UN calls for calm over Khaleda verdict

Staff Correspondent | Updated at 12:24am on February 10, 2018

The United Nations called on all sides to maintain restraint in the evolving political situation over a court verdict that jailed Bangladesh’s former prime minister and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia for five years in a corruption case.
‘We only recently received the report concerning the arrest and the subsequent events. We are monitoring what the events are on the ground and we will react accordingly,’ said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson of UN’s secretary-
general António Guterres’s at daily briefing in New York early Friday Bangladesh time.
‘We would, of course, be concerned about any reports of violence and at this point, we call on all sides to maintain calm and we expect to have a further reaction after we have evaluated the situation further,’ Farhan said.
The deputy spokesperson made the comments while a journalist asked about Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia’s imprisonment and types of initiatives to be taken by UN secretary-general or could he send any special envoy to Bangladesh to resolve the political crisis.
Dhaka special judge’s court-5 on Thursday jailed Khaleda for five years and her eldest son Tarique Rahman and four others for 10 years.
Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman pronounced the verdict convicting the six of breach of trust over a charity fund in the Zia Orphanage Trust case filed during the military-controlled interim regime in 2008.
Rejecting the verdict, BNP announced two-day countrywide protests for Friday and Saturday. Sporadic clashes were reported in Dhaka and many districts, including Chittagong, Lakhsmipur and Sylhet.
Government has arrested at least 3,700 BNP activists and leaders from across the country centring verdict since February 1, BNP leaders claimed.