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Mujib-killers were extended state patronage

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 25 Aug 2018

Mujib-killers were extended state patronage
Ever since the days of Bangladesh’s first military dictator-cum-BNP founder Gen Ziaur Rahman up to the Khaleda Zia regime (2001-06), the killers of the country’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was assassinated on August 15, 1975, enjoyed various state facilities and patronage.

 Indemnity Ordinance was promulgated granting the murderers immunity from prosecution and protection under cloak of law. The bizarre sequence of events that followed was nothing short of mafia rule.

 

12 Army officers directly associated with the killing of Sheikh Mujib were given diplomatic job in various Bangladesh mission abroad by Gen Ziaur Rahman. Subsequently all of them were inducted in Foreign Service cadre in 1980.

 

The killers including Lt Col Shariful Haque Dalim, Lt Col AM Rashid Chowdhury, Lt Col SHMB Nur Chowdhury, Lt Col Aziz Pasha and Capt Abdul Majed held diplomatic assignments abroad. Lt Col Shariful Haque Dalim held diplomatic positions in Hong Kong, China and Kenya; Lt Col Aziz Pasha in Algeria and Zimbabwe; Maj Bazlul Huda in Pakistan and Thailand; Lt Col AM Rashed Chowdhury in Saudi Arabia and Japan and Lt Col SHMB Nur Chowdhury in Pakistan.

 

The autocratic ruler Gen Ershad who succeeded Gen Ziaur Rahman also followed the policies of his predecessor. Even Khaleda Zia’s so-called democratic rule (1991-96) that was virtually an extension of Ziaur Rahman and Ershad’s Army rule, continued with the same policies.

 

Freedom Party, founded by self-confessed Mujib killer Lt Col Rashid was not only allowed to participate in the parliamentary elections in February1996, his victory was also ensured by the Khaleda Zia regime through various electoral malpractices. During the military regime of Gen Ziaur Rahman and Gen Ershad, Mujib killers were rehabilitated and many of them joined politics.

 

In response to the Awami League government’s appeal in 1997 seeking Interpol assistance in locating and arresting the Mujib killers, the international police organization issued a red corner notice against 15 Mujib killers then hiding abroad. Five of the killers namely Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Mahiuddin Ahmed, Bazlul Huda and Lancer Mahiuddin Ahmed were arrested.

 

Efforts to bring the killers to justice suffered a set-back during Khaleda Zia’s second term as Prime Minister when names of the killers were withdrawn from the Interpol red corner notice. The process initiated by Sheikh Hasina in 1997 was not carried forward. Khaleda Zia refrained from seeking renewal of the Interpol red notice and allowed it to expire.

 

A cell, set up by the Awami League government in Foreign Ministry during the period 1996-2001 to collect information about the Mujib killers hiding in foreign countries, was closed as the Khaleda Zia government came to power. The process has, however, been revived after Sheikh Hasina once again took over the mantle in 2009.

 

Killer-Majors (a term used for the Mujib killers) continued to enjoy all the government facilities, foreign postings and promotions as Foreign Service cadre officers. One of them namely Maj Khairuzzaman, who was dismissed from service in 1996 by the Awami League government, was subsequently reinstated as soon as the BNP led government was installed in 2001. He subsequently became Additional Secretary in Foreign Ministry.

 

Another Mujib killer, Aziz Pasha, whose services at Bangladesh mission in Zimbabwe were terminated in 1996 by the Awami League government was subsequently given premature retirement with all post-retirement facilities by the BNP government. Pasha, however, died in Zimbabwe in 2002.

 

During the regime of Gen Ershad, two Mujib killers Bazlul Huda and Shahriar Rashid returned to Bangladesh and formed a new political party ‘Progotishil Ganatantrik Shakti’. At around the same time Lt Col Rashid and Lt Col Farooq also returned to Dhaka to set up business with a view to settle down permanently. They formed ‘Freedom Party’. Lt Col Farooq was even encouraged to contest the Presidential election in 1986. 

 

In the parliamentary elections held in 1988, Freedom Party was allowed to participate and the self-confessed killer Bazlul Huda was given an opportunity to sit in the parliament as an MP. There was a repetition of this when the Khaleda Zia regime created opportunities for another self-confessed Mujib killer and Freedom Party leader Lt Col Rashid to enter the parliament as a member in the elections held on February 15, 1996.

 

On January 27, 2010 after completing all legal procedures that included nullifying the Indemnity Law which gave the killer-Majors immunity from prosecution, five of them including AKM Mahiuddin Ahmed, Bazlul Huda, Sultan Shahriar Rashid, Farooq Rahman and Mahiuddin Ahmed were hanged in accordance with the Supreme Court judgment. Remaining six killers are on the run. But the Sheikh Hasina government is determined to bring them to justice and free the nation of the stigma.




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