As I have Seen Tarique RahmanBarrister Moudud Ahmed MP

To understand and determine the position of Tarique Rahman in the national politics of Bangladesh, one has to look first at Shaheed (Martyred) President Ziaur Rahman, a legendary statesman, emerged through the passage of history as one of the most popular leaders of our time. Otherwise an unknown young military officer, stationed in Chittagong as a Major of 8 East Bengal Regiment, he took the courage of declaring the independence of a new sovereign state now called Bangladesh in the face of the onslaught of the Pakistan Army on the unarmed people of East Pakistan. In the absence of the political leaders who had so long led the people to struggle for a self-rule for the Bengalis, it was the voice of Ziaur Rahman broadcasted over the radio from Kalurghat transmission outlet, in the afternoon of 27th March 1971, which inspired millions of people to start a war and ultimately liberated the country in December 1971.

After the glorious victory in the war, Ziaur Rahman returned to his professional position in the Bangladesh Army, while the political leaders took the responsibility to govern the new nation. In less than four years on 15th August 1975, the people faced a national tragedy when some army officers killed Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who only five months before had turned the country into a one-party monolithic rule to become the omnipotent President of the new Republic. With the demise of Sheikh Mujib, the government was taken over by Khandaker Moshtaque Ahmed, a senior leader of his own party, by imposing Martial Law in the country. After 2 months and 18 days, on 3rd November, in a countercoup, the Chief of General Staff Khaled Mosharraf put

Ziaur Rahman, the Chief of Army Staff, under house arrest and reversed the country to the hegemony of the neighboring state of India. As an instant reaction, it caused a spontaneous public uprising on 7th November 1975 when common people and ordinary soldiers of nearby cantonments joined hand to free Ziaur Rahman and install him in power to lead the nation.

The emergence of Ziaur Rahman to power, already well known for his brave role in the liberation war of 1971, caught the imagination of people, and more so, as he neither staged any coup or killed any political leader, nor did he dislodge any elected government. Further, he neither proclaimed the Martial Law, nor did he dissolve the Parliament to assume the authority to govern the country. He appeared before the nation as a clean person endowed with a great amount of charisma.

So unlike other military leaders, the rise of Ziaur Rahman in the national politics was unique by itself. In order to unite the people and rebuild the nation, he introduced a new political philosophy based on Bangladeshi nationalism to achieve a self-reliant economy for a modern Bangladesh. As opposed to one-party rule, he brought back the multi-party democratic system with all the fundamental rights, freedom of press, and independence of judiciary being guaranteed. Ziaur Rahman’s new approach to national development galvanised the entire nation. In terms of peace, social harmony and good governance, Bangladesh entered a golden period under a remarkable leader, who was loved and admired by the masses for his integrity and dedication.

But unfortunately, Zia did not survive for too long. As the most outstanding leader of all time, Zia laid slain with piercing bullets in his chest by sixteen men who came in a jeep and two pick-ups from the nearby cantonment. The killing was accomplished on 30th May 1981 in twenty minutes in a commando-style attack by a group of junior and mid-rank military officers at the Chittagong Circuit House where he was staying the night. His extraordinary popularity was marked by a historical funeral attended by more than one million people.

Zia ruled for about six years as an idol to his people. He was, in the traditional sense, incorruptible. He lived a frugal life. His personal habits and moral grounds were never in question. He had virtually no asset or property of his own and never tried to accumulate any. He lived a simple life and avoided any kind of luxury. He used 1300cc sedan ordinary cars for his travelling. He improved the relationship of Bangladesh with China and other Muslim countries, and was considered to be a nationalist opposed to the hegemony of India. Ziaur Rahman enjoyed enormous public credibility as an honest leader and ruled the country with the trust and confidence of his people.

I had the privilege of working with Ziaur Rahman very closely in amending the constitution to restore democracy and Islamic values, and steering the new philosophy to build a modern state to stand as a respectable nation in the world community. I helped him in formulating the constitution and manifesto of the BNP to carry forward his philosophy and political programmes. I have seen in him a true patriot with relentless energy and resilience dedicated to the cause of people.

Now I clearly see in Tarique Rahman a lot of qualities of his father. A polite and amiable, eager to hear and learn, pragmatic than emotional, a bright young man who is destined to lead the new generations of a povertystricken country where youths under his leadership will strive to bring the emancipation of people.

Tarique Rahman has emerged as a political leader on his own merit. Although as a son of Ziaur Rahman and Begum Khaleda Zia he enjoyed some natural advantages in the beginning, he reached the leadership position from the grassroots level through a democratic process for which he had to work very hard. Tarique had already proved his quality of leadership during the national elections held in 2001. He established a high-tech unit at the party office known as Hawa Bhaban, devoted to research on national politics and the party’s ground level position, election strategies and nomination procedures. With his office staffed by a young group of professionals trained in information technology, they had the entire country surveyed constituency by constituency and district by district, and their database was filled with information on the politics at the grassroots level. The young turkeys of the party from different levels provided the strength for Tarique to move forward and do all the political planning, which brought the BNP into power with a thunderous majority in the Parliament and made his charismatic mother the elected Prime Minister for the third term.

The BNP government of 2001-2006, led by Begum Khaleda Zia, made a great step forward towards progress in all major social sectors: education, healthcare, family welfare and child mortality. Having already attained a 6.7% annual growth rate in 2006, Bangladesh, under her leadership, achieved the distinction of being one of the rising tigers in Asia with the potential of a largescale economic leap-forward backed by huge foreign investment.

With nearly five years of endless corruption, intolerance, misrule and tyranny of the Awami League government and their failures in sustaining a peaceful democratic order, the expectations now run very high among all sections of people to see a real change in Bangladesh. I believe that once Tarique Rahman returns from abroad to take over the leadership of the BNP, he will have a dynamic team of clean, bright, educated and motivated individuals to work with him and take the country to the next level.

