Khaleda’s recovery first, politics later

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BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s release from jail for six months has been a matter of relief for her party.

The party’s policymakers are now focusing on her health. They feel she needs to recover fully and only then become active in politics. Her health is their principal concern.

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BNP sources said Khaleda had a medical checkup, conducted by her personal physicians at her Gulshan office, soon after she was released on Wednesday.

A physician and a nurse have been appointed to look after her health round the clock. Her treatment will start after further tests. She has been in quarantine from Thursday.

Khaleda is staying on the second floor of Firoza Bhaban, her residence in Gulshan. Guests, even close relatives, are restricted from entry.

A room has been prepared for sanitising and wearing personal protection before entering Khaleda’s room.

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Speaking to Prothom Alo, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, “Khaleda Zia is home and comfortable, as we noticed on Thursday.”

Sources said she will receive medical treatment at her Gulshan house. Khaleda’s main physician lives in London. The physicians in Dhaka will start her treatment in consultation with him.

Khaleda’s daughter-in-law Zubaida Rahman, wife of her elder son Tarique Rahman, will coordinate with the physicians in London and Dhaka.

The BNP secretary general said, “We wanted to send Khaleda abroad for better treatment but that did not happen. Now we want to ensure the best possible treatment in Dhaka.”

The party leadership is now solely concentrating on Khaleda Zia’s treatment.

They are cautious about two conditions on which she has been released.

BNP will not take any steps to provoke the government into changing its decision.

They are simply waiting for the BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia to recover and become active in politics once again.

Acting chairman Tarique Rahman took over responsibility of the party after Khaleda was jailed. Tarique will be at the helm of the party until Khaleda is freed through legal process.

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When asked about the matter, BNP standing committee member Zamiruddin Sircar said, “Khaleda Zia will not be able to legally join political activities despite being released for a stipulated time. So the acting chairman will lead continue the party and he is performing well. There is no question that the chairperson will take over once she recovers.”

Party sources said they were not clear about her approval or disapproval on several policy-making decisions when she was in jail. Her release from the jail will help make these policy issues clear. BNP will try to free Khaleda of her charges through legal process so she may resume her political activities.

BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said, “We don’t want her to talk about politics now and hope she recovers soon. There is enough time ahead for politics.”

This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.

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