Khaleda plans party clean-up before exile
Apr 21, 2007 - 12:34:41 PM

Dhaka, April 21 - As she prepares for her impending exile, former prime minister Khaleda Zia is planning to revamp the top hierarchy of her Bangladesh Nationalist Party - to keep it under her control, either through family members or a close circle of former armed forces officers.

Media reports said Saturday that she was 'annoyed' at the lack of adequate support from the party brass during her most trying time, facing persecution from Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed's government that has put her elder son Tareq in jail and wants to send her away to Saudi Arabia.

Changes in the party could be announced later Saturday, with her departure likely on Sunday.

Her brother, retired Major Syed Mohammed Iskander, could take over as the acting chairperson while retired Brigadier Hannan Shah may be the new secretary general, The Daily Star reported.

The axe would fall on long-time secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, who is widely seen as gathering support from among the party leaders and cadres. Most of them want Bhuiyan to lead, the newspaper said.

Besides being Zia's brother, Iskander has been the main conduit between her and the army brass and during the current crisis. He has been reportedly advising her not to hasten a showdown with the government.

Bhuiyan, who was also a minister in the Zia government -, is seen as not doing or speaking in defence of the party chief.

BNP leader Hannan Shah, a retired brigadier, told a private TV Friday that Zia had decided to bring about massive changes in the party leadership.

He also said that Zia was unwilling to leave the country, but if forced she may think of it.

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