BNP leaders and activists started a mass hunger strike programme in the capital today demanding that its "critically ill" Chairperson Khaleda Zia be allowed to go abroad for advanced treatment.
As part of a countrywide programme, hundreds of leaders and activists of the party and its associate bodies began the hunger strike in front of their Nayapaltan central office at 9am and will continue the strike till 4pm.
Party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir formally inaugurated the programme.
Among others present were standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Mirza Abbas, Nazrul Islam Khan and all BNP affiliates.
Mirza Fakhrul urged all to observe the programme till 4pm in a peaceful manner maintaining discipline.
He said the programme will also be observed in all metropolitan cities and district towns.
The BNP Secretary General further said a mass uprising will start ensuring fall of the current government if Khaleda Zia is not sent abroad for treatment immediately.
He also announced that rallies will take place nationwide on Monday to support their cause.
"Khaleda Zia is fighting a battle between life and death. She's the most beloved leader of the people of Bangladesh. It's inhumane that she won't be given a scope to receive treatment abroad," he said.
The BNP leader hoped that democratic political parties, including the 20-party alliance partners, will express solidarity with their party by joining the hunger strike programme.
Khaleda, a 76-year-old former prime minister, was readmitted to Evercare Hospital on 13 November, six days after she had returned home from the hospital.
The BNP chief's physicians said she has been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, ophthalmological and dental complications.
They also said she is now suffering from critical cardiac, kidney problems while her blood sugar is out of control and hemoglobin level in her blood has dropped.
On behalf of the family, Khaleda's younger brother, Shamim Iskander, submitted an application to the Home Ministry on 11 November urging the government to allow her to go abroad for better treatment.