken into confidence.”
Referring to recently concluded election of the USA, he spontaneously expressed that, “No case was filed against their opposition leader, they were not beaten up, they were not made targets of shoot-out. The opposition has the right and liberty to speak or wage movement against the government on behalf of the people on definite issues.”
“But here in this country you cannot come out on the streets, you cannot speak. Whenever you will talk in the ‘Talk show’ in Televisions you will be getting threats from of the Intelligence men. Even the talk show participants are given death threats in our country. So the situation cannot be compared with USA.”
Banglanews: You are branding the government as ‘failed’ from the very beginning. Where are their failures, in economic or political field?
Mirza Fakhrul: In all fields. The country is facing dire economic situation due to their political failures. Both the economic and political situation is inter-related. What is happening here is not merely misappropriation or corruption. This is totally ‘looting’ of public wealth. Thousand of crores of money are being taken away without any legal procedures which are nothing but plundering.”
Bangalnews: Do you have any plan to investigate all these irregularities if you go in power in future?
Mirza Fakhrul: Definitely we have a plan. During last four years we protested against all the illegal and unjustified actions of the government. We have informed the people about everything. We did it through meetings, seminars and other means.
The people you meet anywhere will speak against the failures of the government- beginning from price hike of essentials, share market debacle, instable banking sectors. You just name me a sector where the government is successful!
Banglanews: While talking about share market we cannot ignore the rumors outside that people say that BNP did not do anything substantial against share market debacle.
Mirza Fakhrul: This is an Awami propaganda. Only the Awamites accuse BNP in this scandal. The reality is we called hartal, waged processions and movements across the country against stock market scam.
Banglanews: But these were a part of the other related issues………
Mirza Fakhrul: No…no, you go through all media. We staged demonstration against the government in the share market scam, brought out mass procession, called hartal. Again we usually observe program highlighting several issues together.
We only called hartal in a single issue that is disappearance of Ilias Ali. It is a political strategy to call hartal in the conglomeration of several issues. We are in favor of less number of hartals as it hampers the economic growth of the country. We are doing everything considering the interest of the country.
Banglanews: Then we can tell that if BNP comes to power they would improve the share-market situation.
Mirza Fakhrul: Definitely. The share market situation was better under past BNP governments than any other regimes. Awami League in their both periods had destroyed the share market.
Bangalnews: Did the government seek any advice from you?
Mirza Fakhrul: No, never.
Bangalnews: Did you extend any help or assistance out at your own in the interest of the country?
Mirza Fakhrul: We did it repeatedly …….but of no use. They do not give us any importance…. The government considers us as untouchable!
Changing the discussion course Mirza Fakhrul claimed that a “particular quarter is conspiring to make Bangaldesh a ‘failed state’, a militant state, a fundamentalist state”.
Bangalnews: An Islamist force had emerged during BNP regime.
Mirza Fakhrul: Is there no existence now?
Bangalnews: But Motiur Rahman Nizami had claimed that these were the creations of media, Bangla Bhai was a paper tiger. Afterwards, you found out Bangla Bhai.
Mirza Fakhrul: Yes, we crushed them. What is meaning of paper tiger? It means that they have no power. In our time we solved those problems successfully. We motivated the clerics across the country against those militants, hold talk shows on the television……. We also detained them at some stages, We never sheltered the so called fundamentalists or the communal forces.
With all emphasis I must say that so long BNP was in power, there were less communal excesses. In our time Eid and Durga puja festivals were observed at the same time peacefully. We never clashed with the Buddhists but it is happening now.
Bangalnews: Do you claim that now there is no militancy.
Mirza Fakhrul: There are continuous lobbying outside the country to brand our country, a militant country. The present government is the partner of that clique. Prime Minister’s son wrote in a paper that 30 percent members of the armed forces are militant! Dangerous! Dangerous! How dangerous is the message!
Banglanews: Let us come to another issue. BNP speaks of democracy but do they practice it within the party? Do you have an example?
Mirza Fakhrul: I, Mirza Alamgir has come to this position from grass root level. I, myself is an example of becoming leader from grass root level. In 1992, I became the president of Thakurgaon BNP, next I became the acting president of Ksrishak Dal. I became Minister after being elected MP in 2001 and after performing in all spheres of the party I became the acting secretary of the party.
Bangalnews: How do you view the tendency of political parties regarding the conception of Heirship?
Mirza Fakhrul: In India we see that in Congress party son and daughter-in-law are running the party. However they must have the qualities. No one can proceed further had they no quality. Begum Zia is not only the chair person of the party rather she is elected prime minister thrice. She is not simply the wife of late Ziaur Rahman, she took the steering of the party at some critical moments. BNP faced tumbles thrice but she tackled it successfully. She tackled as she has had the capability. But none gives importance to it. They think that it was possible as she is the wife of Ziaur Rahman. No!
