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Politicians barred from visiting Zia's residence

The restriction was imposed since early on as "she used to hold meetings with party leaders in the name of family functions" at her residence.

world Updated: Apr 10, 2007 12:25 IST

Authorities in emergency-ruled Bangladesh have restricted fellow politicians from visiting former Prime Minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Khaleda Zia's residence inside the Dhaka Cantonment.

The restriction was imposed since early on as "she used to hold meetings with party leaders in the name of family functions" at her residence despite the ban on political activities under the emergency rule, the mass circulated Prothom Alo newspaper reported quoting unidentified sources.

Other than personal aides or domestic helps, none were allowed to enter into the residence since yesterday while security officials told the daily that they also conveyed the decision to residents of the house where Zia lives with her younger son Arafat Rahman and two daughter-in-laws.

Party officials said they were yet to be informed "officially" about the restriction but the newspaper quoting unnamed sources claimed that the decision was taken to force her to go abroad leaving the country for an indefinite period.

Zia's elder son Tarique Rahman is currently in jail on several graft or extortion charges since his arrest from the residence last month.

The report came a day after her archrival former premier and Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina, now on a visit to the United States, was sued under a graft charge involving Taka three crore (local currency).

Bangladeshi Chairman of a Malaysia-based private sector power plant lodged the case alleging that Sheikh Hasina forced him to pay the amount for obtaining the government permission to install the 110 MW plant in late 1998 when Awami League was in power.

Awami League sources said Hasina planned to return home "soon" cutting short her visit to face the charge.

Nearly 60 high-profile politicians, mostly belonging to immediate past premier Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) were grilled as part of a massive anti-graft campaign since the reconstituted interim government under Fakhruddin Ahmed assumed office a day after Bangladesh came under emergency rule on January 11.