Vol. 5 Num 1024 Thu. April 19, 2007  
Front Page

Process for Khaleda's exile almost done
She may meet Tarique at jail today

The military backed caretaker government has completed almost all the formalities for sending former prime minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to Saudi Arabia.

"The authorities had a lengthy important meeting with the Saudi embassy in Dhaka today where most of the things including visas for Khaleda Zia and her family, their prolonged stay in that country, accommodations, etc were finalised," said a highly placed source in the government yesterday.

"Although most of the formalities have already been completed, the remaining ones are expected to be completed in a day," the source said adding that Khaleda might leave the country this afternoon if the authorities can wrap up the remaining formalities before that time.

The government is bearing the entire cost of air travel of Khaleda Zia and her family, said the source.

The source also said Khaleda might be allowed to meet her elder son at Dhaka Central Jail sometime today prior to her departure from the country. The authorities are also likely to allow her to meet her close relatives before the departure.

There is also an indication that Khaleda might be allowed to meet some of her party leaders or talk to them over the phone.

Reliable sources said Khaleda Zia will be leaving with her younger son Arafat Rahman Coco, his wife and his two daughters.

Tarique Rahman's wife and their daughter are unlikely to leave the country with Khaleda Zia. They are rather likely to join her along with Tarique after his release from prison. The sources said although there is pressure from higher authorities on Tarique's wife Dr Zobaida to leave the country with her mother-in-law, she is unwilling to leave without her husband.

In absence of Khaleda Zia, Tarique's wife and their only daughter will stay with his mother-in-law Iqbalmand Banu in her Dhanmondi residence in the capital, the sources added.

Khaleda Zia's cantonment residence on Shahid Moinul Hossain Road, which was donated to her by the erstwhile government following the assassination of late president Ziaur Rahman in 1981, will be put under a caretaker to be appointed by the Cantonment Board until the current government decides on its next course of action.

Meanwhile, Dr Zobaida Rahman and her mother yesterday met Tarique at Dhaka Central Jail, which the jail authorities termed as a routine monthly visit.

The sources said the BNP chief and her family members, who are leaving with her, are done with their preparations for departing the country.

BNP Joint Secretary General Tarique Rahman's wife Zobaida Rahman coming out of Dhaka Central Jail after meeting her detained husband yesterday. PHOTO: Focus Bangla