The Awami League government has kept BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia under house arrest and she is now on the brink of death, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said on Tuesday 

"The government has put Khaled Zia under house arrest, after keeping her in jail in false cases for a long time. The former prime minister is very ill now. She is at the crossroads of life and death," he said while addressing a public meeting before the procession of the Dhaka South BNP got underway in the capital.

"The government has exiled our leader Tarique Rahman abroad. Besides, all of our leaders have been sued," Mirza Fakhrul said.

The secretary-general said the government has fallen in trouble with the new US visa policy. "They [pro-government people] are now bringing smuggled money [in the form of remittance] and getting a two-and-a-half percent incentive." 

Expressing surprise, he said money launderers and similar corrupt elements are now being rewarded.

The BNP Dhaka Metropolitan South unit brought out the procession to protest the unbearable load shedding of electricity, corruption in the power sector and price hikes and to demand elections under a non-partisan caretaker government.

BNP Joint Secretary General Khairul Kabir Khokon, Dhaka South Convener Abdus Salam, Volunteer Affairs Secretary Mir Sarafat Ali Sapu, Self-Reliant Affairs Secretary Shirin Sultana, Muktijoddha Dal General Secretary Sadek Khan, Krishak Dal President Hasan Zarif Tuhin, and Dhaka District BNP President Khandkar Abu Ashfaq, among others, took part in the programme.

Mirza Fakhrul urged the government to hold elections under a non-partisan neutral government. "Otherwise, there will be no way to escape. Americahas also blocked your way of escape."

Addressing Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader, he said, "Let's come to the streets without police and law enforcement agencies and see who has the strength. Hold elections under a non-partisan government, and see who is the winner."

"The country is not the asset of anyone's father; it is yours and ours and of all. But there is now no right to speak." 

Fakhrul said, "After the Awami League came to power, they took the judiciary into their hands and cancelled the caretaker government system because they realised that the people will not vote for them."

Dhaka South BNP Convener Abdus Salam said, "Our backs are against the wall. This government has arrested our leaders, ignoring court orders. What does the government think? Can they stop us by making arrests?" 

"Even Sheikh Mujibur Rahman once understood that the people of this country no longer want the Awami League. He knew that Awami League leaders were thieves and looters. So he abolished the Awami League," he added