‘No tickets’, so Khaleda Zia skips World Cup opening

Friday, February 18, 2011

DHAKA - Bangladesh opposition leader and former prime minister Khaleda Zia stayed away from the opening ceremony of the Cricket World Cup. Her office said she got only an invitation card and no tickets to attend matches.

She, however, expressed her best wishes for the Bangladesh team Thursday night and welcomed the foreign cricketers and guests.

Her press secretary Maruf Kamal Khan alleged neither the sports ministry nor the Bangladesh Cricket Board had invited her properly.

They [the authorities] just sent an invitation card to Khaleda Zia’s parliament office but none from the ministry or the cricket board contacted us, he said.

She did not get any ticket for the World Cup matches to be played in Bangladesh, Khan said.

Zia enjoyed the extravaganza on television at her brother’s house, where she has been staying since she was evicted from her home in Dhaka Cantonment last year.

Zia’s arch political rival, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened the tournament amid a musical extravaganza.

The organisers repeatedly thanked Sheikh Hasina for the support and made several references to her father and the country’s founding leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Zia, as widow of another former president Ziaur Rahman, inherits the rival political legacy.

Away from cricket frenzy, she welcomed the game.

The tournament is being held in Bangladesh. I welcome and greet all the participating teams, she said during a meeting with leaders of her party’s women and volunteer bodies.

People have a lot of expectations. I hope our team will emerge champion and we will receive them warmly, said the former prime minister, The Daily Star said.

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