Khaleda applies for passport renewal as govt reviews appeal to let her fly abroad

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Amid a buzz over an appeal to let Khaleda Zia travel abroad for advanced medical treatment, the BNP chairperson has applied for renewal of her passport.“She has applied for renewal and she will get it done,” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said on Thursday night.

He also said the home ministry was yet to get the law ministry’s opinion on her family’s appeal to let her fly abroad.

Her lawyer Mahbub Uddin Khokon said they applied for a renewal of Khaleda’s machine readable passport, which expired in 2019.

He hopes the former prime minister will get the passport soon.

Her family members are expected to apply for visa once they get the renewed passport
Government ministers and officials could not say which foreign country Khaleda’s family chose for her treatment as it was not mentioned in the appeal.

Law Minister Anisul Huq said earlier that he would check the seriousness of the application and provide his opinion soon.

The family decided to file the appeal following doctors’ advice after Khaleda, who has been hospitalised with COVID-19, complained of breathing distress. Convicted in two corruption cases, she is out on a suspended sentence granted by the government.

The law minister said the ministry would see if there was a scope to apply the rules again or relax restrictions in this case.

Law Secretary Golam Sarwar said the home ministry will send a summary of the appeal to the Prime Minister’s Office for final approval after getting Huq’s opinion.

After her brother Shamim Eskander met Home Minister Kamal on Wednesday night, the minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina always considers such issues with “generosity”.
The law minister also said the government is reviewing Khaleda’s appeal “with compassion” and he would brief the media when the review is complete.

Khaleda had been living in her Gulshan residence since the government granted her a suspended sentence in March 2020.

She had served 25 months out of 17 years of prison sentences in two corruption cases, involving the Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust.

The government imposed two conditions on the suspended sentence: Khaleda will not be able to travel abroad and she must receive treatment at home.

The 76-year-old has been undergoing treatment at Evercare Hospital in the capital since Apr 27 after she tested positive for the coronavirus on Apr 11. She has underlying health conditions.

On Monday, she was transferred to the Coronary Care Unit after she had complained of breathing distress.

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