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Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad (also spelled Khandakar Mushtaq Ahmed; c. 1918 – 5 March 1996) was a Bangladeshi politician who served as the President of Bangladesh from 15 August to 6 November 1975, after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.[1]

Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad
খন্দকার মোশতাক আহমেদ
Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad portrait.jpg
President of Bangladesh
In office
15 August 1975 – 6 November 1975
Preceded byMujibur Rahman
Succeeded byAbu Sadat Mohammad Sayem
Personal details
Born1918
Daudkandi, Comilla District, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died5 March 1996(1996-03-05) (aged 77–78)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Political partyAwami League (1949–1975; 1975–1996)
Other political
affiliations
All-India Muslim League (Before 1949)
Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (1975)
Alma materUniversity of Dhaka

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Ahmad completed his BL degree from the University of Dhaka and joined politics in 1942. He was one of the founder joint secretaries of the East Bengal Awami Muslim League.[1]

Political careerEdit

Ahmad was elected a member of the East Pakistan Provincial Assembly in 1954 as a candidate of the United Front. After the central government of Pakistan dissolved the United Front, Ahmad was jailed in 1954 with other Bengali leaders. He was released in 1955 and elected the chief whip of the United Front parliamentary party. But with the promulgation of martial law in the country in 1958 he was arrested by the regime of Ayub Khan. During the 6 Point Movement, Ahmad was once again jailed in 1966. Following his release, Ahmad accompanied Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (then the topmost leader of the Awami League) to the all-parties conference called by Ayub Khan in Rawalpindi in 1969. He was elected a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1970.[1]

Government of Bangladesh in exileEdit

At the onset of the Bangladesh War of Independence and Mujib's arrest, Ahmad and other Awami League leaders gathered in Meherpur to form the Government of Bangladesh in exile. Syed Nazrul Islam served as the acting President while Mujib was declared President, Tajuddin Ahmad served as Prime Minister and Ahmad was made the Foreign Minister.[2][3] In this capacity, Ahmad was to build international support for the cause of Bangladesh's independence. But his role as the Foreign Minister became controversial as he wanted a peaceful solution, remaining within Pakistan in line with the Six Point Charter of his leader Sheikh Mujib. Zafrullah Chowdhury alleges that Ahmad did not act alone in this regard and that Awami League leaders were involved.[4]

After the liberation, Ahmad was appointed as the minister of power, irrigation and flood control in 1972 as part of the Second Sheikh Mujib cabinet. In 1973, he took charge of the ministry of commerce in the Third Sheikh Mujib cabinet. He was a member of the executive committee of Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BAKSAL) formed in 1975.[1]

President of BangladeshEdit

Sheikh Mujib and all but two members of his family (his daughters, who were in West Germany at the time and thus escaped the carnage) were assassinated in a gun fight orchestrated by a group of army personnel on 15 August.

Ahmad immediately took control of the government, proclaiming himself as the President.[5] Major General Ziaur Rahman was appointed as Chief of Army Staff of the Bangladesh Army, replacing K M Shafiullah. He praised the killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman calling them Shurjo Shontan (sons of the sun).[6] Ahmad also ordered the imprisonment of leaders Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, A. H. M. Qamaruzzaman and Muhammad Mansur Ali. He replaced the national slogan of Joy Bangla with Bangladesh Zindabad slogan and changed the name Bangladesh Betar to 'Radio Bangladesh'. He proclaimed the Indemnity Ordinance, which granted immunity from prosecution to the assassins of Mujib.[1] Mujib's daughters Sheikh Hasina Wazed and Sheikh Rehana were barred from returning to Bangladesh from abroad. BAKSAL and pro-Mujib political groups were dissolved.

On 3 November, in what became infamously known as the "Jail Killing Day",[7] the four imprisoned leaders Tajuddin Ahmad, Syed Nazrul Islam, A. H. M. Qamaruzzaman, and Muhammad Mansur Ali, they had refused to co-operate with Mostaq,[8] were killed inside Dhaka Central Jail by a group of army officers on the instruction of President Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad.[9] However, Ahmad was ousted from power on 6 November in a coup led by Khaled Mosharraf and Shafat Jamil.

Later life and legacyEdit

Ahmad was imprisoned by Brigadier General Khaled Mosharraf[10] and later by the Ziaur Rahman administration until 1978. Upon his release, he formed Democratic League and attempted to resuscitate his political career, but to no avail. He spent his last years in Dhaka and died on 5 March 1996.

Ahmad was named in the investigation of the murder of Sheikh Mujib launched in 1996 by his daughter Sheikh Hasina, who had just won the national elections to become Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Hasina blamed Ahmad for her father's death.[11] Due to his death, he was not charged or tried. Historians and critics[who?] assert that Ahmad was one of the key plotters of Mujib's murder. He is also criticized[by whom?] for legitimizing political murders by protecting Mujib's killers.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Khan, Saleh Athar (2012). "Ahmad, Khondakar Mostaq". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  2. ^ "PM pays homage to Bangabandhu to mark Mujibnagar Day". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Historic Mujibnagar Day being observed". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  4. ^ Ahmed, Taib; Islam, Khadimul (16 December 2014). "'Mujib Bahini didn't fight liberation war'". New Age. Dhaka. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Muhammad Ali in Bangladesh: 35 Years Ago The Champ Visited A New Nation In Turmoil". International Business Times. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  6. ^ Tripathi, Salil. "'Of course, we killed him ... he had to go'". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  7. ^ Habib, Haroon (4 November 2006). "Hasina extends deadline". The Hindu. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  8. ^ Newton, Michael (2014). Famous Assassinations in World History: An Encyclopedia [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-61069-286-1.
  9. ^ Dasgupta, Sukharanjan (1978). Midnight Massacre in Dacca. New Delhi: Vikas. pp. 77–78. ISBN 0-7069-0692-6. Khondakar also knew that the situation was bound to be grave once Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, Kamaruzzaman and Mansur Ali were released ... Khondakar had had them arrested under various pretexts shortly after Mujib's assassination, and they were still rotting in Dacca Jail. So, Khondakar ... managed to allow the associates of the "killers" [the seven Majors who assassinated Sheikh Mujibur Rahman] inside the jail to brutally kill these four leaders.
  10. ^ "A matter of national interest". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Zia involved in Mujib killing: PM". New Age. Dhaka. Retrieved 5 March 2016.