Bangladesh's main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)
Saturday said its leader and former prime minister Khaleda Zia was
put "under house arrest" as the government moved to evict her
early morning from the house given to her after her husband's
assassination in 1981.
Police and Rapid Action Battallion personnel took possession of
the single-storeyed colonial house in the Dhaka Cantonment area,
where Zia has lived for the past three decades.
The 2.72-acre plot was originally the official residence of the
army's deputy chief of staff, a position held by Zia's husband,
Gen. Ziaur Rahman, who later became the army chief, then military
ruler and later the elected president. He was assassinated in
The government told the Dhaka High Court that the allotment of the
house was illegal and it should be vacated.
Hasina wants to use the house to resettle families of army
officers who were killed in a mutiny staged in February last year
by troopers of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), the country's border
Before the BNP went into an emergency meeting Saturday, its
secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain said Zia, who was still
in the house, was "under house arrest".
The government move came at the end of a month-long quit notice
issued to Zia by the Dhaka High Court that rejected her appeal
against an earlier eviction order.
Zia's appeal before the Supreme Sourt is pending till Nov 29.
As the eviction process went on, Zia's press aide and other BNP
leaders vehemently denied that she was voluntarily leaving the
house, the Daily Star newspaper said.
The claim on the house was made by the military, which technically
owns the cantonment house, through a statement issued by the Inter
Services Public Relations ((ISPR) department.
The ruling Awami League, meanwhile, "hailed" Zia for her reported
move to "vacate" the residence.
Awami League central joint secretary Mahbub-ul Alam Hanif told the
Daily Star that it was "a wise decision of the opposition leader,
which will bring decency to the country and strengthen the rule of
There was "no involvement of the state or the ruling party in the
matter", he said.
Anticipating the government's move, BNP activists assembled at the
Jahangir Gate of the cantonment, but were not allowed to enter,
bdnews24.com, an online newspaper reported.
Political observers said the government's move would sharpen the
conflict between Zia and her arch political rival, Prime Minister
Zia, who overwhelmingly lost the December 2008 parliamentary
election to Hasina, has been boycotting parliament. The government
has moved court to secure the return of her two sons, Tarique
Rahman and Arafat Rahman Koko, who were jailed in corruption
cases. They were released on bail separately by past government to
seek medical treatment in London and Bangkok respectively and have
been out of the country since 2008.
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