Vol. 5 Num 1025 Fri. April 20, 2007  
Front Page

Final Khaleda family reunion before exile likely today

The family of former prime minister Khaleda Zia are likely to have their final reunion with Tarique Rahman today before flying out of the country.

Tarique's daughter Zaima, a student of standard IV at International School of Dhaka, yesterday went to school to say good-bye to her friends and teachers, a close relative of the family told The Daily Star yesterday.

But Tarique's wife Dr Zobaidah Rahman is unwilling to leave behind her husband in the country, he said, adding, "She has been very upset and wants to stay in the country as she is not involved in any crime or politics."

Khaleda, Zobaidah, Zaima and Tarique's brother Arafat Rahman Coco have got a special permission to meet Tarique today before leaving the country, the relative said.

"We are yet to know when they will meet Tarique, but it is a special permission," he added.

The Special Branch initially refused to allow Khaleda and her family members to meet Tarique as Zobaidah and her mother had just met him on April 18. However, they later got the permission from the home ministry under special consideration.

"Khaleda along with her younger son, two daughters-in-law and three grand children might fly for Saudi Arabia tomorrow [today] after meeting Tarique Rahman," he told The Daily Star yesterday.

Meanwhile, another source said due to security reasons Tarique might be brought out of jail under parole for some time to arrange the meeting at a certain venue.

When asked, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) prisons Major Shamsul Haider Siddique however told The Daily Star that he did not know anything about the permission.

"If they got the permission, they would bring it to us and we will come to know about it. We do not have any scope to know about such permission before a visitor comes at the jail gate," he said last night.

He also said the jail authorities have no plan to take Tarique out of jail for the family meeting.

A source close to Khaleda's family said the former prime minister was unwilling to fly by Biman Bangladesh Airlines.

"So, the actual time of their departure depends on the availability of tickets of any other Saudi-bound plane," said the source.