The BNP and Khaleda Zia's family members have launched a fresh move to get her released from imprisonment, saying that her health is rapidly deteriorating.
Khaleda Zia's younger brother has written to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University authorities, requesting them to recommend that she needed better treatment abroad.
Shameem Iskander wrote the letter to BSMMU VC Kanak Kanti Barua on February 10, said sources familiar with the development.
Khaleda's sister Selima Islam also urged the government on Tuesday to release Khaleda on humanitarian grounds so that she could get access to advanced treatment.
The immediate family members' public involvement in the effort comes two years after the former prime minister landed in jail on February 8, 2018. The BNP's efforts to get her released have so far been in vain.
"As Khaleda Zia's health is deteriorating quickly, the treatment in a foreign hospital with modern equipment is needed to avert any irreparable loss," read Shameem's letter.
The hospital authorities' assistance is needed for this and the family will bear all the medical costs, the letter added.
Meanwhile, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader yesterday told a press conference at AL's Dhanomondi office that BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir called him and talked to him about whether Khaleda could be released on parole.
Asked about the comment, Fakhrul said, "He [Quader] is the one who can answer this question. Our only concern is Khaleda Zia's deteriorating health, and she should be sent abroad for treatment."
Khaleda's sister Selima and several other family members visited her at the BSMMU on Tuesday.
After meeting her, Selima told reporters on BSMMU premises, "I call upon the government to… consider her physical condition, respiratory problems and age. She should either be released or given bail on humanitarian grounds."
Selima said her sister could not eat, suffered from fever, and her diabetes had worsened beyond control.
Something bad will happen if she is not immediately provided with advanced treatment, she added.
Fakhrul also said, "We think that she should be released right now on humanitarian grounds."
Contacted, BSMMU VC Kanak said he had received Khaleda's brother Shameem's letter and asked the seven-member medical board treating Khaleda to review the situation and make recommendations.
"The medical board earlier told the court that her treatment was possible here if she agreed to take treatment. Doctors are visiting her daily… We expect that we will get a report from the board next week," he said.
BNP leader Khandakar Mahbub Hossain told reporters that they would apply for Khaleda's bail next week.
"We hope that we will get justice and she will get bail," the lawyer told reporters yesterday.
Many BNP leaders believe that it is not possible to get her released through legal means because the government is "influencing" the judicial process.
The leaders also think that the party does not have the strength to take to the streets and mount pressure on the government to release her.
BNP standing committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury told The Daily Star yesterday, "She would have been released long ago, but due to the government's interference in the legal process, she is not getting bail. But we will gradually wage a movement to release her."
Khaleda has been receiving treatment at the BSMMU since April 1 last year.
She was convicted in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. She was convicted in another corruption case later in 2018. The BNP maintains that both cases are politically motivated.