Opposition supporters staged a protest, demanding that Khaleda Zia be allowed to go abroad for medical treatment.
Dhaka, Bangladesh – Supporters of the main opposition party in Bangladesh organized protests across the country, demanding that their imprisoned leaders be allowed to go abroad for treatment immediately.
Khaleda Zia, 76-year-old leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and prime rival of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for corruption.
After she was found guilty of corruption charges three years ago, she was barred from traveling abroad by the court-BNP Paribas said the conviction was politically motivated.
After her health had “significantly deteriorated”, the opposition leader was sent to the intensive care unit of a private hospital in the capital Dhaka earlier this month.
BNP Secretary-General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said on Tuesday that Bangladesh’s healthcare system had “no further treatment” for Zia and she needed “immediate treatment abroad”.
According to her personal doctor, Dr. AZM Zahid Hossain, Zia is the three prime minister of this South Asian country. In addition to the existing rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, she also suffers from liver disease, chronic kidney disease and heart disease.
Thousands of opposition activists held multiple demonstrations, rallies and hunger strikes to express their demands. Secretary-General Alam Gill warned that if Zia is not allowed to travel, he will initiate a government to seek the downfall of Hasina’s leadership. exercise.
The government has instructed the police to maintain a “red alert” nationwide to prevent anyone from creating a “chaotic and unwelcome situation”.
‘The law will decide’
Prime Minister Hasina seemed unmoved by these requests, saying that whether or not to allow Zia to go abroad is determined by her country’s laws.
“I did everything I could for Khaleda Zia,” Hasina said, adding that she used her power to allow Zia to serve her sentence at home instead of in prison and receive the treatment she needed in the country.
After the COVID-19 outbreak, the government allowed Zia to be temporarily released from prison at the request of her family in March last year. But she still cannot leave Bangladesh.
Law Minister Anisul Hook said that the government does not lack Zia’s sympathy.
“We understand her mood [BNP] People in the party, we are really considering making a decision on her treatment abroad. But we must find out whether legal recourse allows such actions,” he told Al Jazeera.
But the leaders and activists of the French Nationalist Party firmly believe that Zia is the victim of “personal revenge” by Prime Minister Hasina.
They are called “Battle Begums” (Begum is a South Asian term referring to high-ranking Muslim women) because of their vicious political competition, because since the BNP led by Zia in 1991, they have alternated power and rhythm patterns. He came to power after the first election after nearly a decade of military rule.
The Awami League (AL) led by Hasina defeated the BNP in 1996. But Zia made a comeback in 2001.
Since coming to power in 2008, AL has never lost an election. However, subsequent elections were harmed by allegations of opposition boycotts and widespread vote manipulation.
Kamrul Ahsan Nomani, a French Nationalist activist based in Dhaka, said that not allowing Zia to receive treatment abroad was Hasina’s “personal revenge.”
“she [Zia] She was found guilty in the Kangaroo Court and now they say she cannot go abroad for treatment because of legal obstacles. This is just a joke. “
“The real fact is that Begum Zia’s treatment abroad was not rejected because of legal issues. The whole country knows that it was rejected because Prime Minister Hasina didn’t want it,” Nomani added.
Faham Abdus Salam, a Bangladeshi writer and political commentator living in Australia, said that the refusal to treat a 76-year-old critically ill woman is a “new low” for the current government of Bangladesh.
“Like any third world dictator, Sheikh Hasina will generously compensate her loyalty and ruthlessly crush her opponents,” Salam told Al Jazeera.
He claimed that many senior leaders of the Awami League agreed to allow Zia to travel for treatment, “but they are really afraid of Hasina’s revenge and will not say a word in public.”