Tarique Rahman would be committed to democracy and tolerance to usher in a new political culture in the country and he will follow the personal values and the political philosophy left by his father. He will be ruthless in dealing with corruption, particularly at the high levels of the government. He will establish rule of law, build institutions placed above the individuals and strive to establish a strong and effective Parliament to ensure transparency of the government. He will show respect to the opposition, and abandon politics of reprisals and vengeance. Tarique Rahman is going to encourage bipartisanship in resolving national issues like water sharing, transit, maritime rights and security of the state. With all the potentials of cutting-edge technology and enterprising minds of millions of youths, under the leadership of Tarique Rahman, the people will certainly see much better days to come for an economically vibrant, democratically independent and politically sovereign Bangladesh.

Barrister Moudud Ahmed Member
Politician and Former Vice President of Bangladesh, Former Visiting Fellow, University of Oxford and Harvard University

The Legacy of Tarique Rahman’s FamilyBarrister Muhammad Jamiruddin Sircar

Scion of a respectable family of Gabtali, District Bogra, Bangladesh, Tarique Rahman was born in a family which is well known for education and cultural heritage. People around the area used to go to his ancestors for local reconciliation and arbitration knowing the family to be pious, God fearing and truthful. The century old building standing on the ancestral homestead bears the relic and lustre of feudal aristocracy for the posterior generation to remember, in retrospect, the tradition of love and affection of the family towards the people and vice versa.  With such background, it is not a surprise that Tarique Rahman has proved himself to possess the qualities of a leader that is demanded for bearing the high responsibilities for conducting affairs of his party and the people.

His father President Ziaur Rahman chose his career in the Military service as being enthused by patriotism from his boyhood. Thus, while in Military service, Ziaur Rahman was wedded to Begum Khaleda, daughter of Ms Tayeba Begum and Toyabur Rahman, a descendent of famous ‘T’ family of Boda Police Station within the greater district of Dinajpur Prior to the partition of India in 1947. Boda, Debiganj, Panchagarh and Tetulia police stations were part of rich district of Jalpaiguri of undivided Bengal. ‘T’ family of which the origin was Munshi Tariqullah, a landlord otherwise known as famous jotdar who used to employ revenue collector for collection of rents from the tenants and cultivators to cultivate vast chunk of lands of his own possession. Besides, Munshi Tariqullah was shareholder of tea garden and a businessman during the World War I and earned huge amount of money. The family came in touch with the British Administration through the Deputy Commissioner of Non-Regulating district of Jalpaiguri which was the richest district for tea garden and tea industry in the then united Bengal. As long as Munshi Tariqullah was alive, he lived with fame, honour, dignity and power of a respectable landlord. ‘T’ originated from Tariqullah; his descendants were named with ‘T’ being the first letter of the name such as Taskinuddin, Taslimuddin, Toyabur Rahman, Tayeba and so on.

Incidentally the family of Ziaur Rahman was related to the ‘T’ family. Khaleda was the youngest daughter of Eskender Majumder and Tayeba Majumder. Majumder came also of a landed aristocracy holding Mouza of land at Fulgazi in the greater district of Noakhali. Majumder was tall and handsome and chose his occupation as businessman in addition to his Mouza land and gracefully retired as the chairman of Dinajpur Chamber of Commerce.

Of the three sisters, Khaleda was the most beautiful. There was an ongoing household talk in the greater district of Dinajpur that the matchmaker proposed to Ziaur Rahman that he had seen a bride for him. Had he agreed to marry her, he would not need a lamp or electricity in his house as the dazzling beauty of the bride would clear out all the darkness. Ziaur Rahman smiled and agreed to marry. So they were happily married.

Out of this happy wedlock, Tarique Rahman was born as the eldest son of the family. Ziaur Rahman was widely recognised as a respectable, dignified, dutiful and truthful professional soldier. Tarique was brought up in an unostentatious and peaceful atmosphere. Both Ziaur Rahman and Begum Khaleda Zia disliked the idea of giving or offering more than the son Tarique needed. Tarique was grooming up under the affectionate care and custody of his beloved mother Begum Khaleda Zia who was a popular and loveable housewife liked by all the members of the family, including the near and distant relatives. When Tarique grew up to go to school, he was admitted to a reputed school named Shaheen High School and College, primarily meant for the children of the Army personnel.

The political struggle for the right of self determination of nation was at the peak and well spread all over the country. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the then leader, was taken to custody by General Yahya Khan’s military Junta. There was none to lead the disappointed and frustrated Nation. And at that crucial moment, Major Ziaur Rahman declared the war of independence of Bangladesh from Kalurghat Radio station, Chittagong. Thus, the war of independence was started by Major Ziaur Rahman and other heroic Sector Commanders.

The Legacy of Tarique Rahman’s Family

After a severe fight of war of independence for about nine months from 26th March to 16th December 1971, against Pakistani forces of about 93 to 99 thousands, Bangladesh became independent. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was released from Pakistani jail and became the President of Bangladesh. A Constitution was passed in the National Constituent Assembly on 16th December 1972. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman ruled mercilessly with the Rakshi Bahini, Mujib Bahini and Lal Bahini, all of which were his own creatures. Motivated by communist and extreme leftist like his nephew Sheikh Fazlul Hauq Moni, Sheikh Mujubur Rahman amended the Constitution for One Party Rule naming the Party as Bangladesh Krishak, Sramik Awami League i.e., BAKSAL. That was the turning point from democracy to dictatorship which was abhorred by and unacceptable to the people.

