Dhaka : Opposition leader and the former Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Khaleda Zia, has been convicted in the corruption case and sentenced to five years imprisonment by the Special court. The general elections in Bangladesh will be conducted at the end of this year. Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh National Party (BNP), who had boycotted the last elections were making strong preparations this time around. But, the imprisonment of Khaleda Zia is a major setback to Khaleda Zia and her party. This has escalated the tension in Bangladesh.
There are many serious accusations of corruption on Khaleda Zia. There have been accusations of financial frauds during her tenure as the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Sheikh Haseena had taken a decision to file suits in the court against Khaleda Zia for all the cases. Khaleda Zia went even to the Supreme Court to escape action against her. But, the Supreme Court dismissed the demand and asked her to face trials. In one of these cases, the Special Court announced its verdict. The accusation of Khaleda Zia diverting an amount of $ 252,000 to her ‘Zia Orphanage Trust’, was proved in the court. The court handed out a sentence for five years of imprisonment. Also, Khaleda Zia’s son, Tarique Rahman and other four have been handed a sentence for 10 years of imprisonment.
There is a possibility of Khaleda Zia being disqualified for the December elections. The ‘BNP’ has been severely shaken as their main leader is behind bars. Protests had started even before the Special Court announced its verdict. There were apprehensions of major violent agitations if Khaleda Zia was convicted. There is heavy police deployment everywhere including – Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
The ‘BNP’ leaders have announced that they will be starting their protests from Friday. Meanwhile, Khaleda Zia had become the Prime Minister three times. She had a very stormy tenure due to the corruption cases as well as her pro-Pakistan policies and encouragement to extremists. Khaleda Zia has given a message to her supporters after the verdict. Khaleda Zia emotionally appealed, to her supporters ‘I will come back, don’t cry for me, don’t worry, just wait’. Khaleda Zia has options either to move to the Higher court or appeal for bail. Khaleda Zia will get relief only if the Higher court grants bail after four days.