Hasina may seek 'alternative arrangements' to reach Dhaka
Apr 20, 2007 - 12:35:14 PM

Dhaka, April 20 - Bangladesh's former prime minister Sheikh Hasina, set scheduled to return home on a British Airways flight from London Sunday night, may seek 'alternative arrangements' if she is prevented from boarding the aircraft.

Hasina, who has been charged with murder, has been barred from returning home from her family visit to Florida. But she has said she would defy the ban and is ready to be detained by the government of Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed.

'It is my constitutional right as a citizen,' she told BBC Bangla Service and other media.

To ensure that the Awami League leader doesn't come back, the government has 'requested' various international airlines, including British Airways, not to allow Hasina to board the Dhaka-bound flight.

Unnamed political sources in Dhaka, quoted by The Daily Star, said she would look at 'alternative arrangements' but did not elaborate as to how she might try to reach Dhaka.

If she does get to board the British Airways flight Sunday, she would reach Dhaka at 5.45 a.m. Monday.

Slapped with a ban order by the government that has earlier pressed charges of murder and extortion, Hasina cut short her family visit to Florida.

She reached London Thursday from Washington, after being seen off by her son Sajeeb Wajed Joy and Awami League leaders and workers at Dulles International Airport.

The government Wednesday slapped a ban on her return, saying her arrival might disrupt the country's law and order and put the national security and economy in grave peril.

In a statement, it said it had decided to take special cautionary steps regarding her return.

The military-backed Ahmed administration blamed Hasina for the violent street protests leading to declaration of the state of emergency Jan 11.

It alleged that she has made inflammatory statements against the government and law enforcement agencies at several meetings and in national and international media.

The government fears that she might attempt to preach hatred among the public and destabilise the country if she returns to Bangladesh.

Issued by the home ministry on Wednesday, the press note said the Awami League chief herself had been concerned about her security and pleaded for special security measures -- and that was one of the reasons for the government action.

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