BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has landed in the country after a 96-day trip to London for her medical treatment.
The Emirates flight carrying Khaleda landed at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka at 5:10pm on Wednesday.
Thousands of party leaders and supporters took position from the early afternoon on both sides of the road from the airport to Khaleda's Gulshan residence to welcome her.
Khaleda left London at Bangladesh time 2:50am from Heathrow Airport. Her son and BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman, accompanied by hundreds of BNP activists, saw her off.
At Shahjalal, only four people including BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, were allowed to receive her.
Outside the airport, supporters greeted her with cheers and waved banners and placards.
The BNP chief returned to her Gulshan residence.
BNP supporters all around the country are enthusiastic about the chairperson's return. The party is in a festive mood.
A supporter named Ershad Hossain, who spoke to this correspondent on Wednesday morning in front of BNP's Naya Paltan headquarters, said: “Because of Awami League's propaganda, there was a small splinter of doubt in our minds that she might not return.
“Also, the government tried to prevent her return with the cases and warrants and conspiracies. Khaleda Zia has defied all these threats and returned home.”
In Khilkhet, Rashid, a 22-year-old man carrying a placard to greet Khaleda on the road, said he came from Jamalpur last night.
“I hope to get a glimpse of her when she passes this road,” he said.
Khaleda is scheduled to appear before a Dhaka court on Thursday in a corruption case filed against her, and on October 23, she will hold a meeting with Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in Dhaka.
Next week Khaleda will meet with BNP central leaders and hold a Standing Committee meeting to set next plan of action for the party.
BNP Vice Chairman Md Shahjahan said leaders and activists from all around the country had come to see the party chief.
“We are all praying for her health and well-being,” he said.
What's next for Khaleda?
Arrest warrants: Khaleda is facing arrest warrants in three cases: one concerning alleged corruption at her Zia Orphanage Trust; one for “disrespecting the flag”; and one for an alleged arson in Comilla. Sources from the BNP chairperson's office said her next course of action will be to meet with her lawyers to review legal procedures with respect to the arrest warrant that has been issued against her.
Court appearances: Today, she will appear in the court for the Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust cases.
Party meetings: Party leaders say Khaleda will meet with activists from all levels to appraise current political conditions and issue instructions. She may be holding a press conference to address the lawsuits against her. She is also expected to visit the Rohingya refugees.
Meeting with Sushma Swaraj: On October 23 Khaleda may be holding a meeting with Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.