Banglanews: In India Rahul Gandhi has prepared himself—it is clear. Are sons of the two leaders in Bangladesh preparing themselves like that.
Mirza Fakhrul: I cannot tell about prime minister’s son Joy but I can tell about Tareque Rahman. In 2001 Tarique was actively involved with that general election and successfully courted BNP’s landslide victory.
Tareque Rahman possesses uncommon organizational capability that led to BNP’s win in 2001.
Unfortunately the present government has falsely implicated him in corruption cases which are unfounded and motivated. Has the government found a single bank account in Tarique’s own name?
Banglanews: Tarique Rahman is now staying abroad and no more active in politics. Will he be active some day?
Mirza Fakhrul: You know that some big revolutions were organised when the leaders were outside the country. Take the cases of Ho Chi Min of Vietnam, Khomeini of Iran who brought the revolution leading it from outside the country.
Banglanews: Do you judge Tareque from that point of view?
Mirza Fakhrul: We think that Tareque Rahman has that capability.
Banglanews: Election is coming nearer. How you are taking the preparation to face the election?
Mirza Fakhrul: The election must be held under a non-party caretaker government. Being very much present in the power, having control on the RAB and police they will not be able to run an election in an acceptable manner.
Banglanews: What is your opinion about the recent atrocities of Jamaat-Shibir?
Mirza Fakhrul: These were done by the government. I assert that in a planned way the country has pushed into crisis with ill motives. You will not allow them to hold meeting, you will not allow them procession, you will torture them and send them to lock up for indefinite period. Is it democracy?
Banglanews: Then you are supporting them? No, I am not supporting them. You will hit them repeatedly. So once he will try to resist it.
I am not allowed to stand in front of my office, then I have the democratic rights to enforce hartal.
You will keep me in ‘no movement’ position surrounded by thousands of police, I cannot differ with you in placing opinions, is it a police state. If I come out on the street, I will be sent to jail through mobile court.
Banglanews: Khaleda Zia has doubted that Awami League has set up a connection with Jamaat.
Mirza Fakhrul: Madam did not tell like that rather she told that government is trying to isolate Jamaat from BNP. Jamaat is strict that they will not leave the politics of election. We understand everything in term of politics. Government through many channels is trying to break the opposition alliance.
Banglanews: Do you have any doubt about the changed behavior pattern of Jamaat and the government?
Mirza Fakhrul: Have you ever seen that the police tolerate attack on them silently? Over 2000 thousand police men surround the BNP office during a program but they cannot keep the Jamaat men confined, why? So it is not unusual to raise a question.
Banglanews: Will be BNP remain in the field?
Mirza Fakhrul: BNP will be in the field and that is must under any circumstances.
Banglanews: Is it that government and opposition are going for confrontational politics? Can’t we expect peaceful solution of the impasse?
Mirza Fakhrul: Certainly. They create such problem which pricks always. We want democratic atmosphere. In a democratic country it is unbelievable that the opposition parties cannot hold their party programs. Police rounded up persons for wearing ‘pajam-panjubi’ for fashionable French cut beard- is it democracy!
Banglanews: Then you mean confrontational politics ahead?
Mirza Fakhrul: Definitely the country is heading towards confrontational situation due to the obstinacy of the government. But still we are hopeful that sanity will prevail on the government high ups to avoid confrontational politics that will pave the way for upholding democratic norms.
Bangalnews: Government has asked for a format of the election time government, has asked for the out lines.
Mirza Fakhrul: No..no..no. When I will give format? I will give format, when there is scope of discussion from the government. The prime minster had told BBC that if opposition wants to participate in the interim government… they can come. But I tell you, if the PM makes a telephone call on the red phone the crisis will go substantially paving a way for fruitful discussion. Even AL general secretary can make me a phone call. But they never do that.
Banglanews: Once Moudud Ahmed spoke in press club that you have made the outlines of the interim government.
Mirza Fakhrul: These are silly talk. It is my duty to say anything about party’s standing and views. We only agree to sit with the government on neutral care taker system of government not on any other issue.
Banglanews: Before the expiry of the tenure you are demanding the resignation of the government. How far it is justified?
Mirza Fakhrul: We told that they should resign and go for election. Still we stick to that. We always want to be in democratic process. We don’t want to go outside the democratic norms.
Again the tenure of the government will depend on the will of the people of the country not on us.
Translated & Edited by Mohammad Shahjahan
BDST 1952 HRS, NOV 18, 2012
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