Khaleda under pressure to leave Bangladesh: report
Apr 13, 2007 - 8:25:15 PM

Dhaka, April 13 - Former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia is under pressure to leave her country with her popularity within her Bangladesh Nationalist Party - on the wane and her wealth and assets likely to be probed soon, a media report said Friday.

Many senior BNP leaders are planning to challenge her. They have asked her to expel the corrupt leaders, but she had refused, The Daily Star said Friday.

'Some leaders opine in privacy that the BNP would be better off without Khaleda, who lost popularity in the party in the last five years so much so that the rebel leaders feel little support the once iron-lady would get from the party if she is forced to leave the country,' the newspaper said in a front-page report.

The report came as one of her trusted advisors, former law minister Moudud Ahmed, was arrested Friday. While there was no official word, the family members confirmed the arrest, Star Online said.

Prime minister for two terms -, Zia has been the unquestioned leader of the BNP since 1981, when her husband, President Ziaur Rahman, was assassinated.

She had called off her visit to Saudi Arabia to perform Umra earlier this week. But with investigations likely to start soon into her wealth and assets, Zia, reportedly under a virtual house arrest, may leave the country.

Communication Advisor M.A. Matin told the media Thursday that the government on its part had no plans to 'force' Zia out of the country. However, he said that investigations would begin into her wealth and assets.

However, the newspaper quoted the BNP and intelligence sources that her 'forced' departure from the country 'is only a matter of time.'

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