B`desh govt has no immediate plans to try ex-dictator: Minister

B`desh law minister says govt is not thinking about Ershad`s trial right now.

Dhaka: Bangladesh government has said it has no immediate plans to try ex-military ruler HM Ershad despite the High Court asking it to take a decision on legal proceedings against him for "usurping" power in the 1982
bloodless coup.

"The government is not thinking about Ershad`s trial right now," Law Minister Shafique Ahmed told a function last night.

His remarks came more than a week after the High Court asked the government to decide on Ershad`s trial for being a "usurper" while it declared as "illegal" a 1986 constitutional amendment legitimising the 1982 military putsch.

Ahmed, however, said the "law would take its own course" and "Parliament may make a decision" as the High Court has observed the House could make a law to punish usurpers and stop repetition of military rules.

Ershad, also a lawmaker from Jatiya Party, on Thursday promised his support to the ruling Awami League-led grand alliance till the "last day of my life" and said that his relations with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s party would never be severed.

"I have called her (Hasina) sister, it`s an inseparable bond," Ershad, also regarded as a poet, said as his party hosted a reception for Hindu community leaders on the occasion of Janmashtami.

Ershad earlier welcomed with "respect" the August 26 High Court judgement dubbing him an "usurper" but said no one could send him to trial as all "good initiatives" during his decade-long regime had been legalised and "the rest" forgiven.

"There is no scope to put me on trial ... those who are asking for my trial, have not read the High Court verdict properly. They are mentally ill," Ershad said, a day after he held a crucial one-on-one meeting with Hasina reportedly to discuss his fate following the verdict.

Media reports, quoting Ershad`s close aides, said Hasina asked him "not to worry much about his fate."

Ershad was ousted in a massive pro-democracy campaign in 1990 jointly spearheaded by Hasina and her archrival Khaleda Zia of BNP. His party now has 29 lawmakers in the 300-member Parliament.


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