Subsequently, with the passage of time, One Party Rule of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman came to an end by a coup-de-tat led by Colonel Faruq Rahman, Colonel Shahriar and some other democracy loving army personnel. And Khandakar Moshtaq Ahmed, a close political colleague of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was made the President. Moshtaq Ahmed appointed Ziaur Rahman as the Chief of Army Staff, as he was the senior most Major General at that time. Moshtaq Ahmed ran the administration for about ninety days.

Suddenly, Major General Khaled Mosharaff and Colonel Shafaet Jamil attempted a coup-de-tat against President Moshtaq Ahmed and asked him to hand over the power to Major General Khaled Mosharaff, which Moshtaque Ahmed refused. And the attempted coup failed with a compromise that Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Abu Sadat Md Sayem, would become the President of Bangladesh. Major General Ziaur Rahman was arrested and kept in custody by Major General Khaled Mosharaff.

Soon after, the anti-Indian common soldiers staged a mid-night coup overthrowing Major General Khaled Mosharaff. They freed Major General Ziaur Rahman from the custody and restored him to his position of the Chief of Army Staff under the Chief Justice as well as the President Abu Sadat Md Sayem. Thereafter, Chief Justice Sayem, not being a good administrator, resigned of his own free will and nominated Ziaur Rahman as the President of Bangladesh. Shortly afterward, in the General election held in 1978, Ziaur Rahman was directly elected by the people as the President defeating his rival candidate General AG Osmany, nominated by the Awami League.  Having passed the SSC and HSC examinations, Tarique entered the

University of Dhaka as a student of International Relations, a subject of his choice. While in the University, he read political thoughts of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Roussou, Voltaire, Karl Marx and other exceptional thinkers. He concentrated more on socio-economic and political subjects including, the in-depth study of gradual development of democracy, especially in the British India. He also read social science subjects to know the condition of the people, such as Economics for the solution of economic problem of the people, and Political Science to embrace the concept of welfare state for providing food, clothing, shelter, medicine and education to the people. He learnt a great deal about statehood comprising of territory, population and an effective government elected by the people through a free, fair and impartial election.

Tarique Rahman’s entry into politics dates back to 1990s. In the 1991 national elections, he watched the politics and thought of devising the ways and means as to how to win the mind of the voters. In the 1996 elections, he put in his disc of three hundred constituencies of Bangladesh, with the names of leaders and vital active political workers of districts, upazilas, pourashavas, union presishads, and other administrative units of his party, i.e., the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). He strengthened the student front, youth front and other allied organisations of the BNP. It is here, his success lies. If there is any problem anywhere, he can sort it out easily because he knows who are creating the problems and what for. It was a fruitful lesson from his mother ‘Deshnetri ’ Begum Khaleda Zia who was elected Prime Minister three times and developed the country enormously, changing the fate of the suffering people for the better.

As a son of a President and a Prime Minister, Tarique was never given or granted any extra benefit or privilege. Tarique lives a modest life, having no attraction towards money or money making. Tarique married Zubaida Rahman, a beautiful daughter of Late Rear Admiral Mahabub Ali Khan whose family background is also well known and famous in the greater District of Sylhet. Some of her ancestors had been educated in England during the British regime. A physician by profession, Zubaida had been an intelligent student with well-educated pedigree having human approach towards life. Their only daughter Zaima, good looking, intelligent and well-mannered, has been pursuing her school education successfully for an easy access to any of the best universities of the world.

Tarique’s father President Ziaur Rahman was a great commoner. He used to consult proper persons and experts in complicated problems and then

The Legacy of Tarique Rahman’s Family

used to give his decision. In ninety per cent cases, his decisions were right. He had no vengeance against anybody who disagreed with him. He was a hard working person. He could keep the citizens busy with works such as canal digging, planting fruit bearing trees, increasing number of hatcheries and fisheries, and encouraging people to grow more food. He travelled from villages to villages, police stations to police stations, districts to districts, enthusing people to do something to change their fate. A great democrat, a believer in the rule of law, Ziaur Rahman stabilised law and order, democracy and the sovereignty of the country. With all the achievements, he became an outstanding leader in the national as well as international politics as the thinker and planner  of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Vice President of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), member of the Al-Quds Committee, and an Arbitrator in the Iran–Iraq war. From the ignominy of bottomless basket as remarked by the US Foreign Secretary Henry Kissinger, President Zia raised Bangladesh as a member of the Security Council.

Tarique possesses all the qualities of his father. Besides, Tarique’s thoughts for promotion of international peace, security and solidarity, respect for national sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, peaceful settlement of international disputes, respect for principles enunciated in the United Nations Charter, renunciation of the use of force in international relations, are well known.

Tarique is eloquent to support the oppressed people throughout the world waging a just struggle against imperialism, colonialism or racialism and to consolidate, preserve and strengthen friendship to all and malice to none. He is a great upholder of human rights and empowerment of the women. Tarique can contribute a lot in the politics for the BNP, Bangladeshi nationalism and the people.

His rivals are jealous and afraid of him, for, he had been a political activist leading successfully the active BNP politics shoulder to shoulder with the people as Senior Joint Secretary General. He is now the Senior Vice Chairman of the BNP with utmost commitment to democracy, rule of law and sovereignty of the country, and with an emphasis on the peace and prosperity of the people. He keeps in view the Islamic values of life as more than 90% citizens of Bangladesh are Muslims. He hates communalism and terrorism of any manner. He is thorough about the election processes and machineries to hold a free, fair and impartial election. He can implement his father’s much acclaimed 19-point programmes for the people to solve their social, political and economic problems. He knows the new generation, as well as their problems and demands thoroughly, so as to easily win them on his side.

