BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has said the Canadian Human Rights International Organization (CHRIO) conferred BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia with "Mother of Democracy" award in 2018.
He made the claim at a press conference at the BNP chairperson's Gulshan office Tuesday (8 February) adding that the award was given to her about three and a half years ago for outstanding contributions to democracy.
Fakhrul presented the crest and certificates given by the Canadian organisation to the media and said, "We are delighted to inform you that the CHRIO has provided Khaleda Zia with the award of 'Mother of Democracy' for her significant contributions to democracy and its protection."
The Canadian High Commission in Dhaka has also endorsed the award, he added.
It is written on the crest of CHRIO that the Mother of Democracy Award was given to Khaleda Zia, "In recognition of outstanding contributions and devotion to the protection and advancement of disadvantaged people as well as democracy, human rights, peace and rule of law for Bangladesh and the world beyond".
The date engraved on the crest was 31 July 2018.
When asked about the delay in announcing the award's news, Fakhrul said when the award was given to Khaleda Zia, she was in jail and later hospitalised.
"Now she has come home. We told her about this honour," added Fakhrul.
On 1 February, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia returned after an 81-day stay in the capital's Evercare Hospital for the treatment of her various health complications.
Khaleda, a 76-year-old former prime minister, has been suffering from multiple diseases, including liver cirrhosis.
Her medical board members said Khaleda immediately needs to go abroad for better treatment as she was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis.
Khaleda, convicted in two graft cases, was freed temporarily through an executive order by the government on 25 March, 2020.