Khaleda may take Covid vaccine jabs | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 05, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:44 AM, March 05, 2021

Khaleda may take Covid vaccine jabs

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia seems to be positive about taking Covid-19 shots, but she is yet to give consent to it, says her personal physician.

Party leaders said there is a question over how 76-year-old ailing Khaleda will be vaccinated as she is not free. She is now staying at her Gulshan home as the government suspended her sentences for 12 months in two phases.

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She was freed on two conditions -- she will not leave the country and will receive treatment at her home.

"Chairperson Khaleda Zia seems to be positive about taking vaccine jabs as all her staffers have already received the shots. She is not free. It is not possible for her to take shots by going to a vaccination centre. Once we get permission, we will complete the registration process," BNP Vice Chairman AZM Zahid Hossain, also a personal physician to Khaleda, told The Daily Star yesterday.

He said people are now receiving vaccine shots at hospitals and vaccination centres, but the question remains how she will be vaccinated.

Khaleda was freed from jail for six months on March 25 last year, just a day before the government announced a general holiday to contain Covid-19 transmission in the country.

Family members and physicians said the treatment of the former prime minister was greatly hampered due to the pandemic.

The government had stayed Khaleda's conviction for six months and freed her on humanitarian grounds considering her age.

Since the beginning of the nationwide vaccination campaign on February 7, BNP leaders were critical of the government's vaccine management. They alleged that the government's shortsightedness created uncertainty over collecting a vaccine.

The party also demanded the government clarify its position on vaccine collection, pricing, storage and distribution as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, family members of Khaleda have urged the government to extend her stay out of jail to ensure her proper treatment that faced setbacks due to the pandemic.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Wednesday said the decision on relaxing "bail conditions" and waiving Khaleda's sentences would be taken after discussions with the law ministry.

Khaleda's younger brother Shamim Iskandar submitted the petition to the ministry on Tuesday, according to home ministry.

In the application, the family mentioned that they could not arrange treatment for the BNP chief during the pandemic and asked for relaxing the "bail conditions" and waiving sentences, said the home minister.

Khaleda received treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital when she was in jail.

She is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and ophthalmological and dental ailments.

The BNP chairperson landed in jail on February 8, 2017 after being sentenced to five years' imprisonment by a special court in Dhaka in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

On October 30 the following year, the High Court enhanced her punishment to 10 years after dismissing her appeal in the case.

The former premier was convicted by another special court in Dhaka in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case on October 29, 2018. She was sentenced to seven years' rigorous imprisonment by the court.


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