Two warrants of arrest were issued in two separate cases against Bangladeshi former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia as she failed to appear for hearings on Thursday.
Judge Akhteruzzaman of the Special Judge Court-5 in Dhaka issued a warrant after Khaleda Zia did not attend the hearing on the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case while Metropolitan Magistrate Nur Nabi also ordered her arrest in another case over undermining the country's map and national flag.
Khaleda Zia, also chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has been staying in London for the last three months for treatment, the party leaders say.
Khaleda's counsel Sanaullah Mia told journalists that the arrest warrants were politically motivated, with the aim of barring the largest opposition party chief's return to Bangladesh.
Khaleda Zia has reportedly been facing 30 cases, including five on corruption charges and 15 for masterminding violence during their anti-government movement since 2014.
Of the five graft cases, according to the sources, the trial proceedings in Zia Charitable Trust and Zia Orphanage trust graft cases against Khaleda are almost complete.
Khaleda often said political vendettas are to blame for the cases against her and her sons during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's incumbent government.
Political analysts say the key challenge for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party leadership could be bringing the party in power with people's mandate in the next general elections slated for early 2019.
AL, which rose to power with a landslide election victory in early 2009 and won its second term in 2014, now eyes for the third consecutive victory, observers say.
As always AL has been facing challenges from Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which boycotted the 2014 elections.
Some 21 parties including Khaleda Zia's BNP boycotted the parliament elections as Hasina did not heed their demand for a non-party caretaker government to hold the polls.
BNP has still been demanding parliament polls under a non-party government.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)