BNP on Sunday urged the government to take necessary steps so that ailing former mayor of undivided Dhaka City Corporation and freedom fighter Sadeque Hossain Khoka can return home from the USA.
“He (Khoka) told us and his friends to bury him in Bangladesh. His son also phoned me this (Sunday) morning that they want to fulfill this wish of his father,” said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Speaking at a doa mahfil, he further said, “We call upon the government to take steps so that he (Khoka) can return to the country.”
Dhaka north city unit BNP arranged the programme at the party’s Nayapaltan Central Office seeking early recovery of Khoka, a vice chairman of the party.
Khoka has been undergoing treatment in a very critical condition at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York since October 18.
The BNP leader went to the USA along with his wife Ishrat Hossain in 2014 for treatment while the validity of their passports expired in 2017.
Fakhrul said Khoka has been fighting for life as his condition turned critical. “He’s not only popular among Dhaka city dwellers, but also among people across the country, particularly those who believe in the politics of nationalism.”
He said Khoka was truly generous to all the leaders and activists of Dhaka city unit BNP, and he always came forward in aid of them when it was necessary.
The BNP leader alleged that the government forced the ex-mayor to live in exile by implicating him in ‘false and fabricated’ cases. “He has been suffering from deadly disease cancer. “I met him (Khoka) several times in New York and every time he told me that was not ill he would return home…but he has to consult physicians every week.”
He alleged that not only Khoka, but also many of their leaders have become sick as they have been subjected to ‘repression and misrule’ of the current government.
Fakhrul said BNP standing committee member Rafiqul Islam Miah is also very ill. “This is how you’ll see the elderly people around us are now falling ill due to the current condition of the country.”
He urged people to pray to the Almighty Allah for the quick recovery of Khoka and ailing BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and her release from jail.
Khoka stepped into politics through joining Moulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani’s National Awami Party (NAP).
Later, he joined BNP, and was made party’s Dhaka city unit president.
Khoka was first elected MP in 1991 from Sutrapur-Kotwali seat and subsequently made State Minister for Youth and Sports.
He was elected MP from the same seat in 2001 and given the charge of the Minister of Fisheries and Livestock.
Later, he contested Dhaka City Corporation election in 2002 and was elected mayor. He held the post for nearly nine years.
Khoka, also a former minister, was arrested days before the January-5 national election in 2014.
Released on bail from jail, he was admitted to Birdem Hospital in the capital, but doctors could not exactly detect his health problem.
Later, he went to the USA on May 14, 2014 and has been receiving treatment there since then.unb