Jatiya Party Chairman and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament HM Ershad, who has been suffering from liver complications and low haemoglobin, is scheduled to fly to Singapore for treatment today.
During the medical trip, Ershad will be accompanied by his younger brother Hossain Morshed, Hossain's wife Roksana Khan Morshed and Party Presidium Member Major (retd) Khaled Akhter, said a press release issued from the party office, adding that the flight would take off from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 12:40pm.
Talking to The Daily Star, Jatiya Party Presidium member Faisal Chisti said that Ershad was suffering from multiple health complications.
“His [Ershad] bilirubin count is high and he is also suffering from acute knee pain." said Faisal, a close aide of the JP chief.
Ershad's personal assistant Khaled Akhter said, “He has hardly been able to take foods properly for about one month due to liver complications which has further deteriorated his health condition.”
However, Ershad's inability to see and recognise anyone was a rumour, he added.
The 89-year-old former military dictator has been undergoing treatment at the Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka for the last two months.
On December 10 last year, he went to Singapore for treatment and returned on December 26, just three days before the 11th parliamentary election.
Ershad was elected as an MP from Rangpur 3, even though he could not carry out any election campaign.
The JP took part in the December 30 election as part of the ruling grand alliance and bagged 22 seats.
Ershad made his last public appearance on January 6 during the oath-taking ceremony of the lawmakers in the House.
In a statement on January 4, Ershad said his party men would sit on the opposition and he would act as the leader of the opposition, contradicting the JP Parliamentary Party (JPPP) decision.
JPPP on January 3, unanimously decided to join the government instead of sitting on the opposition bench.
Ershad's sudden decision surprised and aggrieved his party lawmakers.
Talking to The Daily Star, a number of JP lawmakers termed his decision as “funny and a violation of the party charter.”
Some JP lawmakers also said that GM Quader's leadership in absence of Ershad might face challenge as a section of MPs were loyal to JP Senior Co-Chairperson Raushan Ershad.
Raushan was in favour of joining the government, they added.
Against this backdrop, Ershad in a statement on Friday said that GM Quader will act as the party chief in his absence.
The appointment already came into effect, the statement said.
In a statement on December 9, Ershad made party presidium member Ruhul Amin Hawlader his special assistant.
The status of Hawlader became “next to the JP chairman,” and he was given the responsibility to manage the party's organisational activities in the absence of the chairman.
Earlier on December 3, he removed Hawlader as the party secretary general and replaced him with another presidium member Moshiur Rahman Ranga.