Hasina denied flight to return home

British Airways informed Hasina that it could not issue her a boarding pass for the flight she is booked on.

world Updated: Apr 21, 2007 13:17 IST

Former Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina has been denied permission by British Airways to travel to Dhaka, prompting a prominent British peer to call it a violation of human rights.

Lord Avebury, vice-chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights Affairs, Friday expressed concern over the restriction, saying it was tantamount to violating human rights, the United News of Bangladesh (UNB) reported.

Hasina met Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Timm, who assured her that the restriction on her travel to Dhaka would be taken up with the Bangladesh government through diplomatic channels.

British Airways informed Hasina that it could not issue her a boarding pass for the flight she is booked on because of the advise they have received from the Bangladesh government that has placed restrictions on her return home.

Her flight is scheduled to leave Sunday at 2145 hours, to reach Dhaka 0545 hours on Monday.

Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed's government has barred Hasina's entry and has instructed immigration authorities not to allow her in.

British Airways was one of the airlines flying to and from Dhaka that was asked not to facilitate her travel.

Hasina was on a private visit to the US when the government slapped murder and extortion charges. She said she was flying back home to fight the charges and "face the consequences".

The government, reminding that she had led an "irresponsible" agitation in October-end that paralysed the country's economy and spread violence, said her return could jeopardise the economy and cause political instability.

The drama in London was unfolding even as Hasina's rival Khaleda Zia was trying to resist being exiled to Saudi Arabia.

Media reports in Dhaka Saturday said the government was trying to fly her out to Jeddah by Sunday so that it can deal with Hasina thereafter.

"The next few days will be crucial for Bangladesh and are expected to be full of suspense, as the military-backed interim government's new 'minus two' formula of politics will be tested through its success or failure in keeping and sending the two most prominent political leaders into exiles," The Daily Star said on Saturday.

The "minus two formula" refers to the government's plans for the ouster of the two women politicians.

First Published: Apr 21, 2007 13:14 IST