Vol. 5 Num 1017 Wed. April 11, 2007  
Front Page

Khaleda flips mind, won't leave country

The reported move to make the two former prime ministers --Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina-- leave the country has got a new turn as Khaleda has finally refused to leave the country.

On the other hand, Awami League (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina, who was sued on Monday in connection with an extortion of Tk 3 crore, will return from US earlier than scheduled to face the changed situation, sources said.

Khaleda, the BNP chief, said to have consented to the move earlier, has now backtracked on her previous position and informed 'negotiators' involved in the move that she would stay on in the country, well placed sources in the BNP said.

Asked whether the government has taken any move to pressure Khaleda and Hasina to leave the country, Communications Adviser Maj Gen (retd) MA Matin yesterday ruled out any such initiative.

The adviser replied in the negative when journalists asked if the extortion case against Hasina was filed to prevent her return home.

Following proclamation of the state of emergency, a move was reportedly initiated to make the BNP and AL chiefs leave the country, and thereby rid the two major parties of family control.

The move got momentum as the ongoing crackdown on corrupt suspect politicians began on February 4, and the BNP chairperson almost agreed to it on some conditions, sources said.

Some influential persons close to the 'authorities' had started 'negotiations' in this regard. Khaleda told them she might leave the country with all her family members, including her elder son and BNP Senior Secretary General Tarique Rahman, arrested on March 7, the sources said.

But the former PM later made her mind to face any situation staying in the country, one source said.

"She (Khaleda) is determined not to leave the country," a senior BNP leader told The Daily Star. "It is apprehended that pressure might continue on her to change her mind," he added, declining to be named.

Meanwhile, Khaleda has been reportedly made to refrain from meeting senior leaders of her party, and she is under strict surveillance.

BNP leaders have been verbally asked not to visit Khaleda's cantonment residence, and guests are also being discouraged to do so, sources claimed.

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