Dhaka, Bangladesh
Attention shifts onto apex court

Attention shifts onto apex court

Release Khaleda on 'humanitarian grounds': JOF * Eligible to get bail: Dr Kamal * Govt has nothing to do: Law Minister

News Special: Political attention now shifts onto the apex court where a case of high significance-evidently to the ruling and the opposition sides--is to be dealt with tomorrow. The focus changes centre from the 'political purge' and 'price-fixing', for now. Such is an observation from analysts in the context of latest situation. The ambiance apparently got fraught with the BNP-dominated Jatiya Oikya Front Tuesday seeking jailed ex-PM Khaleda Zia's release, as her bail matter is set to be settled Thursday at the highest level of the judiciary. The tone is humane: release on "humanitarian grounds". Oikya Front Convener Dr Kamal Hossain also gave a preview, saying that the BNP chairperson is "eligible to get bail" in the twin graft cases she was convicted of. However, the demand for freedom from her party, BNP, bears mixed feelings as its leaders blow hot and cold in the same breath: they plead for their chief's release through the legal process or else through movement if the last recourse fails them. Government leaders have their own say on both scores. They say court is independent and they won't stand in its course. An apparent abrupt response came from Law Minister Anisul Huq, said granting bail to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia falls in "court's discretion". Therefore, the government has nothing to do in this regard. "Khaleda Zia has been sentenced to imprisonment by a trial court at first and then by the High Court for embezzling money of the orphans. She has also been sentenced to imprisonment by a lower court for misappropriating money of Zia Charitable Trust. There is no question of government's vindictiveness here," he said. The minister replied to queries from reporters after attending as chief guest the inauguration of special training for the government pleaders and public prosecutors at Judicial Administration Training Institute (JATI) in Dhaka. "Courts were kept confined inside the then government's pocket during BNP-led government regimes. There is no such situation in the country now," he further said, seemingly to dispel contentions being raised by their political archrivals. The JOP convener, Dr Kamal, said: "I would like to say she of course has the scope to obtain bail (from the Appellate Division)...what else should I say clearly about it." Dr Kama, also a legal expert, was talking to reporters after a meeting of the Oikya Front's steering committee at his Motijheel law chamber. He said their meeting demanded Khaleda's release on humanitarian grounds. "In our written statement, we've clearly said she's eligible to get bail for humanitarian reasons." Earlier, reading out a written statement, Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said, the meeting discussed the health condition of Khaleda and expressed concern. "We know Khaleda has been kept in jail for 664 days with a motive." Stating that the BNP chief has been convicted in 'motivated' cases, he said considering her latest health conditions, they demanded her immediate release. "It's our meeting's main demand. We think it's a human demand and she deserves to get bail." On November 28, the Appellate Division adjourned the hearing on Khaleda's bail petition in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case until December 5. The court also asked Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University to place Khaleda's health reports before it by December 5. Replying to a question, BNP standing committee member Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan said Oikya Front leaders will decide whether they should take any action programme demanding Khaleda's release by assessing the Supreme Court's decision. On the other side of the political divide, AL leaders interpreted such breathing fire and slaughter is a tactic of putting pressure on the court ahead of hearing and verdict on the bail petition of the BNP chairperson. One analyst close to the ruling quarters, however, viewed it as an expression of exasperation on part of the BNP leaders-workers in the face of prodding from the rank and file for movement in the given situation they have long been in having lost power. A few leaders made it clear that court process is the only way to get Zia freed on bail and that the government wouldn't block the way-meaning deterrent administrative action. They said the law would take its own course if they again ran riot in the name of movement. Their remarks came against the backdrop of a recent incident surrounding Khaleda's bail matter. Like a bolt from the blue thronged hordes of BNP activists outside the Supreme Court under an outfit's banner and like-minded lawyers came out onto its premises to press for release of their jailed party chief. Perceiving the exigency of surprise unrest in the area of the key-point installation, platoons of police reinforcements were called in, and the two sides jostled for some time. Political analysts are of the opinion that a somewhat stable political ambiance for years now, especially following the opposition participation in the last polls, gave peace and development a chance. Therefore, they say, a workable political consensus of all could help cut the Gordian knot for further advances. (Inputs taken from agencies)

Share |