Bangladesh’s ex-PM seeks bail in bus bombing case

Dhaka, April 3 (IANS) Bangladesh’s former prime minister and main opposition leader Khaleda Zia is expected to appear in court and seek bail after an arrest warrant being issued over a bus bombing attack, her lawyer said on Sunday.

A court in Dhaka on Wednesday issued arrest warrants for Zia, 70, and 27 leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in connection with a bomb attack on a bus in January 2015 during an anti-government campaign, the Daily Star reported.

“Madam (Zia) will appear before the court on April 5 and will seek bail,” her lawyer Sanaullah Miah told reporters.

The BNP called for a countrywide protest on Monday against the arrest warrant, saying it was politically motivated.

More than 120 people were killed and hundreds injured last year in political violence during transport blockades and strikes aimed at toppling the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Bangladeshi politics has been mired for years in rivalry between Hasina and Khaleda. Both women are related to former national leaders, and they have alternated as prime minister for the past two decades.

Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation, has also seen a surge in Islamist violence in which liberal activists, members of minority Muslim sects and other religious groups have been targeted.

Prime Minister Hasina has blamed the rising tide of violence on the opposition BNP and its key ally, Jamaat-e-Islami. Many of Jamaat leaders are being executed for war crimes during the 1971 War of Independence. The opposition denies any involvement.

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