Well conversant with world politics, Tarique Rahman can successfully participate in any important table talks, round table conferences, seminars and symposiums, as well as national and international conferences. While delivering speech either in a private or a public meeting, Tarique speaks lucidly point-wise, bringing home his point to the listeners who grasp it quickly. He has a well established network of men and materials throughout the country to win the general elections, if held, under the non-party caretaker government.


  1. ‘Deshnetri’ means leader of the country in Bengali.

I have intentionally avoided calling him the architect as some does with my view that normally architect commences work upon getting instructions from someone.

Barrister Muhammad Jamiruddin Sircar Member
Politician, Former Acting President of Bangladesh

Interpol withdrawn red alert notice issued on Tarique: BNP

BNP today said International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) has withdrawn its red alert notice issued earlier on party senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman as it ‘found the allegations against him baseless politically motivated’.

Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, party acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also said they will now fight a legal battle to have the ban on running Tarique’s speech in the mass media withdrawn.

With the withdrawal of the Interpol’s red alert, he also said it has been proved that Tarique is not a fugitive and he has been implicated in the August 21 grenade attack case in a bid to politically malign him. “Interpol has understood that it has been used to dent image Tarique’s image.”

“The name of Tarique Rahman has been withdrawn from the Interpol list. At the same time, the organisation has removed all information about him from its database as those proved false,” said Fakhrul.

On April 14, 2015, Interpol had issued a red alert notice on Tarique in connection with August 21, 2004 grenade attack on an Awami League rally that left 24 people dead.

Later, Tarique appealed to the Interpol Headquarters in France challenging the notice.

Accepting the appeal, Fakhrul said Interpol scrutinised the information about Tarique provided by the Bangladesh government and found those not truth. “As it didn’t get any basis of the information and those proved as politically motivated, the Interpol withdrew its notice as per its article 3.”

The BNP leader said the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files on March 14 informed its decision about the withdrawal of Tarique’s notice through a letter.

He alleged that Awami League after carrying out reinvestigation into the August 21 grandee attack case by its MP candidate and ex-police officer Abdul Kahar Akand implicated Tarique in it with a political motive.

Later, the BNP leader alleged that Bangladesh police provided Interpol with false and misleading information about him sowing him as an absconder.

“Bangladesh government has itself been proved a liar with its efforts to stigmatise Tarique Rahman’s political image. Bangladesh police’s acceptability has also come into question,” he observed.

Referring to acquittal of Tarique in a money laundering casein 2013, the BNP acting secretary said the government forced the judge delivered verdict in the case to leave the country and attacked his house.

“This is how the government is trying to politically harass Tarique and destroy his image by filing false cases one after another. But, he has been proved innocent in the country and in the investigation of the International agencies.”

He also called upon the government not to harass Tarique with ‘false cases’.

Replying to a question, Fakhrul said they had taken legal steps against the ban of publishing Tarique’s speech by the High Court. “But there was no good progress about the matter for various reasons. Now we’ll start a fresh legal battle following the withdrawal of the Interpol’s notice on him. We’ll duly resort to law so that his speeches are published in the media.”

On March 7 last year, the High Court imposed a ban on running Tarique’ statement by print, electronic and social media as long as he remains a fugitive following a writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer as he had been making derogative remarks about Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at that time.

Tarique has been in London since he left the country in 2008 for treatment there.


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Propaganda being peddled against Tarique Rahman: Nazrul Islam

BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan yesterday said a vested quarter is peddling propaganda against Tarique Rahman, as he is the future head of the party.
He was talking to reporters after placing wreaths at the grave of party founder president Ziaur Rahman on the occasion of Tarique’s 2nd “jail release day”.
Party leaders including senior joint secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Salauddin Ahmed, Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annee, among others, were present.
They offered prayers for the salvation of the departed soul of Ziaur Rahman and recovery of Tarique, who is now in London for medical treatment.
Tarique was arrested on different charges, including corruption, in March 2007, during the last caretaker government. He was released on bail on September 3, 2008.
Nazmul Islam said BNP would speak for the people ignoring conspiracy, attacks, lawsuits and repression by the government.
“Every time BNP opted for a movement or human chain to voice people’s grievances, the government spread rumours that the opposition was trying to foil war crime trials or conceal corruption. But this propaganda cannot keep BNP from waging a movement for the people,” he said.
Responding to a comment by ruling Awami League leader Mahabubul Alam Hanif, Mirza Alamgir said it was Ziaur Rahman who helped Awami League’s rebirth by establishing multi-party democracy in the country.
On Thursday, Hanif said the way BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain and BNP-led alliance were speading propaganda they might some day claim Zia as the founder of Awami League.
In counter argument Alamgir said, “Mr Hanif is just trying to obscure the facts by being rhetoric. Claiming Zia the founder of Awami League is absurd. But they have forgotten that Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani founded Awami League.


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Stop personal attacks on Zia family members: Tarique Rahman

BNP senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman has urged the ruling Awami League leaders to stop what he termed “personal attacks” on former president Ziaur Rahman and members of his family.

In a press release issued yesterday, he also requested the critics not to use indecent words for the BNP founder and his family.

In a bid to defend his statements identifying his father, Ziaur Rahman, as the first president of the country and proclaimer of independence, Tarique said he would correct himself if anyone proves otherwise with evidence-based information.

Referring to the use of the state machineries in opposing naming of a roadway in US city of Chicago after Ziaur Rahman, Tarique said: “I think this kind of vindictive move using the administration should be stopped.”

Also the son of current BNP chief Khaleda Zia, Tarique issued the statement from London where he is currently living since leaving the country in 2008 during the caretaker government regime.

Saying that AL president Sheikh Hasina often uses words like “vulture” for Tarique, the BNP key policymaker urged Hasina and AL leaders to refrain from such practices.


