Wednesday, March 28, 2012

'Zia knew about Mujib's proclamation'

Even though BNP claims its founder Ziaur Rahman, then an army major, had proclaimed independence of Bangladesh, a confidential military document of Oli Ahmed, who was one of his close associates, has a different story to tell.

Oli's annual confidential report (ACR) prepared during his days in military in 1974 reads he had informed Zia about the proclamation of independence by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the night of Mar 25, 1971.

Oli's then brigade commander Mir Shawkat Ali in his ACR praised the young military officer and wrote that he had informed Zia first about Mujib's Mar 25 proclamation of independence amid great risks.

Oli Ahmed's ACR

On Aug 20, 1974, then deputy chief of Army Ziaur Rahman signed Oli's ACR, a copy of which is available with

Mir Shawkat and Oli both later joined BNP, a party formed by Zia after assuming power as chief martial law administrator. The trio had served in the East Bengal Regiment. Mir Shawkat and Oli were with Zia in the beginning of independence war in 1971.

However, Mir Shawkat was later alienated from BNP. He died last year.

While a minister in Khaleda Zia's cabinet Mir Shawkat once claimed Zia was the man who proclaimed independence. "Zia proclaimed independence on the night of Mar 25 standing on a drum," Mir Shawkat had said.

Oli Ahmed left BNP at the fag end of Khaleda Zia's tenure in 2006 and floated his own party, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). He then joined Awami League-led Grand Alliance alleging persecution by BNP. But he left the ruling alliance and joined the BNP-led alliance in 2011.

Oli's ACR was full of praises for his organisational abilities and his role in 1971. It reads he could be an asset for the army if he was guided properly.

On the back of a controversy by BNP over proclamation of Bangladesh's independence, the High Court in a verdict in 2009 said it was none other than Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who proclaimed it.

The court also banned volume III of "Bangladesher Swadhinota Juddher Dolilpatra" (Documents of Bangladesh's Independence War) as it mentioned that Ziaur Rahman had proclaimed independence.

Despite the court order BNP has been claiming that Zia had proclaimed independence.

On Mar 25, BNP's acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, "Zia led the nation to the war by proclaiming Bangladesh's independence."