Begum Khaleda Zia was supposed to get bail from High Court today. It was assumed that she would be granted bail but there was confusion about her release. Finally, both assumption and confusion become true. In the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case, a division bench of the High Court gave bail to Begum Zia for four months. But within an hour of the bail, Begum Zia was `Shown Arrest` in the Comilla car burning case. It became clear that without the political compromise, Begum Zia`s release seems to be far away from the reality. A central BNP leader has admitted to the Bangla Insider that "the release of Begum Zia is impossible through the legal battle". According to him, Begum Zia can be released through either by negotiations or movement. But there is no possibility of freeing BNP Chairperson through movement. She can be released only through compromise. Begum Zia will have to be in jail until the political negotiations are finalized.
It has been learned through different sources that the initiatives of negotiations have been taken after Begum Zia was imprisoned. The negotiation proposal comes from the relatives of Begum Khaleda Zia. Begum Zia`s younger brother Shamim Iskandar met privately with some important officials of the government. At one stage, the private secretary of Begum Zia and BNP secretary general joined in the meeting. According to the sources, at least five meetings of Begum Zia`s relatives and leaders have been held with the responsible people of the government. The five-point compromise draft was prepared in this meeting. Talking to Begum Zia about this draft, BNP`s 8 leaders went to prison on 7 March afternoon. Begum Zia made an amendment in the second point of the 5-point negotiation proposal. In the second round it was said, `Begum Zia, Tarique Zia or any member of Zia family will not contest the next parliamentary election.` Begum Zia`s position is—she will go abroad after getting the bail. If the court does not disqualify her, then she will participate in the election from abroad. Shamim Iskandra conveyed Begum Zia`s decision to the government representatives. But the government did not agree with Begum Zia`s proposal. The government`s position is clear that Begum Zia will go abroad on bail and stay there until the election. She will not participate in the elections and will not give any political statement. There is no agreement of the government with Begum Zia on this still now.
The second hurdle in the way of negotiation is Begum Zia`s destination after release. It was initially assumed that Begum Zia will go to London after her release. But Begum Zia`s son, Tarique Zia totally opposed ‘compromise proposal’. Tarique Zia did not want to go with any negotiation with the government and wanted to collapse the government through firm movement. In this context, relatives of Begum Zia contacted Saudi Arabia. Saudi Crown Prince Salman proposed Begum Zia to stay as a `lifelong guest` in Saudi Arabia. According to the sources, going to Saudi Arabia is not yet finalized. That is why Begum Zia`s release is hanging. According to the sources, the relatives of Begum Zia may accept the condition of not participating in the election.
The draft of the five-point compromise proposal with Begum Zia is like this,
1) Begum Zia will get bail from the High Court in Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. After the High Court bail, she will not be shown arrested in any other case. She will go to London for an unspecified period for her medical treatment.
2) Begum Zia or Tarique Zia will not participate in the next parliamentary elections, despite their leadership in BNP.
3) BNP will contest eleventh parliamentary elections without Zia family. Party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir will lead the party. The election will be free, fair and neutral.
4) BNP leader activists detained before the election will be released. Running cases against senior leaders of the party will be postponed for the time being. No new cases or harassment will be issued against them.
5) Begum Zia will return to the country after the election. Although proper legal procedures shall be followed in her case, she will be given adequate respect and dignity.
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