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Bangladesh: Arrest warrant against former PM Khaleda Zia for celebrating birthday on August 15

Bangladesh's current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is Sheikh Mujibur Rehman's daughter. In photo: Khaleda Zia. Photograph: (Getty)

Dhaka, Dhaka Division, Bangladesh Nov 18, 2016, 04.15 AM (IST)

 
A Dhaka court issued a warrant Thursday for the arrest of Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief and former prime minister Khaleda Zia for celebrating her birthday on August 15.

August 15 is observed as National Mourning Day in Bangladesh and is the day the country’s founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and his family were assassinated, PTI reported.

Bangladesh's current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is Sheikh Mujibur Rehman's daughter.

An official told PTI it was Zia’s "defiance" that prompted the prosecution to ask the court to issue the warrant.

“(Zia) was summoned by the court but she did not appear during three previous hearings… So the magistrate issued the arrest warrant in line with legal procedure,” the official said.  

Zia’s birthday?

On August 31, journalist Gazi Zahir filed a case with the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court, alleging that Zia’s marriage certificate said her date of birth was August 9, 1944, but that she chose to celebrate her birthday on August 15 to mock the “father of the nation”.

Zia's other documents, PTI reported, including her first passport and her official biography published in 1991, say Zia’s date of birth are August 5 and August 19 respectively.

“I have submitted copies of all these documents before the court as none of those suggest that she was born on August 15,” PTI quoted Zahir as saying.

Zia’s birthday celebrations on August 15 -- they started in 1996 -- have been a source of much vexation for the ruling Awami League which incidentally returned to power that same year.

(WION with inputs from PTI)

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