In Khaleda’s absence, Tarique to lead BNP from exile in London

Khaleda Zia’s presumed political heir and son Tarique Rahman will be shepherding the BNP through one of its toughest times while its chairperson remains in jail for corruption.
Published : 8 Feb 2018, 08:06 PM
Updated : 12 Feb 2018, 03:54 PM

Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique, who has also been convicted on same charges, has been living in exile in London since he went there for treatment after being released on bail during the 2007-08 caretaker government.  

A special judge’s court in Dhaka sentenced former prime minister Khaleda to five years in prison and Tarique and four others to 10 years for embezzling Tk 21 million of the Zia Orphanage Trust on Thursday.

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir briefed the media after the verdict at the party’s Naya Paltan offices.

Asked how the party will be run now or whether Khaleda had given any instructions, he said the instructions were ‘clearly stated’ in the BNP’s constitution.“You (journalists) have nothing to worry about. The party will be run at its own pace,” Mirza Fakhrul said.

Asked what was written in the party constitution, he said, “Read it yourself.”

Later, BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan told that the party’s constitution stipulates the senior vice chairman will temporarily act as chairman in the absence of the chairperson.

Tarique Rahman with his mother Khaleda Zia. File Photo

The BNP amended its constitution in the last national council in 2016, creating the post of senior vice chairman for Tarique.

Tarique is also convicted in another case over money laundering.

“As the senior vice chairman is abroad now, the Standing Committee will work by consulting him,” a member of the party’s policymaking body told on condition of anonymity.

When Khaleda was arrested during the 2007-08 emergency, the reformist leaders of the party made late finance minister M Saifur Rahman the chief, but the fraction failed to draw support.

Speaking at the National Executive Committee meeting on Saturday ahead of the verdict, Khaleda warned the BNP leaders against any such treacherous act this time.

There are speculations that the BNP changed its constitution recently ahead of the verdict.

It had also informed the Election Commission about the matter but had not specified.

Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader claimed the BNP dropped the part of its constitution which bars any convicted person from leading the party.

According to the Section 7 of the BNP constitution which is on its website now, people who are convicted under the President’s Order No. 8, bankrupt, mentally disturbed, and infamous for graft and crimes are not eligible to become a member of the party.