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The office of Khaleda Zia, the main opposition leader in Bangladesh, has come under a raid by police forces as authorities claim they were searching for ant-state documents.
“We entered the office following a court order to search for anti-state and anti-government documents,” Gulshan police chief Abu Baker Siddique said on Saturday of the raid which took place in an affluent neighborhood of the capital city of Dhaka.
Other sources said police had found no valuable material during the raid. Dozens of police officers surrounded the compound for two hours as other forces smashed the locks to enter the office. Other reports said close circuit cameras were also disabled by the police during the raid.
Khaleda Zia and her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) party condemned the raid as politically-motivated, saying it was meant to weaken the BNP as it prepares for the next general election.
“This is a politically motivated raid by the government. It is a move to taint our party leader’s image,” BNP spokesman Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said, adding that the drive was part of “a conspiracy” against Zia.
Zia, a two-time former prime minister, faces about three dozen cases of alleged graft, treason and violence. She and the BNP have staged numerous rallies across Bangladesh in anticipation of the next general election, which is due to be held in January 2019. The party had boycotted the last general election in 2014 allowing the rival party led by Sheikh Hasina to easily win the polls and took office. The move came after the BNP endorsed increasing fears that the polls could be rigged.
Reports have said Hasina’s government, which faces almost no opposition from the BNP in the parliament, have arrested tens of thousands of party supporters and activists over the past three years.