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Khaleda freed: Tarique relieved of party post, barred from doing politics

The government yesterday released former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia from jail as she was awarded bail by the Court paving the way for a credible election to restore democracy in the country.

Begum Zia and her younger son Arafat Rahman were arrested in GATCO graft case on Sept. 3 last year. The High Court granted her bail in all the four graft cases during the last several days ,the last one on Tuesday.

Begum Zia, who was prime minister of the country for two terms, was greeted by thousands of party leaders and workers when she came out from the makeshift jail at the sanghsad Bhaban.They raised full throated slogans seeing their beloved leader.The members of the law enforcing agencies had a difficult time to maintain discipline and control the cheering crowd who thronged the jail gate to have a glimpse of Begum Zia after long one year.

After stepping out the special jail Begum Zia waved to the crowd who showered her with flower patels amid slogans.

BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain and BNP leaders SQ Chowdhury, ASM Hannan Shah and Goyeshwar Chandra Roy , among others, were present on the occasion.

Immediately after her release from jail, she accompanied by senior party leaders went straight to the grave of her husband former president Ziaur Rahman and offered munjat.Thereafter, she went to the BSMMU Hospital at Shahbagh to see her ailing son Tarique Rahman. At the BSMMU too, a large number of party workers and general people gathered to see her.

When surrounded by newsmen at the hospital, Begum Zia said”I am not saying anything now. I will say everything later.”

Referring to Tarique Rahman’s physical condition, Khaleda Zia said she talked to the physicians who advised sending him abroad on emergency basis for his better treatment.

“Physicians said Tarique would have to stay abroad for his treatment for a long time,” she said, adding that he will not conduct any political activity during his stay abroad. “After returning home cured, he will resume his political activities,” she said.

“Tarique wants to be relieved of political activities as well as of his political posts. He won’t perform any political activity unless he recovers from his illness,” said khaleda Zia.

She broke down in tears telling the newsmen about condition of her son, who had wielded immense power during her rule and was arrested by army-led joint forces after the state of emergency was declared in the country.

Earlier, after reaching the party office, Khaleda held a meeting with party’s standing-committee members.

Later she went to the party office at Naya Paltan in the city. There she told reporters “Emergency should be lifted as it is not possible to hold any credible election under emergency”.

The BNP chairperson said, “We do not want upazila election before national elections.” Describing BNP as an election-oriented party, Begum Zia, who had headed government thrice since the last restoration of democracy through the 1990 people-power movement, said if the government creates election atmosphere, her party would certainly participate in the upcoming elections.

“We are ready to sit in discussion and electoral dialogue with the government. “Election has to be held with the participation of all parties.”

She urged the interim government to take rapid initiatives so that “people’s government can come to power for healing the country’s deplorable condition”.

Khaleda reached her Dhaka Cantonment home at around 5:20pm.

Earlier at 11: 30 am,Deputy inspector general of prisons Major Shamsul Haider Siddiqui said the BNP chairperson was now free to go home on bail.

Bail bonds for Khaleda were submitted by her lawyers earlier on Wednesday to four separate courts conducting the GATCO, Niko, Zia Orphanage Trust and Barapukuria coalmine cases.

The government also wants Khaleda Zia to travel abroad for medical treatment for her arthritic knee, but she does not want to leave, sources said

Added on - September 11, 2008 | Filed under News