BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia left here for London on Tuesday night for her eye treatment and celebrating Eid-ul-Azha there with her family members – the first reunion with her family since 2008.
She flew to London by an Emirates Airlines flight around 9:50pm, her Press Secretary Maruf Kamal Khan Sohel UNB.
Khaleda’s adviser Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, personal secretary ABM Abdus Sattar and Tabith Awal are accompanying her.
Senior BNP leaders, including party standing committee members Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Nazrul Islam Khan, joint secretary general M Shahjahan, BNP spokesman Asaduzzaman Ripon, Jubo Dal president Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal and Dhaka city unit BNP member secretary Habibun Nabi Khan Sohel, saw her off at the airport.
The emirate flight will have a stopover for two hours in Dubai at midnight and it is expected to reach London on Wednesday morning (local time), Maruf said.
This is her second trip to London since she left office in 2007 as she visited the UK in 2011 to meet Tarique Rahman while returning home form the USA. Tarique has been living in the UK since September, 2008.
Party sources said Koko’s wife and two daughters are also scheduled to go to London to celebrate the eid with other family members, including Khaleda.
This will be the first reunion and celebration of any eid festival of the Zia family members together since 2008.
Khaleda has been celebrating eid festivals alone in the country since 2008 as her two sons and their family members had been staying abroad. Koko died in Malaysia on January 24 this year.
Earlier on Sunday night, Khaleda had a meeting with her party’s senior leaders at her Gulshan office ahead of the London visit.
Party sources said BNP joint secretary general M Shahjahan will look after the party’s organisational activities in coordination with BNP standing committee members Nazrul Islam Khan and Gayeshwar Chandra Roy during the party chief’s stay in London.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir is also now in the USA for medical treatment.
Khaleda’s visit is considered to be a significant one for the party, as she is expected to discuss crucial political issues with her son Tarique, also the party’s second-in-command.
According to BNP insiders, Khaleda and Tarique will elaborately discuss the party’s next course of action to invigorate its demoralised leaders and activists and bring dynamism in its organisational activities.
As her party’s overhaul process is going on, Khaleda would elicit Tarique’s opinion on the formation of its standing committee, executive body and committees of its associate bodies and amendment to party’s constitution and selecting its secretary general.
A source close to Khaleda said she may not return home before September 30 as she is likely to visit some other European countries, too.
Meanwhile, tension runs high among two rival political groups of Bangladeshi expatriates living in London over BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s UK visit.
While BNP supporters are getting ready to welcome Khaleda on her arrival in London, Awami League activists are preparing to stage demonstrations carrying black flags.
“There has been a clod war among the British Bangladeshi political camps over Khaleda’s tour,” according to a report ran by BBC Bangla.- News Desk