Dhaka: The BNP has demanded unconditional release of its chief Khaleda Zia from jail as political discussions about possibilities of her seeking parole continue. “We want the leader of the country to be freed unconditionally. We haven’t said anything about parole,” Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said during a token hunger strike in Dhaka.
“We are making it clear that she deserves the right to get bail. All the others named in the case, over which she has been forcefully jailed, are out on bail,” he added. He urged party leaders and activists to prepare for a movement to free Khaleda.
“Our target is to free democracy under her leadership in order to save the country,” the BNP leader said. Government ministers earlier said the legal procedure will be followed if Khaleda applies for parole.
Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, one of the lawyers for Khaleda, had demanded the BNP chief be freed on parole for treatment. He had said he saw it as being the only path that leads to her release. Hossain, a BNP vice-chairman, had been hopeful in June last year that the government will arrange treatment for Khaleda because she has fallen ‘seriously’ ill in jail and her ‘life is in danger’.
On Sunday, Mirza Fakhrul also reiterated the demand for transfer of Khaleda to a specialised hospital of her choice from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University. The 73-year-old former prime minister, who has been serving total 17 years in jail for corruption, was recently moved to the hospital for treatment from the old jailhouse on Nazimuddin Road in the capital.
Govt may consider Khaleda’s release on parole
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said the government may consider the release of Khaleda on parole for treatment. “If she wants to be released on parole, then she will have to apply for it by mentioning a specific reason. We will think about it if she applies," he said in response to a question at a function. The home ministry is yet to receive any requests related to the issue, he said.