Dhaka : Bangladesh's former prime minister Sheikh Hasina has protested her virtual house arrest and being prevented from joining her pregnant daughter in the US with the emotional plea: "I am a mother".
Drawing a parallel between July 1971 and the present in a long statement, she narrated how she underwent the same trauma when her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was in a Pakistani jail at the height of the liberation movement, and her mother was not allowed to be with her.
In a statement in Bengali translated by The Daily Star, Hasina asked: "Aren't we living in a free country?"
"The pain that I felt in 1971, will my daughter suffer the same pain? Aren't we living in a free country? Putul, your mother could not come to you. Can you forgive you mother for this failure, please?"
"The current government will not let me go," she has said of the court order asking police and immigration authorities to physically prevent her if she tried to proceed.
"I want to know what is my crime that I cannot be next to my daughter," she has said, with a poser: "Are we still living in the same 1971?"
Bangladesh's interim government has slapped a murder charge and three charges of extortion against her. Her trial is yet to begin.
Hasina, who ruled during 1996-2001 and who heads the Awami League, has denied the charges, saying they are false and politically motivated.
She recalls naming her first child Joy at the behest of her father who had earlier said: "Your child will be born in a free country".
Mujib went on to lead a free Bangladesh that year. In 1975, he was killed along with his wife and most of his family members in a military-led coup.