Sheikh Hasina blasts interim government


Dhaka : Former Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina Saturday blasted the military backed interim government for stopping her from boarding an overnight flight for London on her way to the United States.

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Hasina, 60, accused the caretaker regime of hatching devious plans to bar her from participation in future elections.

"This is a very clear conspiracy to keep me away from the polls," Hasina said in a statement to the media ahead of a news briefing during which she claimed she was also warned of punitive measures against her.

Hasina, who led a secular government as prime minister between 1996 and 2001, said the charges of corruption against her were fabricated.

The alleged charges of extortion had no legal standing and were framed to smear the image of Hasina and her party Awami League, the party's spokesman Farooq Khan said.

On Friday, immigration police at the heavily guarded international airport barred Hasina from boarding an Emirates Airways flight for London.

Bangladeshi airport officials said Hasina was needed at home for interrogation on criminal cases filed against her recently in Dhaka.

Friends and close relatives said Hasina planned the private visit to the US to be present at the side of her only daughter Salma Wajed who is expecting a baby early July.

An interim government was appointed five months ago after a state of emergency was declared at the height of political unrest that rocked the tottering democracy.

A bitter standoff between Hasina and her archrival and former prime minister Khaleda Zia triggered widespread violence.

The interim government launched an anti-corruption campaign while planning to hold a credible election to return the country to the path of democracy.