>Bangladesh frees ex-premier Khaleda; she’ll join talks, polls


BNP Chairperson and former prime minister Khaleda Zia was freed yesterday from her yearlong detention amid huge celebration and a grand reception given by thousands of party leaders, activists and supporters. (Full report)

Just-released Khaleda announced to join the dialogue with the government and take part in the upcoming elections but asked the caretaker government to hold the stalled parliamentary elections first and withdraw the state of emergency.

Later at a press conference, she also announced that her eldest son and the party’s Senior Joint Secretary General Tarique Rahman would remain out of politics for two to three years as he would be abroad for treatment.

“You must be thinking that I am very happy that I am free now. But I am not because we as well as the country are not well,” a weeping Khaleda told the jam-packed press conference at the party’s central office at Naya Paltan yesterday afternoon.

Khaleda, who was detained by the joint forces on September 3 last year, walked out of the makeshift special prison on the parliament building complex at about 11:30am upon getting bail in all the four corruption cases filed against her.

The BNP and its allies have since been demanding her release along with that of Tarique, who was released on bail on September 3.

With Khaleda’s release, both the former prime ministers of the country detained in the caretaker government’s much-hyped anti-corruption drives are now freed and back to their folds.

Their release is considered important for bringing an end to the deadlock with the government and ensuring their participation in the parliamentary elections slated for December.

More than 100 high-profile politicians, mostly from the BNP and the Awami League (AL), landed in jail in the government’s anti-corruption drive. However, despite the drive’s aim of curbing corruption and bringing reforms in politics, many of the detained corruption suspects were released in the past two months.

Related Reports

Arrest, release

4 pledges secured release?

Mainstream leaders move for BNP unity

AL, Jamaat hail release

Move on to get two leaders into talks

Ex-private secretary spills graft beans about Khaleda


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