The premier says 'there’s no doubt' about the BNP founder’s involvement in the assassination of Bangladesh's founding father
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said she had wanted to make Ziaur Rahman an accused in the Bangabandhu killing case as his involvement in the massacre was beyond doubt.
“There’s no doubt that he was involved in the 1975 carnage. I wanted to make him an accused, but then home secretary Rezaul Hayat once said dead persons cannot be made any accused. But his name (Zia’s name) should have been there as an accused [in the case],” she told Parliament.
The prime minister said this while delivering her valedictory speech in the 14th session of the 11th parliament.
Hasina said Bangabandhu’s killers Farooq and Rashid in their interviews with the BBC had said Zia was involved in the conspiracy. It was also stated in the books of Anthony Mascarenhas and Lawrence Lifschultz. “So, how can they (BNP) deny it?” she questioned.
Coups and killings
Mentioning that so many people were killed in different jails during Zia’s regime, the prime minister asked the members of parliament to take an initiative to find out how many people were hanged in different jails at that time.
“I think our MPs should take an initiative to find out how many people were killed during Zia’s regime. So many people were hanged in every jail, particularly in Dhaka, Bogra, Rajshahi, Khulna, Comilla and other places. There were coups one after another and hundreds of people were killed,” she said.
Hasina said a good number of army officers and soldiers, and 562 Air Force officers and soldiers were killed during Zia’s regime.
Mentioning different activities of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman during the 1971 Liberation War, the prime minister questioned his contribution to the war.
“Zia was a freedom fighter and Bangabandhu provided him with a gallantry award. All these are true, but what is his role in the Liberation War, anyway?” she said.
When Khaled Mosharraf had been injured, Major Haider took over the charge. “Zia didn’t become a sector commander rather he worked as an Odhinayak (commander),” Hasina said.
Referring to BNP MP Harunur Rashid, she said the MP mentioned that the casualties were high in the area where Zia was in change. If so, there is a question about what he did in the war. “Whether he made an arrangement in favour of Pakistan so that our freedom fighters die? It’s my question,” she said.
Hasina said Colonel Aslam Beg, who was in Bangladesh during the Liberation War and later became the chief of Pakistan Army, wrote a letter to Ziaur Rahman during the war complimenting Zia’s works at that time.
She mentioned that Aslam Beg, in his letter, said Zia did a good job and they Pakistan were happy with his works. He also asked Zia not to worry about his wife and sons. Aslam also assured that Zia would be given more tasks in the future, said the prime minister.
Hasina said she has also a copy of the letter. She would bring it to read out in Parliament another day as it should remain there as a record in the proceedings of parliament.