Bangladesh apex court upholds Zia`s eviction

Zia came to live in the colonial era house as wife of then deputy army chief.

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s opposition leader Khaleda Zia on Monday lost her appeal before the country`s Supreme Court against her eviction by the government from her Dhaka cantonment house.

The apex court dismissed the leave-to-appeal petition filed by the former prime minister. The petition challenged the Dhaka High Court verdict earlier that had declared valid the government notice asking her to leave the Dhaka cantonment residence, a website reported.

Zia had lived in that house since 1972.

The three-member full bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haq also turned down the petitions filed by Zia for staying the higher court verdict and seeking status quo over the house issue.

The court verdict could be a major political setback for her as she plans a dawn-to-dusk strike Tuesday against the Sheikh Hasina government.

Zia on Nov 8 filed two petitions with the apex court challenging the high court verdict that declared as valid the government notice to her to vacate the Dhaka Cantonment house.

She also filed two other petitions with the Supreme Court Nov 23. She claimed she was evicted illegally and prayed for status quo over the house issue and an order so that she can return to the house.

Zia said she had been "forced out", and the government`s action was criticised as being "crude" by sections of the media.

Zia came to live in the colonial era single-storeyed house as wife of then deputy chief of the army, General Ziaur Rahman, who later became the army chief and staged a military coup to grab power. Gen Rahman eventually became the country`s president.

He was killed in another military-led coup in May 1981.

Then president Abdus Sattar, on recommendation of the cabinet, allotted the house to Zia`s family in recognition of the services to the nation rendered by her husband.

The Hasina government has, however, said the allotment was illegal. Hasina has said she wants the house to rehabilitate the families of victims of a mutiny by border guards last year.