The government’s decision on allowing Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia to go abroad for better treatment is likely to be issued today while a medical team member of Khaleda said that they would take the final decision after getting clearance from the government.
‘The decision on Khaleda Zia’s application might come by tomorrow,’ law minister Anisul Huq told New Age on Friday night.
He said that his ministry was still working on it.
Meanwhile, BNP vice-chairman and medical board member AZM Zahid Hossain, while addressing a press conference, told reporters that the physical condition of the former prime minister was ‘unchanged’ as she is suffering from some post-Covid-related complications.
When a journalist asked Zahid, who is undergoing treatment in the coronary care unit in Evercare Hospital, whether Khaleda would be permitted to travel or not, he said that the medical team will make a decision in this regard after the government allows her for treatment abroad.
A senior BNP leader told New Age that the party and Khaleda’s family are planning to send Khaleda to a hospital in Singapore through an air ambulance as she is not fit enough to travel to London, where his elder son Tarique Rahman and most family members are living.
He said that the ultimate target of the family is sending Khaleda Zia to London.
An official of the Department of Immigration and Passport confirmed that the office already printed a passport to reissue it to Khaleda Zia as her passport expired in 2019.
He said that the passport would be delivered to Khaleda’s family after an order from the high officials.
Earlier on Thursday, the law minister said that the government would give its decision as soon as possible on the application sent by of Khaleda’s family.
Shamim Eskander, younger brother of Khaleda submitted the application to home minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Wednesday night.
The law minister said that there was no role of the judiciary in this regard as Khaleda’s conviction in two cases had been suspended on an executive order.
‘Her conviction was suspended under section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure with two conditions,’ Anisul said, adding that there is a scope in the section of suspending any conviction with conditions or without conditions.
‘The section has already been implemented in her case. Now, we need to see whether the conditions could be relaxed,’ he said.
After receiving the application from Khaleda’s brother, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan forwarded the application to the law ministry for review.
According to Khaleda’s family and party leaders, alongside post-Covid complications, 74-year-old Khaleda was also suffering from high blood sugar and breathing difficulties and heart-related complications.
Khaleda, who had tested positive for Covid-19 on April 11, was also suffering from other health complications, including severe arthritis. She tested negative for Covid-19 on Thursday.
After she had been tested positive for Covid-19, Khaleda on April 15 went to the hospital for a CT scan and the report of the test showed a very nominal lung infection.
She again tested positive for Covid-19 in the second test on April 24.
Her medical team members on April 25 said that the BNP chairperson’s health condition was fine and she had no visible symptoms of Covid-19.
Khaleda was admitted to Evercare Hospital on April 28 for some tests as a part of her follow-up medical check-up.
But after hospitalisation, her condition deteriorated and she was shifted to the coronary care unit with respiratory problems on Monday.
Khaleda, who had been convicted in two cases, has been staying at her Gulshan house since her release from jail on March 25, 2020 on an executive order on conditions that she would take medical treatment at home and would not leave the country.
She was initially jailed on February 8, 2018 for five years in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
On October 30, 2018, the High Court doubled her five-year jail term in the case.
She was also sentenced to seven years in jail in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case on October 29, 2018.
Khaleda was released from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University’s prison cell on March 25, 2020, suspending her convictions, on conditions that she would take medical treatment from home and would not leave the country.
The time of suspension of her convictions was extended for another six months on September 25, 2020.
The suspension of her convictions was extended for six more months for the third time on March 15, 2021 on the same conditions.
She has been granted interim bail in all but the two cases related to Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust.
The BNP has termed all the cases against Khaleda as false and fabricated.
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