Khaleda needs to go abroad for treatment: Fakhrul

Amid repeated appeals for allowing the BNP chairperson to go abroad for better treatment, Law Minister Anisul Huq yesterday said the party could bring in expert doctors from abroad if it wanted.

The minister, however, reiterated that the government would not do anything regarding Khaleda Zia’s treatment going beyond the law of the land.

Yesterday, the BNP observed a seven-hour mass hunger strike in the capital and elsewhere in the country demanding Khaleda be allowed to go abroad for improved treatment.

In the capital, hundreds of leaders and activists of the BNP and its associate bodies observed the hunger strike in front of the party’s Nayapaltan central office from 9:00 am.

Khulna police foiled BNP’s hunger strike in the city. In Patuakhali, at least eight people were injured in an attack allegedly by Chhatra League men on the opposition party’s demonstration.

Khaleda, 76, was readmitted to Evercare Hospital on November 13, six days after returning home from the hospital.

Physicians said the BNP chief was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, ophthalmological, and dental complications.

She also developed critical cardiac and kidney problems while her blood sugar level was uncontrolled, they added.

LAW MINISTER

Speaking at a virtual meeting of Brahmanbaria’s Akhaura Upazila Awami League leaders ahead of the November 28 union Parishad polls, the law minister yesterday said, “The honourable prime minister has set an example by providing all possible facilities to the BNP chairperson within the bounds of the law.”

“It cannot be forgotten that she [Khaleda] has been convicted by the court. All necessary facilities allowed by the law to a convict have been given to her.”

Anisul earlier had said the law did not permit the government to send Khaleda abroad for treatment as she was convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison in two corruption cases by the lower court and the High Court.

HUNGER STRIKE

Khulna BNP alleged that police obstructed their mass hunger strike in front of the party office on KD Ghosh Road in the city.

BNP Organising Secretary Nazrul Islam Monju, also the Khulna city BNP president, said they could not sit in front of the party office due to obstruction by police.

“Police attacked the programme, snatched our banners and chased us. Two BNP activists were arrested. We could not observe the programme due to violence by police. We condemn this violence,” he added.

Hasan Al Mamun, officer-in-charge of Khulna Sadar Police Station, said no one would be allowed to take part in any programme occupying roads and obstructing traffic. “The BNP was asked to hold the programme inside its office.”

In Patuakhali, the BNP’s hunger strike came under attack allegedly by Chhatra League men in front of the temporary office of the party in the Banani area of the town around 10:00 am.

Kazi Mahbub Hossain, the convener of Patuakhali Sadar Upazila BNP, alleged that Chhatra League leaders and activists, led by Arif Tanveer, carried out the attack on the peaceful programme.

Denying his involvement in the attack, district BCL leader Arif said none from the student front were involved in the incident. He claimed that the incident was an outcome of the BNP’s internal feud.

Patuakhali Police Station OC Md Moniruzzaman said he was not aware of the attack.

In Barguna, police charged truncheons on BNP men during the mass hunger strike in front of the party office on Sadar Road in the town.

District BNP President Nazrul Islam Mollah claimed that at least 12 party leaders and activists were injured in the incident.

Police Inspector (investigation) Shahidul Islam said the BNP men were observing the hunger strike blocking the road in front of its office.

As police asked them to leave the road, they attacked the law enforcers, he added.

Police used batons on the BNP men to disperse them and bring the situation under control. Six people were detained from the area, Shahidul said.

On behalf of the family, Khaleda’s younger brother Shamim Iskander submitted an application to the home ministry on November 11 urging the government to allow her to go abroad for better treatment.

Our correspondents in Khulna and Patuakhali contributed to this report.