The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party said on Wednesday that election in the country would not be allowed without the impartial election-time caretaker government system being restored.

‘Don’t try to hold an election without a caretaker government. It will not be allowed anymore. The people of this country will not allow it,’ BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said at a programme in Thakurgaon.

Thakurgaon district unit BNP organised the programme as part of the central programme of Doa Mahfil to pray for BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia’s recovery from illness.

‘Today, not only the BNP but also the international community are saying that the previous elections under the Awami League were not fair. If the election is also not held with the participation of all parties this time, they will not accept it,’ Fakhrul said.

He said that the BNP would gather all its forces to release Khaleda Zia, withdraw the false cases against the party leaders and activists, and force this government to resign and hold elections under a neutral, non-partisan government.

Fakhrul said that in 1981, BNP founder Ziaur Rahman was brutally killed by opposition forces.

He said that after that, many thought that the BNP would be wiped out, but Khaleda Zia, the wife of Ziaur Rahman, held Zia’s politics and the philosophy of Bangladesh nationalism, and at her call, millions of people took up the flag of independence, the flag of sovereignty, the flag of nationalism, and above all, the flag of democracy, and she led the party through the adverse conditions by enduring the tyranny and torture of dictators.

‘During this struggle, she went to jail many times. Even so, she never bowed down. She took this struggle to a rational level by following the path of the people with her uncompromising leadership. It was under her leadership that Bangladesh was freed from dictatorship in 1990. The HM Ershad government was forced to leave power,’ Fakhrul said.

He also said that in 1971, Khaleda came to Dhaka from Chittagong cantonment with her two children. There, she was arrested at a relative’s house and sent to prison.

‘She [Khaleda] was in prison for nine months. She was not a political figure then, she was a housewife. Since the day Ziaur Rahman was brutally killed, the flame of fire awakened in her blood, and she started her struggle that day to make Bangladesh a united, democratic state,’ Fakhrul said.

Fakhrul said that none of the opposition party leaders, activists, or their children are employed. ‘I want to tell the government clearly, release Khaleda Zia immediately and provide her better treatment,’ he said.