Khaleda Zia’s son Tarique may follow brother to temporary freedom

July 18th, 2008 - 11:32 am ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, July 18 (IANS) Tarique Rahman, the jailed politician son of former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia, may be allowed eight weeks of freedom like his younger brother Arafat Rahman Koko, a media report said Friday. An ailing Koko was shown inhaling oxygen as he was taken from a city hospital to his residence Thursday evening. He is to fly to Bangkok for medical treatment.

The release of Tarique, who is supposed to have “broken his spine” as per Zia’s allegation, has been particularly difficult because of his alleged involvement in many graft cases. He was the first top politician to be held in March last year as part of the caretaker government’s anti-corruption drive.

Quoting unnamed sources, The Daily Star newspaper said Tarique may be released Monday.

The release of her sons signals relief for Zia, herself in jail since September. She has been campaigning for the release of her sons, while refusing freedom and medical treatment for herself.

Zia had refused to cooperate with the government since her political rival Sheikh Hasina, also a former prime minister, was released mid-June. Zia insisted that her sons should get the same treatment.

The government earlier this week also released one of the ministers of Zia’s regime - Motiur Rahman Nizami, who is the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest Islamist party.

The military-backed caretaker government that is giving reprieve to jailed politicians as part of the preparations for the December parliamentary elections has, however, been quick to press corruption charges against them.

The government moved court against Koko in a corruption case even as he was released following an executive order.

There is no indication of the political reconciliation yet between Zia and the government. Zia’s Bangladesh nationalist Party (BNP) and Nizami’s Jamaat have decided to boycott the Aug 4 civic elections.

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