'They did not know anything about the issue'
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday termed media reports on BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's release on parole “baseless,” saying that there has been no decision yet in this regard.
"Several newspapers have been publishing news with different headlines on the issue [of parole] for a few days. I would like to clearly say Khaleda Zia did not give any decision to go [abroad] for treatment on parole," he said while speaking at the annual general meeting of a faction of Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) at the National Press Club.
However, when contacted, Fakhrul neither denied nor confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune saying “they did not know anything about the issue.”
Khaleda’s parole and her reported flight to UK for treatment came under scrutiny when some national dailies published the news claiming that the BNP had agreed to join in the parliament in exchange of Khaleda’s parole.
However, Fakhrul also added that it could be possible for Khaleda or her family members to apply for her parole. “But we have no information about their steps,” he said.
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Fakhrul also claimed that they will inform the media if the six leaders from BNP, elected in the December 30 general elections, will take oath in the parliament.
BNP Standing Committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said: “We want bail for our chairperson from jail and our main agenda is Khaleda Zia’s proper treatment since she is suffering from multiple health problems. But her parole is not a party issue, it is her personal decision or her family’s.”
He said: “Our [BNP] secretary general did not discuss much with the party chairperson.”
BNP Standing Committee member Nazrul Islam Khan said: “If we decide on the release of Khaleda Zia by parole and our elected BNP leaders join the parliament as MPs, then we will make an announcement at a press conference.”
The government cannot, on its own, release someone on parole; the prisoner has to ask for the parole as well, Law Minister Anisul Huq said.
Parole is the conditional release of an inmate before completion of a sentence.
Khaleda Zia is currently undergoing treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).
Khaleda, a former prime minister, has been serving time in Old Dhaka Central Jail since February 8, 2018 after being convicted in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.