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Tarique Rahman’s ‘political thought’ launched in UK

A book written by 17 prominent Bangladeshi and foreign writers on ‘The Political Thought of Tarique Rahman’ has been officially launched in the United Kingdom on Wednesday at Cambridge University of Arms auditorium. The program was arranged by the book’s publisher Bangladesh Policy Forum.   The book was unveiled by Res Publica’s Fellow Francis Davis. He is also a former director of Oxford University’s Las Casas Institute of Ethics, Human Rights and Social Justice. Francis Davis handed a book to Tarique Rahman at this time.   Tarique Rahman, BNP Chairperson Begum Zia’s eldest son and a vice chairman of the party, was present for the whole duration of the program. He, however, did not address the program.   Among others Young Foundation Director David Edgar and ex-European Parliament Member John Clayton also addressed the program. They praised Tarique Rahman’s thoughts and activities to empower the grassroots people.   The 17 writers who have written the book are British columnist David Nicholson, freelance journalist James Smith, Senior BNP leader Barrister Moudud Ahmed, former Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar, journalist leader Shawkat Mahmud and Maniruzzaman Mia.


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Tarique Rahman calls for foreign pressure to help Bangladesh

Exiled Bangladesh opposition leader Tarique Rahman has accused the Sheikh Hasina government of “state terrorism” and called on the country’s trading partners and the UN to press for a restoration of real democracy in the south Asian nation of 160m people.

As Mr Rahman was speaking to the Financial Times on Monday, more than 100 club-wielding thugs loyal to the ruling Awami League attacked a convoy carrying his mother Khaleda Zia, Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP) leader, in the capital Dhaka. Some 15 people were reported injured and six vehicles damaged.

“They are creating state terrorism, they are sponsoring state terrorism,” Mr Rahman said via Skype from London, where he has sought political asylum.

He called on Bangladesh’s trading partners to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on Ms Hasina — for example by cutting aid and equipment exports for the police — and urged the UN to exclude tainted members of the security forces from the international peacekeeping operations to which Bangladesh is a big contributor.

“Many of those people are involved abducting and killing political activists in their own country,” he said, singling out the Rapid Action Battalion, an elite anti-crime and anti-terror unit, for particular criticism. “How could they be involved in keeping the peace in other countries?”

There have been more than 200 “disappearances” by the RAB and other groups since 2009, according to Bangladesh rights group Odhikar.

Predominantly Muslim Bangladesh has had a troubled history since its violent birth and separation from Pakistan in 1971. Mr Rahman’s father, Ziaur Rahman, ran the country as military dictator after the assassination of Bangladesh’s founding father and Ms Hasina’s father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, but was himself assassinated six years later.

Ms Hasina, at the head of the Awami League, and Ms Zia with the BNP — the “battling begums” — have each had stints as prime minister. But many Bangladeshis say that the fragile democracy that has functioned for the past two decades is now under threat from Ms Hasina’s refusal to brook any opposition to her administration.

Violence has worsened since January — the first anniversary of a controversial election boycotted by the BNP and won by Ms Hasina — with BNP leaders calling repeated strikes and transport shutdowns and the government persecuting its opponents and cracking down on the media.

More than 100 people have been killed in less than four months — some of them victims of firebomb attacks on buses blamed on the BNP’s allies — and the country’s crucial garment export trade has been disrupted. The BNP-led opposition alliance of 20 parties called another nationwide protest for Tuesday after the attack on Ms Zia’s convoy.

“More than 50,000 of my activists are in jail,” said Mr Rahman. “In the last six years about 1,500 of them have been killed by the police or the RAB.” He echoed the complaints of human rights groups about corruption and abuse of the justice system, saying that 640,000 false cases had been filed against Ms Hasina’s opponents on a range of charges.

Ms Hasina, he said, was running a “dictatorship” and crushing democratic opposition parties, a tactic that would simply drive her opponents underground and benefit new organisations such as the fundamentalist Hefazat Islam.

“The root cause of the whole problem is the [necessity of] having a fair election,” he said. “It’s a risk not only for Bangladesh. Slowly and gradually, it’s becoming a risk for the whole democratic world.”

If Ms Hasina did not respond, Mr Rahman said, foreign countries should “take strong measures — they should pressurise her”.

Mr Rahman has himself been accused of corruption when he and his mother were in power and of instigating political violence from his base in London.

The Awami League government listed him as a wanted man through Interpol, accusing him of murder in connection with a 2004 grenade attack on an Awami League rally in Bangladesh. Ms Hasina narrowly escaped death but 24 others were killed.

Mr Rahman rejected these and other charges against him, calling the cases “politically motivated”.

Tarique Rahman acquitted in money-laundering case

DHAKA: A Bangladesh court on Sunday acquitted the influential son of the main opposition leader in a money-laundering case, boosting his chances of returning to the country after more than five years in exile.

Tarique Rahman, the eldest son and designated successor of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, would have faced seven years in jail and a ban from contesting elections had he been found guilty.

Tarique has been living in London since September 2008 after he was forced into exile by the-then army-backed government. He still faces a number of other court cases.

Hundreds of lawyers belonging to the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) burst into loud cheers and shouted slogans as Judge Mohammad Motahar Hossain delivered the verdict in a packed Dhaka courtroom amid intense security.

“The prosecution could not prove the charges against Tarique Rahman beyond reasonable doubt,” Judge Hossain told the court.

The verdict will bolster the BNP which launched a new wave of protests across the nation last month, demanding that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina resign and make way for a neutral caretaker government to oversee elections set for January.

At least 23 people have been killed in nationwide clashes during the latest wave of protests, which have pitted BNP supporters against ruling party activists and police.

