Hasina may leave Bangladesh for treatment; Zia reluctant

June 9th, 2008 - 3:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, June 9(IANS) Former Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to leave for the US for medical treatment after being exempted from appearances by a trial court although her rival Khaleda Zia, also a former premier, rejected any notion of leaving the country despite the recommendation of a government-appointed medical board. Zia told reporters in a courtroom here Sunday that there were “good doctors here” and that she chose to be “with my people”.

Her ailing younger son Arafat Rahman Koko may, however, fly out for treatment. Koko’s wife applied last month that he be allowed to leave for Thailand where he had been treated earlier, the New Age newspaper said.

Political analysts said Hasina, who had formally applied to be sent abroad for treatment in March, may have opted to leave because of fluctuating blood pressure, failing vision in one eye and an ear damaged during a grenade attack on her in 2004.

Her son Sajib Joy has reportedly made arrangements for her medical treatment.

“Sheikh Hasina needs proper treatment, especially her electronic hearing aid needs immediate re-installation of the programme and she will go by the suggestions of the physicians,” said her counsel Mannan Khan.

However, the media reports pointed out Hasina herself did not say anything about going abroad while talking to reporters in court.

Amidst prolonged speculation over the issue, there was no indication till Sunday night if either of the two women leaders, detained for the past many months on corruption charges, had agreed to participate in the ongoing political dialogue that the government is keen on pushing in preparation for the December elections.

Apparently on a signal from Zia, her alliance partner Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party, has said it would continue with its boycott of the talks.

The Jamaat’s Amir (chief), Motiur Rahman Nizami, was arrested last month, leading to hardening of its political line.

The Jamaat said the boycott would continue till all the three major players of the political arena, Hasina, Zia and NIzami, were unconditionally released.

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