Bangladesh opposition leader Zia critically ill, aide says


DHAKA: Imprisoned former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia is critically ill and needs urgent medical care, a top leader of her party said Tuesday.
Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, a top aide to Zia, said the 72-year-old opposition leader had suffered a recent mild stroke and multiple complications. Doctors have warned that she could be paralyzed if she isn’t treated quickly, he said, adding that she can no longer walk on her own.
The government has offered to have Zia admitted to two state-run medical facilities, but Zia and her party insist she needs to go to the private hospital where she has long been treated.
“She needs regular care by our trusted doctors,” Alamgir, secretary general of Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party, said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We don’t have confidence” in the hospitals the government has offered, he said.
Zia was convicted in February of misusing power by embezzling some $250,000 in donations meant for an orphanage trust.
That conviction means that Zia, the archrival of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, could be barred from running in December national elections. Bangladesh law says anyone imprisoned for more than two years cannot run for office for the next five years.
She has been held since February, the only prisoner in a centuries-old jail in Dhaka.