“It’s a politically motivated case. His acquital proved he was never involved in any corruption. We hope he can now return home,” Tarique’s lawyer Sanaullah Miah told AFP.
The judge, however, sentenced Tarique’s business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun to seven years in jail and fined him five million dollars in the same case. He was found guilty of taking three million dollars in kickbacks from a local company in 2003.

The case was the first of 16 cases Tarique faces, including charges that he masterminded a grenade attack on a rally staged by Hasina in August 2004 when she was the leader of the opposition.

The attack killed at least 20 people and injured Hasina.

The centre-right BNP has been banking on Tarique’s return to lead the election campaign because Zia, who served twice as prime minister, has been plagued by ill health for some time.

Tarique was made Zia’s designated successor in 2008 when he was elevated to the post of senior vice-chairman of the party, a notch behind his mother.

He played a key role in the BNP’s landslide victory in 2001 parliamentary elections.

Although he did not hold office in his mother’s 2001-6 government, he was widely seen as the most influential person during her tenure.


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Shahid President Ziaur Rahman

Shahid Ziaur Rahman, (1936-1981) was the President of Bangladesh, Chief of Army Staff, leading freedom fighter, who declared the Independence of Bangladesh. Ziaur Rahman was born on l9 January 1936 at Bagbari in Bogra. His father Mansur Rahman was a chemist working in a government department in Calcutta. His early childhood was spent partly in the rural area of Bogra and partly in Calcutta. After the partition of India (1947), when his father was transferred to Karachi, Zia had to leave the Hare School in Calcutta and became a student of the Academy School in Karachi. He completed his secondary education from that School in 1952. In 1953, he got himself admitted into the D.J. College in Karachi. In the same year he joined the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul as an officer cadet.

Shahid Ziaur Rahman was commissioned in 1955 as a second lieutenant. He served there for two years, and in 1957, he was transferred to East Bengal Regiment. He also worked in the military intelligence department from 1959 to 1964. In the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 he made his mark as a valiant fighter in the Khemkaran sector as the commander of a company, and incidentally, his company was one of those which were offered maximum gallantry awards for heroic performances in the war. He was appointed a professional instructor in the Pakistan Military Academy in 1966. In the same year he was sent to the Staff College in Quetta for attending a command course. In 1969, he joined the Second East Bengal Regiment as its second-in-command at Joydevpur. He was sent to West Germany for higher training. On his return home in 1970 Ziaur Rahman, then a major, was transferred to Eighth East Bengal Regiment at Chittagong as its second in command.

