Hasina asks Zia to quit residence

April 2nd, 2009 - 1:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, April 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked former premier Khaleda Zia to quit the residence that was allotted to her in violation of rules. The move could trigger opposition protests.
Hasina told parliament Wednesday that the Number 6, Shaheed Mainul Road house in Dhaka Cantonment was allotted to Zia by violating the Cantonment Board’s rules.

Her cabinet would decide about cancellation of the allocation, Hasina said.

“She (Khaleda Zia) should not keep the house ignoring the law. She should leave the house willingly,” Hasina said.

The premier said if Zia returns the house the government would construct apartment buildings on the 2.72-acre plot and allocate two apartments to each of the families of army officers who were brutally killed in February’s mutiny by troopers of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR).

“Each family can live in one flat and rent another. She (Khaleda) should give the house to the martyrs’ families.”

The house was allotted to Zia after her husband, President Ziaur Rahman, was killed in a military putsch in 1981.

In reply to a query of AL lawmaker Nazrul Islam Babu, Hasina said she checked the minutes of the cabinet meeting held June 12, 1981.

The cabinet did not allot the 6 Mainul Road house to Zia. Rather, it had allotted to her a house in Gulshan, a posh downtown area.

“She was supposed to leave the Mainul Road house. But she took the property in her name in addition to allocation of a house in Gulshan,” the premier added.

“Her (Zia’s) family took loan mortgaging the house to bank, which is also violation of the condition of the lease,” the premier said.

Zia, an army officer’s wife, has lived in Dhaka Cantonment for the better part of her life.

Zia being asked to shift could trigger protests by her four-party alliance as a case of political victimisation, political analysts said.

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