Protests in Bangladesh after ex-PM Zia’s well being deteriorates

Opposition supporters stage protests demanding Khaleda Zia be allowed to travel overseas for therapy.

Dhaka, Bangladesh – Supporters of Bangladesh’s essential opposition celebration have organised protests throughout the nation demanding that their jailed chief be instantly allowed to go overseas for therapy.

Khaleda Zia, the 76-year-old chief of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the primary rival of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has been serving a 10-year jail time period for corruption.

She has been barred by the courtroom from travelling overseas after she was convicted on corruption costs three years in the past – a conviction the BNP says was politically motivated.

The opposition chief was admitted to the vital care unit of a personal hospital within the capital Dhaka early this month after her well being situation “significantly worsened”.

Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, BNP secretary-general, stated on Tuesday that Bangladesh’s healthcare system has “no further treatment” for Zia and she or he wants “treatment abroad immediately”.

Zia, a three-time prime minister of the South Asian nation, is affected by liver illness, power kidney illness and a coronary heart ailment along with her present circumstances of rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, in keeping with her private doctor Dr AZM Zahid Hossain.

Thousands of opposition activists have staged a number of demonstrations, rallies and starvation strikes to press home their calls for, with Secretary-General Alamgir warning of waging a marketing campaign in search of the autumn of the Hasina led-government if Zia just isn’t allowed to travel.

The authorities has directed the police to stay on “red alert” throughout the nation in order that no people can create “chaos and unwanted situation”.

‘The law will decide’

Prime Minister Hasina appeared unmoved by the calls for, saying that the regulation of the land would resolve whether or not Zia can be allowed to go overseas.

Bangladesh''s Prime Minister Sheikh HasinaPrime Minister Sheikh Hasina and ex-PM Khaleda Zia have been known as the ‘Battling Begums’ as a result of their vicious political rivalry [File: Stephanie Keith/Reuters]

“I have done whatever I can for Khaleda Zia,” Hasina stated, including that utilizing her energy, she has allowed Zia to serve her sentence at home as an alternative of jail and obtain the required therapy inside the nation.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the federal government in March final 12 months granted Zia short-term launch from jail on the request of her household. But she nonetheless can’t depart Bangladesh.

Law Minister Anisul Huq stated the federal government doesn’t lack compassion for Zia.

“We understand the sentiment of her [BNP] party people and we are genuinely thinking of taking a decision about her treatment abroad. But we have to find out whether legal recourse allows such action,” he instructed Al Jazeera.

But BNP leaders and activists strongly imagine Zia is a sufferer of Prime Minister Hasina’s “personal vengeance”.

They have been known as the “Battling Begums” (Begum is a South Asian time period that refers to a Muslim lady of excessive rank) as a result of their vicious political rivalry, as they alternated energy with metronomic regularity since 1991 when the Zia-led BNP got here to energy following the primary elections after nearly a decade of navy rule.

The Hasina-led Awami League (AL) bought the higher of the BNP in 1996. But Zia made a comeback in 2001.

The AL has not misplaced an election since coming to energy in 2008. Subsequent elections, nevertheless, have been marred by opposition boycotts and accusations of widespread vote-rigging.

Dhaka-based BNP activist Kamrul Ahsan Nomani stated not permitting Zia to obtain therapy overseas is “just an act of personal vengeance” by Hasina.

“She [Zia] was convicted in a kangaroo court and now they say she can’t be allowed to go abroad for treatment as there are legal barriers. This is just a joke.”

“The real truth is, Begum Zia’s treatment abroad isn’t being denied because there are legal problems. The whole country knows that it is being denied because Prime Minister Hasina doesn’t want it,” Nomani added.

Australia-based Bangladeshi author and political commentator Faham Abdus Salam says refusing therapy to a 76-year-old critically sick lady is a “new low” for the present Bangladeshi administration.

“Like any third world dictator, Sheikh Hasina will lavishly compensate loyalty and ruthlessly crush her opponents,” Salam instructed Al Jazeera.

He claimed that many senior Awami League leaders are in favour of permitting Zia to travel for therapy, “but they are genuinely afraid of Hasina’s vengeance and will not say a word in public”.