 After the military crackdown since the night of 25 March 1971 sheikh mujibur rahman was arrested and the political leaders dispersed. The people were at a loss. At this crucial moment when the political leadership failed to give any direction, the Eighth East Bengal Regiment under the leadership of Major Ziaur Rahman revolted against the Pakistan Army and took up the Bangladesh flag as its mainstay on the night between 26 and 27 March 1971. Then he took up the momentous decision of declaring the Independence of Bangladesh. Ziaur Rahman and his troops were in the forefront of the War of Independence. Major Zia and the armed forces under his command kept the Chittagong and Noakhali areas under control for a few days and went across the border for further preparations.
Ziaur Rahman played a brilliant role in the War of Liberation both at the level of planning and execution. As the commander of Sector I up to June 1971, later on as the head of Z-Force, Ziaur Rahman distinguished himself as a brave warrior and was offered the gallantry award of Bir Uttam.
After the most creditable performances during the nine-month war, he was appointed brigade commander in Comilla. In June 1972, he was made Deputy Chief of Staff of the armed forces of Bangladesh. In the middle of 1973, he became a Brigadier, and a Major General by the end of the year. When Khondakar Moshtaq Ahmad assumed the office of the presidency, Ziaur Rahman became the chief of army staff on 25 August 1975. When Khaled Mosharraf with the support of the Dhaka Brigade under the command of Shafat Jamil staged a coup d’etat on 3 November 1975, Ziaur Rahman was forced to resign his command and was put under house arrest. The Sepoy-Janata Biplob of 7 November, however, took him to the centre of political power. In fact, he had to assume the responsibility of managing the affairs of Bangladesh on the crest of the Sepoy-Janata Biplob.
On 7 November 1975, Ziaur Rahman was proclaimed the Chief Martial Law Administrator. In a meeting at the army headquarters on the same day, a new administrative set-up for the running of an interim government was arranged with Justice Sayem as the Chief Martial Law Administrator and the three service chiefs, Major General Zia, Air Vice Marshal MG Tawab and Rear Admiral MH Khan, as Deputy Chief Martial Law Administrators. Ziaur Rahman became Chief Martial Law Administrator on 19 November 1976, when Justice Sayem relinquished his position and ultimately, the President of Bangladesh on 21 April 1977, when President Sayem resigned.
After assuming office as head of the state Ziaur Rahman issued a proclamation order amending the Constitution to insert Bismiliah-ir-Rahmanir Rahim (In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful) in the Preamble of the Constitution. In Article 8(1) and 8(1A) the principle of ‘absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah has been added. In Article 8(1), socialism has been defined as ‘economic and social justice’. In Article 25(2) it has also been provided that “the state shall endeavour to consolidate, preserve and strengthen fraternal relations among Muslim countries based on Islamic solidarity.”
Ziaur Rahman introduced and popularised the new concept of Bangladeshi nationalism. He believed that in a plural society like Bangladesh where people are of diverse ethnicity and where they profess different faiths, have different cultural traits and various lifestyles, nationalism should better be conceptualised in terms of territory rather than language or culture. This is what he emphasised upon. Bangladeshi nationalism took firm root and shape as a unifying force with its emphasis on national unity and integration of all citizens of Bangladesh irrespective of caste, creed, gender, culture, religion and ethnicity.
Assuming power, Zia immediately moved to restore law and order in the country and for the purpose strengthened the police force, practically doubling its size from 40,000 to 70,000 and arranging for their proper training. He also restored order in the armed forces. For the purpose, he took certain steps for the development of professionalism in them through rigorous training and restoring discipline. He expanded their strength substantially from less than 50,000 in 1974-75 to about 90,000 in 1976-77. Although Zia was successful in restoring discipline within the armed forces, he had to confront a number of mutinies and attempted coups forcing him to adopt certain stern actions against those who had taken part in those uprisings.
A believer in democracy Zia moved as fast as he could to democratise the polity by re-instituting the institution of election either for enabling a political party to assume power or for transferring it to other political party peacefully. As a first step, that is why, he allowed the disbanded political parties to be revived and political activities to be carried on once again. Having that in view, he also disallowed the ban on the newspapers and inaugurated the free flow of news by making the news media free. For the same purpose, he re -instituted the independence of judiciary as the bulwark of rights of the people. The prevailing situation persuaded him to take part in active politics so that he could establish democratic order in the country. In February 1978 he floated Jatiyatabadi Ganatantric Dal with Vice President Justice Abdus Sattar as its head. Zia himself became the nominee of the Nationalist Front consisting of six political parties in the presidential election. He won a comprehensive victory by securing 76.67% of the votes.
On 1 September 1978, a new political party, bangladesh nationalist party (BNP), was launched with Zia as its chairman. The parliamentary elections were held in February 1979 and BNP won 207 seats out of 300. On 1 April 1979, the first session of the jatiya sangsad was convened. On 9 April, martial law was lifted after the enactment of the Fifth Amendment.
President Zia’s dynamic economic policy laid emphasis on private sector development. A new development strategy designed to encourage the private entrepreneurs, both local and foreign, and to promote agricultural development through massive subsidies to the farmers was initiated. The process of handing over nationalised industries to their former owners began. Promotion of export of conventional and non-conventional goods became a national priority. Food production reached a new height and Bangladesh began exporting rice.
To bring in dynamism in his action plan Zia put forward a 19-point programme, and that was designed to bring rapid socio-economic transformation in the country. The main thrust of the programme was self-reliance and rural uplift through people’s participation. Its primary objectives were accelerated agricultural growth, population control, self-sufficiency in food, decentralisation of administration and greater incentives to the private sector. It was designed to meet the basic needs of the people and special needs of women, youths and workers, and it aimed at establishing a political order based on social justice.
For bringing rapid socio-economic transformation in the country, President Zia transformed the politics of the country into a production-oriented one. He chalked out programmes of action for the purpose, terming these as revolutions and motivated his party men to realise those programmes through their devotion and commitment. The first of those was canal digging, and it was designed to supply adequate water to the farmers, especially during the lean season. The second was to remove illiteracy from the society so that an air of enlightenment might prevail all around using both formal and non-formal techniques all over the country. Moreover, motivational programmes were set on for the enhancement of productions both in the field and factories. The initiation of family planning programme, revolutionary as it was, was designed to stabilise population at a level which might be termed as optimum from the economic point of view. The institution of Gram Sarker aimed at enlisting the support of the people for a self-reliant Bangladesh, which president Zia advocated. Zia began executing his programme in right earnest and beneficial results were in sight. The excavation and re-excavation of more than 1,500 canals in a year and a half, record production of food grains in two successive years (1976-77 and 1977-78), an average annual GDP growth of 6.4% during 1975-78, a vigorous mass education campaign, introduction of village government (Gram Sarkar) and Village Defence Party (VDP) made deep impression in the minds of the people.
Having the objectives of establishing good neighbourly relations with India and other South Asian countries on equal footing Zia started bringing in changes first at the internal setting through resurgence of nationalistic aspirations of the people and then by stabilising countervailing forces at the regional and international levels.
The foreign policy goals were thus devised anew, and dynamic international relations were set on with a view to preventing Bangladesh from hurtling down to the abyss of dependence. At the regional level, Bangladesh developed a pattern of mutuality with such states as Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Maldives along with India so much so that it ultimately led to the forging of regional co-operation in the region for the first time in its history.
At the international level, Bangladesh, then a lonely sojourner, picked up friends from both the right, centre and left and established a kind of viable comradeship amongst them. Bangladesh was lifted from the dead end of the Indo-Soviet axis and Indian hegemonic circle. Bangladesh came closer to the Muslim world of more than fifty states, which began to take fresh look at Bangladesh and its problems. One of the superpowers of the time became a good friend of Bangladesh, though its role was not people-friendly during the Liberation War. Bangladesh developed a good working relation with China. South East Asian countries were drawn closer. The distant Europe remained no longer disinterested in the affairs of Bangladesh.
Through certain creative moves, he drew Bangladesh into the world of the liberal west, the fraternal middle East and West Asia, and the rising South East Asia. He attended many international conferences and visited dozens of countries to promote the cause of the nation’s multilateral and bilateral relations. The dividend was rich. Bangladesh was elected to the Security Council in one of its non-permanent seats in 1978, and became actively involved in the activities of the UN members. In the middle East and West Asia Bangladesh emerged as a forceful actor. It was President Zia who conceived of the idea of, and initiated actions for, regional co-operation is South Asia. For the purpose, he visited these countries during 1979-80 to speak of the need to develop a framework for mutual co-operation. south asian association for regional cooperation (SAARC) was the outcome of his efforts, which was formally launched in Dhaka in 1985. Zia did not survive to see his dream come true. He was assassinated in Chittagong on 30 May 1981 in an abortive army coup. He lies buried at Sher-e-Banglanagar, Dhaka. [Emajuddin Ahamed]

Begum Khaleda Zia

Begum Khaleda Zia is a Bangladeshi politician who was the Prime Minister of Bangladesh from 1991 to 1996 and again from 2001 to 2006. When she took office in 1991, she was the first woman in the country’s history and second in the Muslim world (after Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan in 1988–1990) to head a democratic government as prime minister. She is the chairperson and leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) which was founded by her late husband President Ziaur Rahman in late 1970s.

