Was General Zia behind the killing of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman? This is a very vital question no doubt. In fact the subsequent history proves that he was behind the killing undoubtedly. The steps that he took to run the state governance were sufficient to prove that he definitely instructed the killers to proceed. The killers did confess that General Zia was with them in carrying out the murder.
I admit that General Zia was a freedom fighter. But the way he participated in the war of liberation is really astonishing. His declaration of independence from Kalurghat did raise question about his participation in the war of liberation. Even during the war he was in his capacity as an army officer advanced towards the point to take delivery of the arms sent by the central government to East Pakistan to launch an attack on the Bengalees on 25th of March. How could a man become declarer of independence who even on 26th of March could not decide if he had to take delivery of the arms sent for committing genocide in Bangladesh.
The fact is the Awami League leaders gathered at Kalurghat to declare the independence already declared by Bangabandhu in the early hours of 26th March, 1971. They called Zia to declare the independence in favour of Bangabandhu so that army, police and EPR could come out of office to join the liberation war.
The person who has been proved to be the real killer of Bangabandhu
should not have the gallantry title Bir Uttam with his name. Withdrawal
of Zia’s gallantry award is the right decision of the government. The
killer of the Father of the Nation should get no respect from the nation
Zia in a signed article wrote that he declared independence of Bangladesh on behalf of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. But the way he declared the independence of Bangladesh was not acceptable to the Kalurghat Awami League leaders. He first declared independence of Bangladesh after his own name. The Awami League leaders objected and forced him to declare independence in favour of Bangabandhu. He obeyed it. That was enough to prove that he was a committed soldier to Pakistan army till 27 March.
Zia himself never said that he declared independence. Even during war of liberation, he had been conspiring with Khandaker Mushtaque and others to settle with US diplomats to bring an end to the freedom struggle.
If he was a freedom fighter how could he involve himself in the killing of chief of the war of liberation and how could he change the values earned as the result of the war of liberation? How could he bring back Golam Azam in the country, offer citizenship and allow him to reform Jamaat? How could he rehabilitate the killers of Bangabandhu and give job in diplomatic mission? How could his wife Begum Zia invite Jamaat leaders Motiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Mujahid in her cabinet and allow to run office of state? How could Zia erase the name of the Father of the Nation from history during his regime? How could he deny Joy Bangla slogan, the slogan of the freedom struggle? How could he change the constitution of 1972 framed by the Father of the Nation at the cost 3 million lives? How could he change the secular character of the constitution making it a communal one? How could he kill thousands of freedom fighters only to stay in power? So Zia, although a freedom fighter did so many things which prove that probably he was an agent of Pakistan in the War of Liberation? He probably declared independence of Bangladesh at a time declaring him the chief as because he could stay in that capacity for a few days he could get acceptance of Pakistani government and challenge the government formed by Awami League outside the country. That was why he kept himself hiding for quite a few days. He had been contacting with Pakistani government to get recognition.
General Zia’s taking over of power after the killing of Bangabandhu proves that he was planted agent of Pakistan. Failing to serve the interest of Pakistan during the war of liberation he was involved in hatching conspiracy to kill Bangabandhu and make Bangladesh into neo-Pakistan.
We see just forty-one days after this gruesome murder of Bangabandhu, an Indemnity Ordinance was promulgated by Khandaker Moshtaque Ahmed, who occupied power immediately after the coup by declaring Martial Law. The only aim of this black law issued on 26 September 1975 was to prohibit the legal proceedings against the killers of Bangabandhu and those were involved in proclaiming Martial Law on the morning of 15 August 1975. Later Zia took over power and legalized all measures taken by the government between August 1975 (the date of the killing of Bangabandhu and his family members) and 9 April 1979 (the date martial law was lifted) through the 5th amendment of the constitution. His government rehabilitated the killers of Bangabandhu by giving lucrative jobs in foreign mission and allowed the anti-liberation forces to indulge in politics on the soil of Bangladesh. It’s not very difficult to understand who was the mastermind and the beneficiary of the killing of Bangabandhu.
So, the person who has been proved to be the real killer of Bangabandhu should not have the gallantry award Bir Uttam with his name. The subsequent event did prove that he was really the key person behind the killing of Bangabandhu. So withdrawal of his gallantry title is the right decision of the government. The killer of the Father of the Nation should get no respect from the nation.
Dr S A Malek is a former political adviser to the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, general secretary of Bangabandhu Parishad and columnist.