Hasina was allowed out of her home to visit a relative.
 
Security officials still prevented party workers as well as journalists from getting to see them and maintained tight security on the rival leaders, who alternated as prime minister of the country for 15 years until 2006.

The easing of restrictions came after Fakhruddin Ahmed, head of the interim government, told the BBC on Wednesday that the women were free to go about their business.

Violence

Bangladesh has been under a state of emergency since January, imposed in the wake of widespread violence between supporters of Khaleda and Hasina.

An election planned for January 22 was also cancelled and all political activity banned.

Fakhruddin has said he hopes to complete the electoral reforms - including preparing a new voters roll - before end of 2008.

Sakhawat Hossain, a retired army brigadier and senior official at the election commission, told a private television station on Thursday night that the commission would complete its task fully and honestly without being pressured by anyone or any quarter.

"We are here to do a job ... and we know how to do it best," he said.