Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia has re-exposed herself to a wave of surprise and self contradictions as she gave her mind and soul out at a news conference on Friday at her chosen hideout at the party's Gulshan office.
Under flashing cameras and
amid huge interest of the media to listen to her in her first audience
after shying away from media and public eyes in two and half months, the
"uncompromising" BNP leader merely re-stated her often baseless
allegations against the government while also reiterated her demands for
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down bowing to "unlawful" pressure
and allowing an untimely and unconstitutional election under a
caretaker supervisor. This is a dream she has been pushing vainly since
the BNP along with its allies that made a political blunder by
boycotting parliamentary election held on January 5 last year.
faced the media - though she refused to take or answer questions from
journalists - a day after she herself acknowledged in her statement that
she was under pressure because her party leaders were disappearing. BNP
sources added to her concern by saying that some leaders with their
followers are also threatening to "desert" Khaleda Zia.
This is what reality says.
must have analysed her support base during the two and half month
"non-stop" blockade and hartal which have been totally rejected by the
people. Even her party leaders and men stayed off the streets that
angered Khaleda Zia so much that she confirmed her plight in the
statement issued on Thursday.
She is clearly upset as the bubble she
created in her hype for power by "hook or by crook" appears to have
burst deflating her dreams and and tormenting her leadership.
Zia is an experienced politician and former Prime Minister but her
recent mission to burn-and-kill innocent people in the name of blockade
and hartal has probably cost her dearly. Now she is out to justify her
thirst for blood by turning the barrel at the government which she
alleged of conducting "extra-judicial" killings to eliminate political
rivals. This is a furiously debated issue but so far without proof, as
the law enforcing agencies say the victims died in encounter with
criminals, militants and terrorists.
At Friday's news conference,
Khaleda Zia repeated her falsehood and malignant rhetorics that media
was barred from covering her and her party events. Had it been true, we
wonder how all the media outlets - print and electronic - could show her
live in the news conference with no one objecting or trying to switch
the lights off. The authorities allowed her full freedom to hold the
news conference even though in the eyes of law she is a "wanted" person
with a court arrest warrant on her head. Also, over past several weeks
BNP's Joint Secretary-General Salahuddin Ahmed had been issuing press
statements from his hideout but no attempt was ever made by government
to stop their publication. Therefore, we urge the BNP leader to come to
her senses and learn to tell the truth. Trying to befool the media and
people will not work anymore.
At the news conference, Khaleda Zia
also trampled people's expectation that she would call off her vengeful
blockade and hartal programmes that have already caused substantial
damage to the economy and left people in constant fear of being killed
or scorched by petrol bombs and in arson attacks. Since January 6 at
least 140 people have been killed and over 1,000 hurt in fire-bombing of
vehicles and other violence.
Khaleda Zia surprised the nation by
saying that the BNP-led "programmes" would continue until "reasonable"
changes happen in the country, meaning the resignation of the government
and dialogue between ruling Awami League and her party. These are
unlikely to happen or even considered until and unless the BNP and its
allies give up their violent agenda and settle for peaceful coexistence,
AL leaders say. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday asserted that
there could be no dialogue with Begum Zia unless she stops killings and
Analysts feel Khaleda's remarks at the news conference had
actually relieved the ruling party in a way that she had failed to turn
the ball into the government's court. Had she said "I am calling off all
programmes for a week or two, giving you a space for preparing ground
for a dialogue, then the government would probably come under some
pressure," one analyst said. But that didn't happened and the ball now
remains firmly stuck in the BNP's court. People would very genuinely
blame Khaleda Zia for continuing her vendetta and a blame game. Noted
jurist Barrister Rafiqul Huq told the Daily Observer That "Khaleda's
blame game is not fair".
We have said these many times in recent
weeks in different ways. But today we chose to borrow some words from a
friend, who is also a keen political observer, that nicely amplifies
"She (Khaleda Zia) is suffering from
claustrophobia and schadenfreude. She direly needs the advice of a
head-shrinker (or be sent to a loony-bin)," he says.
"Her party has
now a bunch of troglodytes who are trying to turn the clock back and
take us to the medieval age -- burning of heretics or apostates - as
they take us for like their Pakistani masters did in 1971."
don't she come out in the open ? Politicians must be inured to face
challenges. But, they want to be in the cozy cool rooms and want us to
shed our lives to enthrone them. Shame on them."