BNP Chairperson and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia turns 77 on Monday.
The party will arrange doa mahfils across the country on Tuesday (August 16) seeking long life and early recovery from diseases, reports UNB.
It was announced by BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a press conefernce held at BNP central office at Nayapaltan in the capital on Sunday.
Rizvi said their party’s all city, district, upazila and thana units will arrange the doa and milad mahfils at their offices also seeking the salvation of the departed souls of the party leaders and activists who died in the ongoing democratic movement and the recovery of those injured.
“Our beloved leader’s (Khaleda’s) 77th birthday is on Monday. Begum Khaleda Zia is an embodiment of the hopes and aspirations of the democracy-loving people of this country. All her life she struggled and did politics for democracy,” Rizvi said.
He alleged that Khaleda has been kept in jail so that the government can continue its ‘illegal activities’. “We demand her unconditional release.”
As in the last six years, the party has no programme to cut any cake to celebrate the birthday in the early hours of Monday.
Contacted, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told UNB that they have no programme, except doa mahfil, to celebrate Khaleda Zia’s birthday as she is sick.
Besides, he said they have not been celebrating her birthday for the last few years with any programme as per Khaleda’s directives. “We only pray for her wellbeing on the day.”
Amid criticisms by Awami League leaders for celebrating her birthday on the National Mourning Day, BNP marked her 71st, 72nd and 73rd, 74th, 75th and 76th birthdays by holding doa mahfils, instead of cutting any cake.
Khaleda was sent to Old Dhaka Central Jail after she was convicted in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case by a lower court on February 8, 2018.
On March 25, 2020, the BNP chief was released from jail upon an executive order on some conditions considering her age and humanitarian ground following an application by her family.
According to BNP’s website, Khaleda Zia was born to Iskandar Majumder and Taiyaba Majumder on August 15, 1945, in Dinajpur district. She is the fourth among her four sisters and two brothers.
Meanwhile, the nation is set to observe the National Mourning Day on the same day commemorating the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members on August 15, 1975.
Khaleda and her party used to observe August 15 as her birthday since 1991 amid controversy over her date of birth.
Awami League leaders have long been claiming that her birthday is September 5, 1945, as per her marriage certificate while August 19, 1946, as per her first passport. Khaleda herself put the date as August 9, 1944 while registering for her matriculation exams, they said.