‘Apparently healthy’

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Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk:BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia was taken to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University yesterday from the city’s old central jail for medical tests.

After arriving at the BSMMU around 11:30am, she underwent some medical tests, and left the university around two hours later.

The BNP chief has been behind bars since February 8 in a graft case.

Meanwhile, expressing concern over Khaleda’s health, BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed yesterday said the party had no confidence in the treatment provided to her by the government.

Asked about the former prime minister’s health, BSMMU Director Brig Gen Md Abdullah-Al-Harun told The Daily Star that she was apparently in good health. However, the actual condition of her health would be known upon receiving the test results today, he added.

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia being taken out of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University yesterday afternoon. Photo: Amran Hossain

A SUV carried the BNP chairperson to the hospital, with an escort of police vehicles. A large number of police personnel and prison guards were deployed at the BSMMU.

Khaleda, 73, was taken to room-512 on the fourth floor of the BSMMU’s Cabin Block building. Her lawyers Mahbub Uddin Khokon and Sanaullah Miah went to the room to meet her.

The BSMMU director said x-rays of her spine, hip-joint and pelvis were done. She refused a wheelchair and walked towards the lift of the Cabin Block building, he added.

Syrul Kabir Khan, a staff of the BNP’s media wing, said Sharmila Rahman, wife of Khaleda’s younger son late Arafat Rahman Koko, and her daughters Zafiya Rahman and Zahiya Rahman met Khaleda briefly at the BSMMU. However, this correspondent could not independently verify whether they could meet her.

Police detain a BNP activist who had attempted to demonstrate outside the hospital when Khaleda was being taken there. Photo: Amran Hossain

Police detained several BNP activists from outside the university as they tried to stage demonstrations.

Khaleda fell sick in the jail on March 29 and postponed a scheduled meeting with BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

Earlier, a four-member medical board, comprised of four professors of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, was formed for the treatment of the BNP chief. The board examined her at the jail on April 1.

The team said Khaleda had been suffering from some old and new health problems, but none of those was serious.

Khaleda was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by a Dhaka court in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8.

Talking to journalists at the BSMMU, BNP leader Moudud said, “We don’t know why she was brought here. We were not informed about it earlier. The medical board formed by the government has clearly said that Begum Zia is sick which we have been saying for a long time.”

He said forming the medical board was just eyewash and the BNP had no confidence in the treatment provided to Khaleda by the government.

People, including hospital employees, wave at Khaleda from corridors. Photo: Amran Hossain

“She has been kept in an abandoned jail where she would fall sick for sure. We want her immediate release so that she can get treatment from her personal physicians.”

Meanwhile, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said the government would take necessary measures for Khaleda Zia’s treatment as per the jail code after taking advice from the medical board.

Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister, said if physicians suggest that she should be sent abroad for treatment, then the government would do so.

‘KHALEDA WAS HARASSED’

BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi yesterday alleged that the party chairperson was harassed mentally and physically in the name of providing treatment at the BSMMU.

“Khaleda Zia was forcibly taken to the hospital in an unprepared condition. A drama was staged in the name of her treatment and she was hurt — mentally and physically,” Rizvi told a press conference at the party’s Nayapaltan central office hours after completion of Khaleda’s medical tests.

Claiming that Khaleda was not in good health in jail, the BNP leader said the party has information that some seven to eight people entered her jail room and asked her to get ready quickly.

Khaleda was “not given” any treatment at the BSMMU indeed. She was even “denied of medical advice” from her personal physicians, Rizvi said.

The former prime minister was taken from “one place to another at the BSMMU deliberately with an intention to harass her” in the name of treatment, the BNP leader alleged.

He also criticised the government for deploying a huge number of law enforcers in and around the BSMMU and said there was pushing and shoving and untoward situation was created on the university premises as the law enforcers showed an unsolicited attitude.

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