The High Court will decide on Tuesday whether jailed BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia can participate in the upcoming general election.
Her nominations for Feni-1, Bogura-6 and 7 constituencies have been rejected by returning officers. The Election Commission also upheld the decisions, prompting the former prime minister to move the High Court on Monday. The bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir fixed the date for delivering a verdict on the matter after hearing the petition.Advocate AJ Mohammad Ali represented Khaleda while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam stood in for the Election Commission.
“We’re optimistic about getting justice,” Masud Ahmed Talukder, one of Khaleda’s lawyers, told UNB. “If we don’t, then we’ve the option to move the Appellate Division.”Why were Khaleda’s nominations cancelled?A convict, who served two or more years in jail in a criminal case, must wait for five years after serving the sentence before she or he can contest the election again.
BNP chief Khaleda was jailed for five years on February 8 this year in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. Her punishment was doubled by the High Court on October 30. A day before that, she was sentenced to seven-year imprisonment by a special court in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.
The former prime minister had filed nominations for contesting three seats. But election officials declared her ineligible for polls on December 2 since she had been convicted in two graft cases. Khaleda’s lawyers moved the Election Commission on Wednesday. Barrister Kaisar Kamal filed appeal for Feni-1, while Barrister Nowshad Jamin for Bogura-6 and Advocate Masud Ahmed Talukder for Bogura-7.On Saturday, the commission upheld the returning officers’ decision.