The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) which boycotted the January 07 national election over a political standoff has reiterated its vow to restore democracy in the country through struggle and mass movement.

The fresh promise came on the occasion of the 88th birth anniversary of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman on Friday after the party pressed for holding of a free and fair election under a non-partisan government.

The BNP celebrated the birth anniversary of late president Ziaur Rahman by placing wreaths at his graveyard at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the capital.

"We'll restore democracy in the country as early as possible with the support from the democratically minded people," BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan told the media after placing a wreath.

"The democracy that was established by Ziaur Rahman is now absent from the country," he observed.

"It's our promise on the occasion of late president Ziaur Rahman's birth anniversary to restore democracy in the country."

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, another standing committee member of BNP, said they were celebrating Ziaur Rahman's birth anniversary in a critical moment of the country.

"Bangladesh was liberated just for democracy ... but the democracy is now disappearing from the country," he said.

"A one-party rule is now prevailing in the country, which is also echoed by the world human rights organisations and democratic countries," Dr Moyeen continued. "The people don't have their fundamental rights to expression and voting too."

The BNP leader further said the countrymen earn their livelihood through hardworking and pay taxes despite having a burden of a Tk 300-billion loan (taken by the government) on their shoulders.

He blamed the government for destroying the country's economy by plundering public money. "What's the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) said about the country's election is just the reflection of the country's public opinions."

Mr Khan also claimed that not even a single country, government or international organisation said the general election was free and fair.

The Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, the student wing of BNP, could not bring out a procession as they did not get police permission.

a large number of policemen were deployed in front of the party's central office at Nayapaltan. However, the JCD has decided to bring out processions from their respective areas.

 BNP senior leader Nazrul Islam Khan on Friday said the statement of the Transparency International, Bangladesh (TIB) on the 12th Parliamentary election is a 'reflection of public opinion'.

Talking to the journalists at the grave of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman, he also said their party together with the people of the country will restore democracy by toppling the current regime through a street movement with fresh programmes.

As his attention was drawn to the ministers' comments opposing TIB's statement on the national election, the BNP leader said, "Who didn't say that this election was not fair... everyone said that the election was not fair. So what TIB has said is reflection of public opinion."

Nazrul, a BNP Standing Committee member, said what BNP has been saying about the election is also reflection of public opinion. "So, TIB did not say this (election was not fair) as BNP liked it. What it said was the fact."

Leaders and activists of BNP and its associate bodies, led by the party standing committee members, paid homage to its founder Ziaur Rahman by placing wreaths at his grave, marking his 88th birth anniversary.