Dhaka, 15 Feb, Abnews: BNP will launch a three-day mass signature campaign on February 17 demanding the release of its Chairperson Khaleda Zia, who is jailed for five years in a corruption case.
The programmes include collecting signatures from mass people across the country on Saturday, submitting memorandums to all the deputy commissioner offices on Sunday and staging demonstrations in all the district towns and metropolitan cities, except Dhaka, on Tuesday.
BNP General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the second phase of the protest programmes at a press briefing at the party's Nayapaltan office around 12noon.
"We want peace, not any violence. We also want to create a peaceful atmosphere in the country so that people can freely exercise their voting right.
With this goal in mind, we're announcing peaceful programmes demanding our leader's (Khaleda's) unconditional release," he said.
Fakhrul said they also want to hold a public rally at Suhrawardy Udyan in the city and soon seek permission for it after fixing a particular date.
On Feb 8, a Dhaka court sentenced BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to five years of rigorous imprisonment and fines her Tk 2 crore for financial irregularities in the Zia Orphanage Trust.
The makeshift court delivered the verdict amid tight security. It also awarded 10 years of imprisonment to five others including her son Tarique Rahman.
Khaleda was present in the court at the time of pronouncing the verdict.
The court also fined Tk 2.10 crore each in the politically significant case ahead of the parliamentary election.
After Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad, Khaleda is the second head of the government convicted in a graft case.
On 25 January, the court fixed 8 February to announce the verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust Graft case.
The Anti-Corruption Commission filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on July 3, 2008 with Ramna Police Station accusing Khaleda, her eldest son Tarique Rahman, now living in the UK, and four others of misappropriating over 2.10 crore that came as grants from a foreign bank for orphans.
Four other accused are former BNP MP Salimul Haq Kamal and businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed, former principal secretary Kamal Uddin Siddique and Mominur Rahman, nephew of late President Ziaur Rahman.Kamal Uddin Siddique and Mominur Rahman have long been absconding.