Dhaka,  Wednesday
29 May 2024

Khaleda Zia’s 13th Eid in custody

Abdur Rahim

Published: 08:11, 7 April 2024

Khaleda Zia’s 13th Eid in custody

Photo : Messenger

Former three-time Prime Minister BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia is under house arrest. At the time of Corona, the Prime Minister was allowed to take treatment at home under certain conditions, including not going abroad, not participating in political programmes, not making statements. The 79-year-old former prime minister is suffering from liver cirrhosis, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, kidney and lung complications. The medical board formed for her treatment said in October last year that treatment of Khaleda Zia's liver suffering from liver cirrhosis is not possible in the country.

It has become necessary to urgently 'take her to an advanced medical center abroad' for liver transplant. When her physical condition repeatedly deteriorated, her family sought permanent bail half a hundred times in the last seven years, but she was not released. Eid is only two days later. The family members do not see the possibility of release. If Khaleda Zia remains under house arrest this time too, then the 13th Eid will be spent in Gulshan Firoza. Since going to jail on February 8, 2017, Khaleda Zia has spent four Eids in prison, one Eid at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital, one Eid at Evercare and 6 Eids under house arrest. This leader last exchanged Eid greetings on June 26, 2017 at the China Friendship Hall.

Party leaders and activists have revealed that the wife of the former army chief has been unable to celebrate Eid freely for over eight years. Khaleda Zia spends Eid day with domestic helpers and a few family members, as she remains under house arrest with restrictions preventing high-ranking party leaders from visiting her. Despite this, on the night of Eid, two members of the party's standing committee manage to meet on behalf of the party. It's been noted that Khaleda Zia has spent two previous Eids similarly, during her imprisonment in the Sub Jail area of Sangsad Bhavan during the 1/11 government.

After being imprisoned in 2018, Khaleda Zia spent two Eids at the abandoned old central jail on Nazim Uddin Road in Dhaka. Following that, she had to celebrate two Eids while undergoing treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) hospital in 2019. Later, BNP Chief Khaleda Zia spent one Eid at Ever Care Hospital and seven Eids at Feroza, Gulshan.

After the suspension of Khaleda Zia's sentence on March 25, 2020, and her subsequent release through a government executive order, she spent time at her residence in Gulshan. This Eid-ul-Fitr, Khaleda Zia will celebrate at her home in Gulshan.
Previously, BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia had to spend two Eids within the confines of a sub-jail after her arrest on September 3, 2007, during the caretaker government era supported by the army. At that time, the sub-jail was set up in a building in the Sangsad Bhavan area. Similar to Khaleda Zia's situation, the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also spent two Eids in prison during that time. Both individuals were detained in the same building, although the circumstances differed. Khaleda Zia, as the BNP chief, has been imprisoned twice as a convict, including this current time.
It is customary that every year on Eid day, Khaleda Zia enjoys lunch with her close relatives. This year, her brother Shamim Iskandar, along with his family members, and the wife of her late brother Saeed Iskandar, along with other family members, will join Khaleda Zia for lunch at noon.

Additionally, on Eid day, Khaleda Zia will exchange Eid greetings over the phone with her elder son Tariq Rahman, who reside in London, his family members, and the wife and children of her late younger son Arafat Rahman,.

On Eid day, senior BNP leaders will visit the grave of the party's founder, the late Ziaur Rahman (Bir Uttam), at Sher e banglanagar in the capital. Later in the evening, members of the Standing Committee along with the BNP General Secretary will visit Khaleda Zia.