Begum Khaleda Zia is the wife of the assassinated Bangladesh President General Zia. She took over the leadership of the party after his death and has been a twice prime minister of Bangladesh.Her last stint as premier was in 2001-06. Begum Khaleda has been a relentless opponent of Begum Hasina who heads the Awami party and is the prime minister.

While in the opposition she was indicted by the anti-corruption bureau of embezzlement of 3.1 million Taka from the Zia Orphanage fund. This was the money that came from abroad for a humanitarian cause. Her eldest son Tarique Rahman and four others were charged along with her for the offense.

Tariq is the Vice-Chairman of the BNP( Bangladesh Nationalist party). Yahoo news has reported that the Begum is given five-year jail term while the others including her son have been sentenced to 10 years RI.

Sentenced to RI

Begum Zia attended the court and sat on a wooden chair while the judge Mohammad Akhtaruzzaman read out the sentence from 632 page written the judgment. After the sentencing, all the accused were taken away, and it was informed that the Begum would be kept in old Dhaka Central Jail at Nazimuddin Road in southern Dhaka.

The news of her conviction spread and her supporters enforced a shut down in Dacca. There were also clashes with the police as anger spread among BNP members and supporters as the repercussions of the conviction dawned on them.

Her lawyers have said they will appeal, but that may not help matters as general elections are due in a few months time and Begum Zia will be debarred from contesting. Bangladesh electoral law prohibits a convicted person of any crime that carries a jail term of two years or more from contesting the elections.

Ferment in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is in ferment. How long this will last has to be seen.Though the BNP is not in power, it is the principle opposition. This conviction will give a free run to begum Hasina, the present PM to once again win the coming election. Begum Hasina is the daughter of the assassinated Bangladesh President Sheikh Mujibar Rehman.

She is the most popular leader in Bangladesh, but she will have to use all her acumen and charisma to control the spreading agitation. The two Begums have dominated Bangladesh politics for over three decades.


Begum Zia has lost much of her sheen, and she had almost given a walkover to the Awami party in the last general election. She and the BNP were hoping for a better show this time, but this conviction has finished her political career efficiently. But her supporters are agitating and with Dacca shut down and agitation spreading the scenario is fraught with danger. India which helped free Bangladesh will be watching the situation with interest and concern