Opposition leader asked to vacate house


Dhaka : The Bangladesh government has asked opposition leader and former prime minister Khaleda Zia to vacate the house she has lived in since 1981 — after a court ruled against her.

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With this, the stage has been set for another confrontation between the government and the main opposition party.

Zia’s lawyer and Supreme Court Bar Association president Khondker Mahbub Hossain said he expected the government to reconsider its decision to take back the house on “humanitarian ground”.

“I urge ‘Bangabandhu’s daughter’ and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to consider the case on humanitarian ground, showing her broadness despite the high court judgment,” Hossain said.

Law Minister Shafique Ahmed rejected the request. “Only the pauper who do not have a shelter can deserve such a consideration on humanitarian grounds.”

He demanded to know why Khaleda was unwilling to accept the court verdict “when she herself preferred a legal battle on the issue”, New Age newspaper reported Sunday.

The Hasina government cancelled in April 2009 the allotment of Zia’s house at 6 Mainul Road in Dhaka Cantonment, citing a number of anomalies regarding the allotment within the military zone.

Zia filed a petition in the high court challenging the government notice.
This was rejected earlier this week.

Zia was allotted the house after her husband-president Ziaur Rahman was killed in a military putsch in 1981. The then president, Justice Abdus Sattar, allotted the house on a lease deed for a token payment of taka one.

Hasina says she needs Zia’s house to convert it into a complex to house the families of 57 Bangladesh Army officers who were killed in a mutiny by the border guard in February last year.