Zia begins removing belongings from cantonment residence

Last Updated: Friday, December 3, 2010 - 19:59

Dhaka: After bringing Bangladesh to a
virtual standstill over the last few days with street
protests, opposition leader Khaleda Zia has quietly started
removing her belongings from her cantonment residence from
where she was ordered out by a court.

The High Court had ordered the Bangladesh Nationalist
Party (BNP) chief to evict the cantonment residence 20 days
ago.

"She (Zia) was asked to remove the belongings in three
days deploying only 25 workers and using limited number of
vehicles in presence of only two relatives of the opposition
leader," Zia`s press secretary Maruf Kamal Sohel said.

He said that besides Zia, her two expatriate sons and
12 domestic aides were also living with their families in the
house and given this the timeframe appeared scanty.

Newsmen and TV crews crowded at the main entrance of
the Dhaka cantonment. Witnesses said covered vans were seen
coming out of the restricted area carrying the belongings to a
house in nearby uptown Baridhara area.

The development came as Zia lost her final legal
battle in retaining the house after the apex court dismissed
her appeal petition on the matter.

The Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) officials
declined to make any comment on the development.

An official familiar with the process said the
cantonment board authorities had made an inventory of the
belongings along with a personal staff of the opposition
leader when she quit the house on November 13.

"The belongings included 18 air conditioners, 48
couches, six TV sets, five refrigerators," he said.

Hours after she had quit the house, a tearful Zia had
alleged she was humiliatingly ousted from the house, which she
was allotted under a controversial lease agreement 29 years
ago after the assassination of her husband, ex-president Ziaur
Rahman.

The ISPR had then said Zia voluntarily left her house
bringing with her most of her daily essentials and the
belongings remaining at the house would reach anywhere as per
her will.

Since Zia`s "ouster" from the house, Bangladesh
witnessed two nationwide general strikes and opposition street
protests as BNP vowed to carry out a massive anti-government
campaign.

The High Court two months ago asked Zia to vacate the
house validating an earlier government notice served on her.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s Awami League-led
government last year asked her to vacate the residence saying
the leasing process had been faulty and that she violated
lease terms by carrying out political activities from the
house located in a "protected area".

PTI



First Published: Friday, December 3, 2010 - 19:59

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