Curbs on Khaleda on Zia’s death anniversary


Dhaka : Bangladesh will next week officially observe the death anniversary of one of its heroes, slain President Ziaur Rahman. But his widow, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Khaleda Zia, can take only up to 20 people to pray at his grave.

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Restrictions on the former prime minister are being placed in view of the prevailing national emergency wherein political activity has been curbed, official sources have said.

The interim government is being strictly neutral in honouring both Zia and founding father and another slain president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – the father of Awami League leader and former prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

President Iajuddin Ahmed and Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed had visited Mujib's grave and would also visit Zia's grave on May 30, the day he was assassinated in a military putsch in 1981.

Officials point to a departure from the past. During Zia's regime, Mujib was ignored and even sought to be belittled with attempts to rewrite the official history records.

"Since special security arrangements will be there, some 10 to 20 leaders would be allowed to visit the grave with her [Khaleda Zia] to pay homage to Ziaur Rahman on the day," Law Adviser Mainul Hosein told reporters after chairing a cabinet committee meeting on law and order at the secretariat on Thursday.

New Age said the government was unlikely to allow Zia and her party to hold other anniversary-related functions like a prayer meeting, distribution of food to the destitute and holding discussions on Zia's contribution to the country.