Voicing frustration and grievances over the denial of permission to send its ailing chairperson Khaleda Zia abroad, BNP on Sunday night said the government made the decision motivated by “vindictive politics”.
Talking to reporters after visiting the BNP chief at Evercare Hospital, party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul also claimed that the government turned down her family’s application seeking permission to send her aboard as part of a plot to eliminate her from politics.
“Undoubtedly, we’re upset and angry over the decision. She was convicted in false cases with a motive to remove her from politics. There’s nothing new, as such a move was also taken during the 1/11,” he said.
Fakhrul said it is very clear that the government wants to eliminate Khaleda from politics following the footstep of the 1/11 regime. “That’s why the government has taken such a decision. “We think this is not a justified decision. It’s unfortunate that the government has taken the decision motivated by its vindictive politics.”
He said the government can allow Khaleda to go abroad or waive her sentences by the same section, CrPC’s section 401, with which they suspended her punishment. “They can forgive a condemned killer or send him abroad. But they can't uphold humanity, values and courtesy towards a popular leader who has contributions to the country’s independence and who played a pivotal role in restoring democracy in the country."
Asked whether they will now appeal to the court or the President for exonerating Khaleda’s sentences paving a way for taking her abroad, Fakhrul said the BNP chairperson’s family will decide their next course of action. “It’s not our party’s application, but her family appealed to the government for taking her abroad. The family will now decide what they may do.”
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He said most BNP leaders were implicated in “false” cases while their party’s 35 lakh leaders and activists were also accused in “false” charges as part of a move to keep BNP away from politics. “The main plot is against Khaleda Zia as she’s the most popular leader in the country and the symbol of independence, sovereignty and democracy to the country’s crores of people.”
Fakhrul said Khaleda was sent to jail in false cases when she tried to wage a movement against the “fascist” regime before the last general election.
He said Khaleda has not been getting proper treatment since she has been sent to jail. “We met the Home Minister twice to ensure proper treatment of her. Unfortunately, when she had been shifted to PG (BSMMU) hospital, she didn’t receive the necessary treatment.”
The BNP leader said though Khaleda was released last year amid the coronavirus outbreak, it was not useful for her as she stayed at home.
He said Khaleda has been receiving treatment at Evercare Hospital as she was infected with the coronavirus. “But doctors themselves said this treatment is not sufficient for her as she is now under serious health risk in consideration of her age and comorbidities due to her post-Covid complications.”
Earlier in the day, the government turned down the application of Khaleda Zia’s family seeking permission to send her abroad for advance treatment as there is no scope for her to avail of such a scope, said Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan.
“The Law Ministry has informed us that there’s no legal provision to allow convicted Khaleda Zia to go abroad for treatment. In the light of such an opinion, the application of her family can’t be granted,” he told reporters at his Secretariat office.
He said the Law Ministry made it clear that as Khaleda was earlier given a facility by suspending her sentences under section 401 of the CrPC, now there is no scope to waive her sentences after reconsidering the same section for the second time.
Asaduzzaman said they received the application of Khaleda’s family on humanitarian grounds and sent it to the Law Ministry for its legal opinion. “We’re doing everything as per the law. BNP can apply (for sending Khaleda abroad, but we can't do anything beyond the law.”
Talking to UNB, Law Minister Anisul Haq said, “Khaleda Zia's sentences have been suspended as per section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), on condition that she can’t go abroad. So, there’s now no scope to grant her family’s application by relaxing this condition,” he explained.
On Wednesday last, Khaleda’s younger brother Shamim Iskander met Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan at his Dhanmondi residence and submitted an application seeking permission to send her abroad for advanced treatment.
The 76-year-old BNP chief, who tested positive for Covid-19 for the second time on April 24, was admitted to Evercare Hospital on April 27 for a thorough health checkup.
She was shifted to the CCU of the hospital with shortness of breath around 4pm on Monday last. Her breathing problem later eased.
On April 28, a 10-member medical board, headed by Prof Shahabuddin Talukder, was formed for the treatment of Khaleda at the Evercare Hospital a day after her admission there.
Khaleda Zia tested positive for Covid-19 on April 10 as eight people at her residence were infected with the virus. She underwent the second Covid-19 test on April 24 and her report was positive.
Meanwhile, Khaleda Zia tested negative for Covid-19 on Saturday, 27 days after she had been infected with the deadly virus.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government freed Khaleda Zia from jail for six months through an executive order suspending her sentences on March 25 last year.