For Treatment Abroad: Khaleda’s family seeks govt’s nod | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 06, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:07 AM, May 06, 2021

For Treatment Abroad: Khaleda’s family seeks govt’s nod

Her breathing problem persists

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's family has sought permission from the government to take her abroad for better treatment.

Khaleda's sister Selima Islam told The Daily Star last night that their brother Shamim Iskandar submitted an application to the home ministry in this regard yesterday.

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Contacted, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said they have received the application and are considering it positively.

"We will send the application to the law ministry for its opinion. Upon getting its view, we will make the decision," he told this newspaper last night.

He further said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is very considerate on such issues, and this request is being considered positively.

Asked, Law Minister Anisul Huq said the secretary at his ministry received the files regarding Khaleda's treatment abroad from the home ministry at about 11:00pm.

"I'm yet to get the files. I'll go through those and then give my opinion..," he told The Daily Star around 12:30am today.

Earlier around 8:30pm yesterday, Shamim went to the home minister's residence and handed him the application, said Selima.

"We will decide on the next course of action after getting the government decision."

She also said they didn't mention the name of any country in the application as possible destination, but they want to take Khaleda to the UK for better treatment.

Meanwhile, hospital sources said Khaleda was having breathing difficulties since yesterday afternoon and also complained of mild chest pain.

She had been stable without oxygen support till noon. But in the afternoon, she started having breathing problems and was given oxygen support, said the sources at the capital's Evercare Hospital where Khaleda is under treatment.

Earlier around 11:00 am, Professor Shahabuddin Talukdar, chief of the 10-member medical board formed to oversee Khaleda's treatment, examined her and suggested conducting an angiogram on her as she complained of mild chest pain.

Khaleda's family members were yet to decide on it, said sources in the family.

Her blood sugar level kept fluctuating between 14 and 18 millimoles per litre, they mentioned.

"She is suffering from post-Covid complications. Her age is a major cause for concern," said one of her family members, quoting doctors.

Khaleda was admitted to the hospital on April 27 night for diagnosis after being tested positive for Covid-19 for the second time on April 24. She was first tested Covid positive on April 11.

On Monday afternoon, Khaleda was shifted to the hospital's Coronary Care Unit with breathing difficulties. She has also been suffering from arthritis, diabetes and eye problems.

Her family members are thinking of taking her to the UK or Thailand or Singapore for better treatment.

HURDLES

Taking Khaleda abroad amid the Covid crisis appears to be an option fraught with difficulties. As the second Covid wave continues to hit Asia hard, many countries have banned entry of people from South Asian nations.

The first choice of Khaleda's family is the UK where her elder son Tarique Rahman, along with his family members, has been staying since September 2008.

Khaleda's family members have already contacted the UK High Commission in Dhaka, which has given assurance of full cooperation in this regard, one of them told this newspaper.

But the biggest hurdle is that if someone is sentenced for a term exceeding two years, the person cannot enter the UK until the country's home office gives him or her special permission.

Khaleda was sentenced to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. The High Court later doubled her sentence.

"There is a legal bar to that [taking her to the UK]." Besides, she may not be able to make such a long journey because of her health condition, mentioned the family member.

Khaleda's family is considering Singapore as the next option.

But on April 30, Singapore said no visitors, who have been in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for the last two weeks, will be allowed to enter or transit through the country.

Even if the Bangladesh government allows the BNP chief to go to Singapore, there is a question whether that country will let her in.

Another viable option is Thailand as it is still accepting travellers from Bangladesh. And it takes only two and a half hours to fly to Bangkok from Dhaka.

Amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the government on March 25 last year freed Khaleda for six months through an executive order suspending her jail sentences in two corruption cases.

She was released from the prison cell at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University the same day. Since then, she had been staying at her Gulshan residence.

The government on August 27 last year extended the suspension of her sentences for six months. It was extended for another six months on March 15 this year.

On February 8, 2018, the BNP chief landed in Old Dhaka Central Jail after a court sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. The High Court later doubled her sentence.

Khaleda was also found guilty in another graft case the same year. Her party, however, claims both the cases are politically motivated.

 

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