An arrest warrant was issued against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Thursday in a case filed against her for celebrating a fake birthday on August 15, observed in Bangladesh as a National Mourning Day, marking the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members in 1975, reports The Daily Star.
Gazi Zahirul Islam, former joint general secretary of the Dhaka Union of Journalists, had filed the case in the court of Metropolitan magistrate Mazharul Islam, who, after a hearing, had asked Khaleda to appear on October 17. Khaleda Zia did not appear even though three dates of hearings have passed.
Appealing for an arrest warrant, the complainant wrote that Khaleda’s actual date of birth was not August 15 but she celebrates her birthday on that date every year to undermine and dishonour Bangabandhu.
He also submitted copies of Khaleda’s passport, marriage certificate and mark sheets of exams taken prior to leaving school as well as a 1991 news report on her biography run by national daily Dainik Bangla.
Zia began celebrating her birthday by cutting a cake at her Minto Road residence from 1996, when she stepped down from power. In the past couple of years, she had been doing so in the early hours at her Gulshan office.
Though she decided to avoid ceremonies this year “considering floods in the country and oppression by the government”, BNP held a special prayer at its Naya Paltan headquarters.
According to bdews24, Khaleda’s father Iskandar Majumder, originally from Feni, was a resident of Dinajpur. Khaleda was born there. Her mother was Tayeba Majumder. Khaleda married Ziaur Rahman, then a captain of the Pakistan Army, in August 1960. Zia fought as a sector commander in the 1971 Liberation War.
But in the aftermath of the Bangabandhu’s assassination and a coup in 1975, which was followed by several more, Zia managed to capture power and emerge as the country’s first military dictator.
The assassination of Zia in May 1981 propelled Khaleda, who was a housewife until then, into the political hot seat. She began as the party’s vice-chairman and in 1984, became the chairperson.
Khaleda played a major role in the movement against another military dictator HM Ershad, now a Special Envoy to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The party won the 1991 elections and Khaleda became the first woman prime minister of Bangladesh. She was also prime minister for a brief period after a controversial election in February 1996.
In 2001, the BNP-led coalition won the election and she once again became the prime minister. In the 2008 elections, she, however, sat in Parliament as the Leader of the Opposition.
As her party boycotted the Jan 5, 2014 elections, Khaleda lost her seat in Parliament for the first time in 24 years, thus losing her state protocol.