A Pakistan army officer wrote to Zia praising him for his role in the interests of Pakistan, claims the information minister
Late president Ziaur Rahman was an ally of West Pakistan in the guise of a freedom fighter, claimed Information Minister Hasan Mahmud on Saturday, four days after the BNP founder was stripped of his Bir Uttam gallantry award.
The Jatio Muktijoddha Council revoked Ziaur Rahman’s Bir Uttam title on Tuesday, but the information minister said a final decision was yet to be taken in this regard.
Hasan Mahmud, who is also joint general secretary of the Awami League, was speaking to reporters at an event at the Bangladesh Betar headquarters in Agargaon on the occasion of World Radio Day, reports Bangla Tribune.
The minister stated: “A Pakistan army officer wrote him [Zia] a letter praising him for his role in the interests of Pakistan.”
“Zia rehabilitated those who had opposed [Bangladesh’s] independence. Shah Azizur Rahman, who advocated for Pakistan at the United Nations as Pakistan's deputy leader, was made prime minister. He [Zia] gave war criminals opportunities to become politicians,” Hasan told reporters.
“So history testifies that Ziaur Rahman actually acted as Pakistan's ally in the guise of a freedom fighter,” he remarked.
Responding to a query regarding the revocation of Ziaur Rahman’s Bir Uttam title, Hasan Mahmud said a final decision had not been taken yet on the matter.
The information minister continued: “MA Hannan was the person who first read out Bangabandhu's declaration of independence from Kalurghat Radio Station on March 26, 1971. The next day, Awami League leaders in Chittagong decided that it should be proclaimed by an army officer.
“Major Rafiq was contacted first [in this regard]. As he was busy on the battlefield, Major Ziaur Rahman, who was on his way to Patiya after crossing Kalurghat, was given the task of reading out the declaration.”
Zia then made the declaration on behalf of Bangabandhu, Hasan Mahmud added.
Bangladesh Betar Director General Ahmed Quamruzzaman presided over the event, while Deputy Information Minister Dr Md Murad Hassan and Secretary Khaja Miah attended it as special guests.