Ms. Zia’s international affairs adviser Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury said she has been "under virtual house arrest."

Bangladesh security forces on Thursday laid a siege around the residence of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Khaleda Zia, ahead of an anti-government rally planned in the capital demanding postponement of the January 5, 2014 elections.

Witnesses said police in riot gear took positions around Ms. Zia’s house barring party activists and visitors’ entry at the up-market Gulshan area. However, it was not clear if the former Prime Minister was kept under house arrest.

“We have been working for whatever we think is required to maintain law and order and security of all,” police commissioner Benajir Ahmed told reporters.

Ms. Zia’s international affairs adviser Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury was quoted as saying that “since Wednesday she has been under virtual house arrest” and alleged that it was part of a government move to foil the December 29th ‘march for democracy’.”

Police officials, however, rejected the claim that Ms. Zia was detained and said they were ordered just to intensify the security of her residence and other party leaders.