Thursday, 14 October 2010

Khaleda set to vacate cantonment house

Khaleda Zia's residence located in
Mainul Hossain Road in cantonment
A court of Bangladedsh on October 13 in its judgment directed former prime minister and leader of the opposition Begum Khaleda Zia to vacate her cantonment house within one month.

The High Court passed the judgment rejecting Khaleda's Writ petition filed challenging a notice of the government that asked her to vacate the cantonment residence.

A bench of the HC comprising of Justices Nazmun Ara Sulatana and Sheikh Hassan Arif also directed the opposition leader to remove her furniture from the house within 30 days.

The bench on October 06 after holding hearing for 22 days set the date (October 13) for delivering its verdict on the matter.

Veteran lawyer Justice T H Khan, who argued along with Barrister Rafiq-ul-Haque and Barrister Moudud Ahmed for Khaleda, told reporters that whether they will appeal against the HC judgment would be decided after getting a certified copy of the judgment and consulting with his client.

However, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said "The HC rejected the Writ petition of Khaleda Zia and ordered her to vacate the house within 30 days."

"The residence was given illegally to Khaleda in 1981 through a so-called lease agreement. Following the verdict, the army got the house back," he said.

Pro-BNP lawyers immediately after the verdict brought out a protest procession at the Supreme Court premises.

The government last year served a notice to Khaleda Zia asking to vacate her cantonment residence, which was leased to her after assassination of her husband and former president Ziaur Rahman.

Subsequently, Khaleda Zia filed a Writ petition with the High Court challenging the government notice.

After holding hearing on the Writ for 22 days, the HC bench earlier fixed the date to give its judgment.

On April 20, 2009, the Directorate of Military Lands and Cantonments served a notice to Khaleda Zia asking her to vacate the cantonment house immediately.

Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the parliament urged the former Prime Minster Khaleda Zia to vacate the residence.

On May 3 that year, Khaleda Zia filed a petition with the High Court challenging the executive order.

In a modified notice on May 7, the directorate asked the opposition BNP chief to leave the house within 15 days.

Subsequently, a government ministry in a May 24 notice asked the former prime minister to leave the house by June 30.

Three days later, the court stayed the government notice for three months.

Later, the stay order upon the government notice was extended in several times.

The cabinet, in April 2009, decided to cancel the lease of the house on grounds that the leasing process had been faulty and that Khaleda Zia had violated the lease terms.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina had told the parliament that Khaleda Zia should vacate the house even before her cabinet decided on the matter. She said Khaleda's house would make way for blocks of apartments for families of army officers killed in the BDR mutiny of on February 25-26, 2009.

The 2.72-acre plot was originally the official home of the army's Deputy Chief of Staff, a position held by Ziaur Rahman, who later became army chief and then president.

After the assassination of Ziaur Rahman in a military coup in 1981, his widow Khaleda was also awarded a house in Gulshan in addition to the cantonment house, where the family had been living since the 1970s.

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