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Saturday July 22, 2017 04:32 AM

Abdul Gaffar Choudhury: Zia wanted to divorce Khaleda

  • Published at 10:29 AM May 16, 2017
  • Last updated at 11:03 AM May 16, 2017
Abdul Gaffar Choudhury: Zia wanted to divorce Khaleda
Zia was unhappy with his Khaleda for refusing to leave Pakistan army-controlled cantonment in 1971COURTESY

Gen Zia reportedly told Lt Col MA Qadir: “There is no guarantee that Bangladesh will win independence … I'm not with you.”

BNP-founder Ziaur Rahman wanted to divorce his wife Khaleda Zia after the Liberation War, claims veteran journalist and writer Abdul Gaffar Choudhury.

But Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman saved their marriage, he told a programme in London last week, reports Bangla Tribune.

“When Khaleda Zia repeatedly refused to leave the Pakistan army-controlled cantonment, Gen Zia told me that he would divorce her after the war. But that did not happen thanks to Bangabandhu’s intervention,” Gaffar said.

The journalist also recalled his time spent with Zia in 1971 when speaking at a programme to unveil “Liberation War: Unknown Chapters” by Nadeem Qadir, press minister at Bangladesh High Commission in London.

Zia took part in the Liberation War as a sector commander, became the chief of army after independence and went on to become a military dictator after Bangabandhu’s assassination. Bangabandhu’s self-confessed killers Faruk and Col Abdur Rashid had told Anthony Mascarenhas that Zia knew about the coup beforehand.

Zia, who went on to found the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, appointed Bangabandhu’s killers at foreign missions after assuming power. He also gave Jamaat-e-Islami, the party which openly opposed independence, a chance to resume political activities in independent Bangladesh.

Khaleda has been the BNP chief after her husband’s assassination in 1981. She has maintained close ties with Jamaat and gave Cabinet berths to war criminals when she was the prime minister.

In his book “Liberation War: Unknown Chapters,” Nadeem Qadir details his family’s search for the grave of his father martyred Lt Col M Abdul Qadir.

The grave of Lt Col Qadir’s was finally found in 2007, eight years after the death of Nadeem’s mother Hasna Hena Qadir. He was buried again with full state honour at Natore’s Qadirabad Cantonment.

Nadeem quotes his mother in the book as saying that Gen Zia had told Lt Col Qadir: “There is no guarantee that Bangladesh will win independence … I’m not with you.”

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