Gulf News

Government has curtailed Khaleda’s freedom, says aide

‘Only four people allowed to meet her’

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Bangladesh’s military-backed government has severely restricted the freedom of the former prime minister, an aide said yesterday.

The move against Khaleda Zia, who stood aside in October to allow elections to take place, comes with the South Asian nation under emergency rule with a military-backed administra­tion since parliament­ary polls slated for January were cancelled following months of political turmoil.

“The intelligen­ce department sent the order to the guards [on Tuesday] at Zia’s house that only four people could meet her from now on,” said Zia’s acting secretary.

“They are: her two brothers, a personal physician and an ex-member of parliament,” he told AFP.

The secretary said he did not know if Zia’s movements had also been restricted, but added that she was not venturing out for the time being. The new government has promised to root out corruption and carry out sweeping political reforms before announcing an election date.

The meeting ban was imposed just hours after Zia warned that Bangladesh was at a “crossroads” and called for “unity”.

Zia, who lives in Dhaka’s military cantonment, issued a statement late on Tuesday saying: “Our beloved motherland has come to a crossroads.”

“I urge all who are running the government to take every decision with wisdom and vision,” she said, calling on the government not to be “biased” and “vindictive”.

Zia also urged the government to include politician­s in the reform programmes, and not consider them “opponents”.

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AP

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