A court in Bangladesh on Sunday ordered police to execute by April 24 the arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and 48 other Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leaders in a case involving an arson attack on a bus that left eight persons dead in 2015.
Comilla court Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Joynab Begum passed the order and fixed April 24 as the next date for hearing, Dhaka Tribune quoted police inspector Subrata Banerjee as saying.
The court on January 2 accepted chargesheet against 69 people and issued the warrant for the BNP chairperson and others for failing to appear before it.
At least eight people were killed and 20 injured when miscreants hurled a petrol bomb at a bus at Chouddagram’s Jogmohanpur during the BNP-led alliance’s movement and nationwide blockade on February 3, 2015.
Two separate cases – one under the Explosive Substances Act and another for murder – were filed over the incident.
Chouddagram police Sub-Inspector Nururzzaman had filed the murder case against 77 people, including Khaleda Zia.
Another Comilla court had on October 9 last year ordered the arrest of Khaleda and 45 others in the explosives case.
Khaleda is a two-time Bangladesh Prime Minister, having ruled from 1991-96 and again from 2001-06.
In a political career spanning almost four decades, Khaleda went to jail several times but was never convicted. She was detained several times during the anti-Ershad movement between the 1980s and 1990s.
In March 1983, she was made vice-chairperson of BNP after her husband and former Bangladesh president Ziaur was assassinated. She went on to become the party’s chairperson in 1984, a position which she holds today.
Since the last three decades, Bangladeshi politics have been dominated by Zia and current Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.