Bangladesh Nationalist Party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday said while the health condition of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia was deteriorating on a daily basis, the government was pushing her towards death in jail by denying her access to proper treatment.
Speaking at a press conference at the BNP chief’s Gulshan office, he demanded immediate release of Khaleda Zia and alleged that the government was trying to kill Khaleda Zia in jail by resorting to various tricks including denying bail as well as treatment at a hospital of her choice.
‘The government is making all out effort to prolong Khaleda Zia’s stay in jail by creating obstacles to her release by resorting to various ploys. They (govt) are trying to interfere in the court procedure and push her towards death in jail without treatment,’ Mirza Fakhrul said.
Fakhrul further said though Khaleda Zia, also former prime minister, deserves bail in the cases she was convicted, the government was depriving her of it.
‘The government is showing an inhuman attitude towards Khaleda by depriving her of her legal rights of bail and receiving treatment only to kill her inside jail.’
‘It’s also tantamount to violating the constitution,’ the BNP leader added.
He said that health condition of Khaleda was deteriorating every day at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University hospital.
‘You know she is a patient of uncontrolled diabetes and insulin is not working in her present situation. She is also a patient of rheumatic arthritis. Both of her shoulders have become frozen and she cannot even move without help,’ he said.
‘We even proposed to the government that should she get bail we would bear expenses of her treatment at a hospital of her choice,’ he said.
He also criticised the government for its double standard, which is clearly demonstrated in giving bails to the politicians. ‘When convicted, Nazmul Huda and several other leaders of Awami League obtained bails, why is it that Khaleda Zia cannot get bail?’ asked Fakhrul.
‘If anything bad happens to her, it will not be good for the democracy of the country,’ Fakhrul said.
Opposition leader Khaleda was kept in the Old Dhaka Central Jail following her conviction in a graft case in February 2018 as the new jail at Keraniganj was not prepared for female inmates, said the home minister.
Khaleda, 75, was admitted to the hospital on April 1.
She was suffering from arthritis, uncontrolled diabetes and other ailments. When she was admitted to the BSMMU, its doctors said that she could not walk without support.
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said on May 14 that Khaleda Zia would be shifted to Dhaka Central Jail at Keraniganj after her release from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital.
He told reporters at his office that he came to know that Khaleda’s health condition was now better and she was fasting during Ramadan.
Glorifying Khaleda Zia as a freedom fighter and a protector of democracy in the country, Mirza Fakhrul said the three times former prime minister Khaleda was the most sacrificing character in contemporary politics and demanded her immediate release.
‘She made decisive contributions to the nation during the war of independence, by helping to restore democracy in times of political turmoil and by upholding the rule of law,’ he said, adding that ‘she was imprisoned and tortured at the jail just after the [late president] Ziaur Rahman left home and announced the independence of the country [in March 1971.]
Fakhrul denied rumours that BNP was negotiating with the government for Khaleda’s bail or parole.
‘We are fighting legal battles and demanding her release through political means,’ Fakhrul said.
‘Earlier, I said, and again today I repeat that the decision of taking oath of some BNP PMs-elect was urgent in the context of the political reality we are now facing and it had no connection with Khaleda getting bail,’ he said.
Fakhrul refused to take any question on India’s election result or any other issue of local political relevance at the press briefing organised to demand immediate release of BNP’s ailing chief, Khaleda Zia, from jail. BNP standing committee members Jamiruddin Sircar, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, among others were present at the programme.
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