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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Bangladesh ex-PM 'still not free'
Khaleda Zia
Khaleda Zia has resisted attempts to be forced in to exile
Aides to former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia say that she is still facing curbs on her movements.

They say that restrictions are in place despite government assurances that she would have freedom of movement.

Several leaders from her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) had been turned away from her home by security guards, sources told AFP news agency.

Ms Zia's rival, Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina, returned to the country on Monday to be greeted by huge crowds.

Plain-clothed policemen

The military-backed caretaker government abandoned a plan to force the two women into exile last month. It said then that Ms Zia was not under house arrest, and denied allegations made by her supporters that it was trying to force her out of the country.

Sheikh Hasina's supporters welcome her back to Dhaka
Sheikh Hasina received a heroic welcome on Monday

"Even the people who are very close to her are not allowed to meet her," the aide told AFP.

On Monday, the High Court ordered the government to explain within four weeks why Ms Zia was not being allowed to move freely and why plain-clothed policemen continue to guard her house.

Responding to a legal petition, the court also ordered telephone lines to her residence to be reconnected, provided that she pays her bills.

The additional attorney general, Salauddin Ahmed, told the court that there were no restrictions on Khaleda Zia's movements and no restrictions on anyone visiting her. "In an earlier case, the government affirmed this position in writing," he said after the hearing.

Resting

Ms Zia's political rival, Sheikh Hasina, returned to Bangladesh on Monday after overturning a ban on her re-entering the country.

She received a rapturous welcome from thousands of dancing and jostling supporters who followed her car as it made its way back to her home from the airport.

A spokesman said on Tuesday that she would spend the day resting after her journey.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has proposed that political parties in the country register lists of their elected leaders with them.

Bangladeshi soldier
The military-backed government says it wants an end to corruption

"They will have to complete elections to their central and grassroots committees in accordance with their constitutions before applying for registration, and sources of funds will have to be disclosed," Sakhawat Hossain, a senior Election Commission official, said on Monday.

"Democracy and financial transparency within the parties will be looked into seriously," he said.

Analysts say that the idea behind the move is to end what many argue is dynastic leadership in the parties.

The interim government has pledged to hold elections by the end of 2008 after cleaning up Bangladesh's notoriously corrupt political system.


SEE ALSO
Ex-Bangladesh PM arrives in Dhaka
07 May 07 |  South Asia
What next for Bangladesh dynasties?
26 Apr 07 |  South Asia
Opposition welcomes B'desh U-turn
26 Apr 07 |  South Asia
Q&A: Bangladesh crisis
26 Apr 07 |  South Asia
Bangladesh exile plan 'delayed'
24 Apr 07 |  South Asia
Sheikh Hasina warrant suspended
23 Apr 07 |  South Asia
Country profile: Bangladesh
26 Mar 07 |  Country profiles

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