Thursday, July 18, 2019

Ershad says he is being blocked from getting medical care

  • Staff Correspondent
    Published: 2018-12-06 16:23:39 BdST


Jatiya Party Chairman Hussain Mohammed Ershad has complained that he is not receiving access to medical treatment, despite being sick, as political arena fills with speculation regarding his sickness.

The former military dictator alleged that he was barred from getting medical treatment both at home and abroad. 

The veteran politician did not name anyone in particular, but said they would not ‘stop him.’

Ershad has missed public events for the last few weeks since the Jatiya Party began its nomination process. Leaders from both Jatiya Party and the Awami League have provided journalists with varying accounts of his sickness.

On Thursday afternoon, the JP chairman suddenly came to his political office in Banani and spoke for a few minutes with leaders and activists from the party.

“Today I want to say that nobody can stop me.  I’ll move forward. I have become old but they won’t let me have treatment. They won’t let me travel abroad. But I’m not scared of death,” said Ershad.

“You should not be afraid. The Jatiya Party will live through you people. The Jatiya Party has always contested in elections and will contest it this time too,” said Ershad as he motivated the leaders and activists.

Ershad had declared that he would not run in the 2014 election over a ‘dramatic sickness’ and got admitted in the Combined Military Hospital. But he got elected an MP during his stay in the hospital and later was appointed as the prime minister’s special envoy.

A fresh discussion began about the ‘sick’ JP chairman when it was learned that he was admitted to the CMH during the nomination process for the 11th national election.

Ershad is ‘genuinely sick’ and the situation not a ‘political stunt,’ Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader told journalists at the end of the last month. He will be taken to Singapore soon, he had said.

But then Jatiya Party Secretary General ABM Ruhul Amin Howlader gave journalists a different picture. Ershad’s sickness is ‘not that serious,’ he said, adding Ershad will contest the election.

Since then a number of Jatiya Party leaders accused Ershad and Howlader of charging them exorbitant sums for nominations, which Howlader denied.

There was a sudden change Jatiya Party after Howladar’s nomination for Patuakhali-1 seat was rejected. The secretary general, a close confidante of party chief Ershad, was replaced with Mashiur Rahman Ranga, known as a ‘close aide’ to the government.

Ershad feels ‘vulnerable’ due to a low haemoglobin count in his blood, new secretary general Ranga told the journalists. He has had to visit the hospital frequently, he added.

“He goes to CMH if he suffers from disturbances in his sleep. He feels scared being alone in the house. Also, there is always a risk of infection.”

Ershad should travel abroad for his treatment despite being ‘hundred percent fit,’ the new secretary general claimed. But he does not want to travel abroad without fulfilling his duty as the Jatiya Party chairman. He may travel abroad after Dec 10, following the finalisation of seat sharing by the Grand Alliance, he had suggested.

Ershad also spoke about the new JP general secretary at his office on Thursday.

“I loved the previous general secretary. You should love and support the new one,” he said.

“I am alive and I’ll continue to live. I have been on the streets for 27 years but never left the party. Everything depends on you people. All of you must promise me to never leave the party,” said 88-year-old Ershad.

He left the party office premises after a brief stay.

Party activists then chanted slogans in support of Ershad.