Pro-BNP lawyers’ memo to Law Minister

24 November 2021

A delegation of pro-BNP lawyers on Tuesday submitted a memorandum to Law Minister Anisul Huq seeking the government's permission to send ailing Khaleda Zia abroad for treatment.
They argued that there is no legal obstruction for the government in allowing Khaleda to go abroad.
The delegation, led by Advocate Fazlur Rahman, member secretary of Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum (BJAF), met the Law Minister at his secretariat office around 1:45pm and submitted the memorandum to him.
In the memorandum, the lawyers said the BNP chairperson and three-time (former) Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has been receiving treatment in Coronary Care Unit (CCU) of Evercare Hospital in a critical condition.
They said the specialist doctors who are treating her have already given an opinion to send her abroad for advanced treatment. "We the lawyers are concerned over the deterioration of health condition of the country's three-time former Prime Minister...we think it's imperative to allow her to go abroad for advanced treatment in a bid to save her life."
They mentioned that the government released Khaleda as per section 401 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) with two conditions and the tenure of her release was extended thrice.
"She didn't violate any condition so far. The government can anytime make an arrangement for Khaleda Zia's treatment abroad by issuing a fresh gazette notification without imposing any condition under section 401 (1)or issuing a new order under subsection 6 of 401. In this case, there's no legal barrier. Rather, such a decision of the government will be lawful," the lawyers said.
Under the circumstances, they hoped that the government would demonstrate its generosity by taking necessary steps for sending Khaleda abroad for better treatment.
Khaleda, a 76-year-old former prime minister, was readmitted to Evercare Hospital on 13 November, six days after she had returned home from the hospital.
The BNP chief's physicians said she has been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, critical cardiac, kidney ophthalmological and dental complications. The hemoglobin level in her blood has also dropped.
On behalf of the family, Khaleda's younger brother, Shamim Iskander, submitted an application to the Home Ministry on 11 November urging the government to allow her to go abroad for better treatment.
Law Minister Anisul Huq, however, recently said the BNP chairperson first has to make a fresh application by going back to jail to go abroad for treatment.

Chinese birthrate
The government is under pressure to prevent a potential population decline after decades of interventionist policies on childbirth and more recent pressures including high living costs.
It did not give reasons for the dramatic drop, but demographers have previously pointed to the relatively low number of women of child-bearing age and the rising cost of raising a family.
The yearbook reported a drop in per capita spending on educational, cultural and recreational costs, and health and medical services for rural and urban Chinese, and an increase in household income. Housing costs also rose.
China's population woes are largely driven by a one-child policy that was implemented in 1980 and ran - with some exemptions - until 2015, but they are part of a broader pattern around the world, particularly in east Asia.
Governments and local authorities have introduced a swathe of policies seeking to reverse the trend, from relaxing limits on having children, to easing costs associated with education and child rearing, and introducing mandatory "cooling off" periods for divorces.
China's yearbook revealed a fall in divorces for the first time since at least 1985, to about 4.3m, though there were also fewer marriages, 8.14m, compared with 9.27m the year before.
But it appears the government's policies have so far failed to adequately address young people's concerns about the costs associated with having children.
"What the Chinese government is doing has already been done by the Japanese government, and the former is not as rich as the latter," said Yi Fuxian, a senior scientist in obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Japan can provide free healthcare and education, but China can't."
Yi, the author of Big Country With an Empty Nest, said there were many social and societal influences on China's low birthrate, and interventionist policies on reproduction had also shaped public sentiment.
"Most people just want one child, as was promoted by the government, and they have become used to having just one child. They don't want a second or third despite the policy changes," Yi said.
"For the foreseeable future the Chinese government can't do much, because Japan has done everything it can and must consider its society and economics to make fundamental changes. The difficulty of this is even higher than the reform and opening up in 1979. I don't know if the Chinese government has such boldness."
Yao Meixiong, a demographics expert and adjunct professor at Huaqiao University's school of economics and finance, told the local outlet Jiemian that the low levels of desire to have children was a wake-up call for China's development.
"The response to the population crisis is in a race against time, and measures to encourage childbirth must be expedited," Yao said.

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