After a military coup in 1982, led by Army Chief General Hussain Muhammad Ershad, Khaleda Zia helped lead the continuing movement for democracy until the fall of military dictator Ershad in 1990. Khaleda became prime minister following the victory of the BNP in 1991 general election. She also served briefly in the short-lived government in 1996. Her party came to power again in 2001. She has been elected to five separate parliamentary constituencies in the general elections of 1991, 1996 and 2001.

Forbes magazine ranked Begum Khaleda Zia at number 14 in 2004, number 29 in 2005 and number 33 in 2006 in its list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World.

Early Life

Begum Khaleda Zia was born to father Iskandar Majumder, a businessman, and mother Taiyaba Majumder on August, 1945 Dinajpur District in north-western Bangladesh.[1] Khaleda Zia married Ziaur Rahman in 1960, an Army officer who became president in 1977, following the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first prime minister of Bangladesh. He ruled until 1981, when he was assassinated in a military coup.

At the time, Zia and his family were living in a large house in the Dhaka Cantonment, which was first built as the residence of the Deputy Chief of Staff (DCS) of the Bangladesh Army. When Ziaur Rahman was appointed DCS Major General, he and his family moved there. After he became President of Bangladesh, he kept the house as his residence. Following his assassination in 1981, the Acting President Justice, Abdus Sattar, leased the house “for life” to Khaleda Zia, for ৳101. When the Army took over the government, Lieutenant General Hussain Mohammad Ershad, Army Chief of Bangladesh and Chief Martial Law Administrator, confirmed this arrangement in 1982. After the BNP came to power in democratic elections in 1991, it did not disturb the arrangement.

Her Regime

First term

A neutral caretaker government in Bangladesh oversaw elections on 27 February 1991 that were broadly considered to be free, fair and truly democratic, following eight years of a military government.

The BNP won 140 seats, 11 short of a majority. As it was the only party capable of forming a government, Khaleda Zia was sworn in as the country’s first female prime minister on 20 March with the support of a majority of the deputies in parliament.

The acting president Shahabuddin Ahmed granted Khaleda Zia nearly all of the powers that were vested in the president at the time, effectively returning Bangladesh to a parliamentary system in September 1991. With a unanimous vote, Parliament passed the 12th amendment to the Constitution in 1991. The BNP-led government formally restored the parliamentary system.

Second term

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) won the 15 February 1996 election. It was a landslide victory for BNP in the sixth Jatiya Sangshad. But it was last long very few days since the other major parties demanded that a neutral caretaker government be appointed to oversee the elections. BNP responded to their demand. Then the short-lived parliament hastily introduced the Caretaker Government by passing the 13th amendment to the Constitution. The parliament was dissolved to pave the way for parliamentary elections within 90 days.

Third term

The BNP formed a four-party alliance on 6 January 1999 to increase its chances to return to power in the next general elections. These included its former political foe the Jatiya Party, founded by President Ershad after he led a military government, and the Islamic parties of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh and the Islami Oikya Jot. It encouraged protests against the ruling Awami League.

The four-party alliance participated in the 1 October 2001 general elections, winning two-thirds of the seats in parliament and 46% of the vote (compared to the principal opposition party’s 40%). Khaleda Zia was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

She worked on a 100-day program to fulfill most of her election pledges to the nation. During this term, the share of domestic resources in economic development efforts grew. Bangladesh began to attract a higher level of international investment for development of the country’s infrastructure, energy resources and businesses, including from the United States, Great Britain, and Japan. Restoration of law and order was an achievement during the period.

Khaleda Zia promoted neighborly relat

Foreign visits

Saudi Arabia: Begum Khaleda Zia made some high-profile foreign visits in the later part of 2012. Invited to Saudi Arabia in August by the royal family, she met with the Saudi crown prince and defence minister Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to talk about bilateral ties. She tried to promote better access for Bangladeshi migrant workers to the Saudi labour market, which was in decline at the time.

People’s Republic of China: She went to People’s Republic of China in October, at the invitation of the government. She met with Chinese leaders including Vice President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party of China’s international affairs chief Wang Jiarui. Jinping is set to begin taking over as China’s Paramount Leader by the end of 2012.

Talks in China related to trade and prospective Chinese investment in Bangladesh,particularly the issue of financing Padma Bridge. At the beginning of 2012, the World Bank, a major prospective financier, had withdrawn, accusing government ministers of graft.The BNP announced that the Chinese funding for a second Padma Bridge was confirmed during her visit.

India: On 28 October 2012, Khaleda Zia visited India to meet with President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a number of officials including foreign minister Salman Khurshid, national security adviser Shivshankar Menon, foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai and BJP leader and leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj. Talks were scheduled to cover bilateral trade and regional security.

Khaleda Zia’s India visit was considered notable as BNP had been considered to have been anti-India compared to its rival Awami League. At her meeting with Prime Minister Singh, Zia said her party wanted to work with India for mutual benefit, including the fight against extremism. Indian officials announced they had come to agreement with her to pursue a common geopolitical doctrine in the greater region to discourage terrorists.

Awards and Honors

On 24 May 2011, the New Jersey State Senate honored Begum Khaleda Zia as a “Fighter for Democracy”. It was the first time the state Senate had so honored any foreign leader and reflects the state’s increasing population of immigrants and descendants from South Asia.

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