The jailed BNP chief wants to go to a private hospital in Dhaka, while authorities suggest the CMH
Uncertainty prevails over which hospital the imprisoned BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will be taken to for treatment.
The former prime minister refused to continue being treated at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) yesterday. The government had taken her twice so far to the BSMMU for consultations and tests.
According to jail authorities, she expressed a wish to obtain treatment at the privately owned United Hospital in Dhaka's Gulshan.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters later in the day they would suggest that Khaleda be trreated at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in the Dhaka Cantonment.
However, Inspector General (Prisons) Brig Gen Syed Iftekhar Uddin has said as per the Jail Code, they can only take her to a public hospital.
Khaleda Zia was sentenced to five years in jail on February 8 for embezzling funds meant for an orphanage set up under her late husband Ziaur Rahman’s name.
Since May, top BNP leaders have been alleging that Khaleda was not receiving proper treatment facilities in jail and the government is barring her family and personal physicians from visiting her.
She was finally taken to BSMMU on April 7, where doctors said her condition was not serious.
Khaleda's family visited her last Friday and said they had learned that she fell unconscious on June 5.
Her four-member team of doctors visited her on Saturday. They said that she had had a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) – a kind of mild stroke – and suggested that Khaleda be immediately tested, diagnosed, and treated as per the instructions of the medical team.
Meanwhile yesterday morning, Khaleda's family sent a letter to the Home Ministry asking the government to allow her to receive treatment at United Hospital at their own expense. Her younger brother Shamim Iskander said his sister has been suffering from various ailments.
“She is not receiving proper medical treatment in jail. Her physical condition has significantly deteriorated,” Iskander wrote.
Khaleda’s advisor Bijon Kanti Sarkar took the letter to the minister along with two physicians and requested him to allow Khaleda Zia’s treatment at the United Hospital.
Talking to journalists, Home Minister Kamal said they would offer Khaleda to continue her treatment at the CMH.
“We would do our best to ensure best treatment for her under government facilities,” he said.
Kamal said he thought that Khaleda should agree since CMH has better facilities than United Hospital anyway.
He however, said if Khaleda does not want to go to CMH, the government would take decision in accordance with the situation.
BNP Standing Committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain in a press briefing yesterday said the party would bear the treatment cost. He also warned the government of “serious consequences” if the government delayed or neglected her treatment for political reasons.