Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the government freed the BNP chairperson from jail for 6 months on March 25, 2020, nearly 25 months after she had been convicted and sent to jail in graft charges
BNP on Monday demanded immediate withdrawal of the government’s ban on its ailing chairperson Khaleda Zia Khaleda from going aboard for the sake of ensuring her rights to receiving advance medical treatment as per her choice.
"As far as we know, she [Khaleda Zia] is very ill. She needs advanced treatment which is not possible here. Even, it was not possible at the hospital (BSMMU) where she had stayed for a long time,” said BNP Standing Committee Member Nazrul Islam Khan.
He said: “She [Khaleda] may have to go abroad for the treatment, but there’s a government ban on it. We demand that this restriction be lifted and her basic rights to receive medical treatment be ensured allowing her to go wherever when she wants to.”
Nazrul made the demand at a press conference arranged by the party at its chairperson’s Gulshan office to convey the outcome of BNP standing committee’s meeting held on Saturday last.
Amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the government freed Khaleda Zia from jail for six months through an executive order suspending her sentences on March 25, nearly 25 months after she had been convicted and sent to jail in graft cases.
On August 27, the government extended her release for six more months on two conditions – she would take treatment at home and would not go abroad during the time.
BNP leaders on various occasions said though their party chief was released, she has been kept under “house arrest as no one, except her close relatives, can now meet her.”
Nazrul said the ban imposed by the government on their chairperson’s movement is “inhumane and unreasonable.”
“There’re instances that even jailed political leaders went abroad for treatment. But Khaleda Zia has been restricted from doing so. We think this inhumane and illogical ban needs to be lifted so that she can decide when and where she wants to go for treatment considering her physical condition,” he said.
As the tenure of suspension of her sentences is going to end soon, the BNP leader urged the government to release Khaleda without imposing any condition so that she can live independently, receive proper treatment and exercise her rights as a citizen of the country.
Nazrul said their party standing committee members at their meeting strongly denounced the issuance of an arrest warrant against Khaleda Zia by a Narail court.
They also protested obstructions to BNP leaders and activists from joining the party’s rally in Barisal on February 18 and an attack on Sylhet city Mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury and his supporters.
Nazrul Islam Khan said the meeting also voiced its concerns over the appointment of Attorney General AM Amin Uddin as a member of Awami League’s information and research sub-committee.
“Inducting a person having a constitutional post in the post of any political party is a new example in the history of Bangladesh. It’s undoubtedly a vicious attempt to nakedly politicize the office of the highest law officer of the state. It’s also a bad instance,” the BNP leader observed.
He said their party thinks Amin Uddin should resign either from the party post or from that of the attorney general to make sure that the image of the country's judiciary and the impartiality of the state's chief legal officer are not questioned.