opposition leader and former prime minister Khaleda Zia stayed
away from the opening ceremony of the Cricket World Cup. Her
office said she got "only an invitation card" and no tickets to
She, however, expressed her best wishes for the Bangladesh team
Thursday night and welcomed the foreign cricketers and guests.
Her press secretary Maruf Kamal Khan alleged neither the sports
ministry nor the Bangladesh Cricket Board "had invited her
"They [the authorities] just sent an invitation card to Khaleda
Zia's parliament office but none from the ministry or the cricket
board contacted us," he said.
She did not get any ticket for the World Cup matches to be played
in Bangladesh, Khan said.
Zia enjoyed the extravaganza on television at her brother's house,
where she has been staying since she was evicted from her home in
Dhaka Cantonment last year.
Zia's arch political rival, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened
the tournament amid a musical extravaganza.
The organisers repeatedly thanked Sheikh Hasina for the support
and made several references to her father and the country's
founding leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Zia, as widow of another former president Ziaur Rahman, inherits
the rival political legacy.
Away from cricket frenzy, she welcomed the game.
"The tournament is being held in Bangladesh. I welcome and greet
all the participating teams," she said during a meeting with
leaders of her party's women and volunteer bodies.
"People have a lot of expectations. I hope our team will emerge
champion and we will receive them warmly," said the former prime
minister, The Daily Star said.