Khaleda Zia was convicted and imprisoned in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on 8 February this year. Today is July 7, which means Begum Zia`s jail sentence has completed five months. The lawyers said that there would be no punishment. And even it happens; she will come out of the jail within a day. But the argument of the lawyers has proved to be wrong. After weeks, months have gone by. One Eid is over, another Eid is coming. But there is little possibility of the release of Khaleda Zia. One prison, one prisoner. BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia`s imprisonment in Old Dhaka Central Jail is going on in uncertainty.
BNP, one of the largest political parties of Bangladesh, threatened to stage countrywide movement in protest of their chairperson`s imprisonment. But such threat remained in the words of the leaders only in the last five months. BNP has failed to stage any major movement. Apart from organizing human bonds, signing of the leaflets, distribution of leaflets, etc., they could not offer any big programs demanding the release of Begum Zia.
According to the top leaders of BNP, release of Begum Zia is not possible without the united movement. That movement has to be staged with the participation of all parties, not by BNP alone. But the leadership of BNP is now going through some sort of disagreements. Leadership crisis is more acute than any other time in the history of this party. The party lacks leadership that can unite the activists. And there is no charismatic leader in BNP that can do some magic. Therefore, one thing is clear that BNP is now unable to stage a large scale movement at present.
BNP has also seen disastrous result in the legal battle. Begum Zia`s advocates cannot envisage success in any other way except in front of the media. The BNP chairperson`s lawyers have proven to be consistent in resolving the delays in virtually every process. Now, the lawyers are also giving statements like the political leaders that the release of Begum Zia is not possible without the movement. But who will lead such movement?
Due to illness, there was the possibility of leaving Begum Zia to stay in the hospital. These possibilities have been destroyed in the bud. On behalf of the government, the treatment at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) was discussed. But Begum Zia wanted to go to United Hospital. It was also discussed to take her to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH). But Begum Zia remained firm about receiving treatment at the United Hospital.
These were the discussions before Eid al-Fitr. After the Eid, there has not been any demand from BNP as to Begum Zia`s treatment. Many people think that if she was seriously ill, how would she stay in the prison for such a long time without any treatment? So, the intension to create sympathy in the public capitalizing the illness of BNP Chairperson is also far off.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court`s Appeal Division has ordered the disposal of Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case by July 31. Begum Zia will not be able to contest in the election if she is barred. So, the political future of Begum Zia is scheduled to be decided on July 31.
Again, in January this year, Section 7 of the BNP constitution was amended and submitted to the Election Commission. The section 7 of the constitution of BNP mentioned about the inability of the corrupt persons to do politics. BNP`s revised constitution seems contrary to the constitution, said the Election Commission. Therefore, that constitution is not acceptable. Election Commission sources said that they are going to give a formal letter to BNP in this regard soon.
After all, Begum Zia has fallen in a cycle where there is no way left to get out. Begum Zia is not coming out of the jail very soon, and it is almost sure. And BNP without its main leader is passing through a dark phase.
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