The acting secretary-general of the pro-government faction of the BNP, M Hafiz Uddin Ahmed, on Saturday said he has little faith in the statements made by Khaleda Zia’s counsels on her sending the purported letter to the Election Commission.
‘I do not believe the statements of the lawyers and neither does Khandakar Delwar Hossain. He said political statements cannot be issued from jail and I think that he was right. I do not want to talk on the issue as it is still sub judice and hope there will be a direction from the High Court in this regard in the next few days,’ said Hafiz at a news briefing.
He recalled Khandakar Delwar’s statement after one of Khaleda’s attorneys, Mahbub Uddin Khokan, said the detained chairperson had told him that she preferred ‘unity in the party at any cost’.
‘We think we are the mainstream of the party and we are ready to make any sacrifice for the party’s unity, and they [Delwar-led faction] should also be ready for sacrifice,’ he said, responding to a question on unity moves in the party.
‘The chairperson asked us to be united at any cost and we tried to do so, but first it needs a meeting. The dispute can be settled through discussion if both the sides are ready to compromise,’ he added.
Hafiz said that unity cannot be brought about by speeches or statements to the press — it can only be created through discussion. ‘They know it very well, and so do we,’ he said.
‘Unofficial communications will continue between us. As soon the election schedule is announced, both the factions will face severe pressure from the grassroots-level workers and activists to unite,’ he said.
When he was asked about the other faction’s demand for resignation of Saifur Rahaman, Hafiz said, ‘Saifur Rahman is the top leader in the party after Khaleda Zia. Why should he resign? Once they sent only an assistant office secretary to him for discussion. Khandakar Delwar should himself come to meet Saifur Rahman,’ he said.
Hafiz made the statement within 24 hours after the statement made by the deputy inspector-general of prisons, Major Shamsul Haider Siddiqui, about Khaleda’s reported communiqué to the chief election commissioner and the High Court. ‘No detainee can make a political decision,’ said Shamsul, referring to the provisions of the jail code, at a press conference at Dhaka Central Jail on Sunday.
Khandakar Delwar Hossain, when approached for his reaction to Hafiz’s comment, declined to say anything. ‘I will make my observations after getting more information. I should not make any comment on the basis of hearsay,’ he said.