Allowing Khaleda to go abroad for treatment is political, not a matter of law26 November 2021 Editorial Desk
Begum Khaleda Zia is seriously ill and is under treatment at the Coronary Care Unit of the Ever Care Hospital in Dhaka. The demand for allowing her to go abroad for better treatment is being repeatedly rejected on legal grounds.
Relevant government ministers have made several observations that the BNP Chairperson should go back to the jail, ending the parole status, to make such a demand, that the law does not permit allowing her to go abroad for treatment and that she should apply to the President for permission to proceed abroad.
The fact is that the former prime minister is critically ill and noted physicians want her to be allowed to get improved treatment outside the country. Leaders of her party have already started accusing the government of playing politics with the life their septuagenarian leader.
Ranking legal experts are of the opinion that law is no bar to prevent Begum Khaleda Zia from going abroad for treatment. They point out that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was allowed to go the USA for treatment of ears during the rule of the last caretaker government when she was an under trial prisoner. Court cases and convictions do not make much difference, they say.
About the suggestion to apply to the President for permission does that mean to act outside the law? The government supporters also suggest Khaleda to apply to the Supreme Court as if it acts in violation of law.
Observers believe at this age and critical health condition Begum Zia can hardly pose any threat to the government if she proceeds abroad to save her life. The government would face a bigger crisis in case of her death without being allowed to go abroad for better treatment.
When Sheikh Hasina's trial was continuing she was permitted to go to the USA for treatment of one of her ears as claimed. It was a political decision taken by the army backed caretaker government. A sovereign Government can take any decision if given circumstances are urgent and essential and not against public interest.
Begum Khaleda Zia was Prime Minster three times and her illness has not suddenly happened as was the case of Sheikh Hasina, now Prime Minister. She knows best under which law she is now Prime Minister. But still she is the continuing Prime Minister.
Some new all-wise Awami League leaders asked her apply to the president or the Supreme Court as if they can work outside the law. The Supreme Court of Pakistan allowed former president Pervez Musharraf to go abroad for treatment despite the fact that he was facing cases. The people wanted Bangladesh to be a more humanitarian and politically not revengeful a country
We know she is in hospital in extremely emergency care in CCU. The situation calls for not only urgent political consideration but also humanitarian consideration. A sovereign state is not sovereign if it cannot take emergency decision in an urgent situation. As a sovereign country we should be free to take any political decision if the emergency so requires. Dr Zafrulla Chowdhury who saw her in hospital was forceful in asserting that Begum Zia's health is as critical as a matter of life and death and she should be allowed to go abroad for treatment.
If she does not return the government has nothing to lose. She would be punished in law in absentia.
We see no hope for political change through politics. So it is also safe politically to send her away.