‘Zia tried to undo all of Bangabandhu’s work’

Zia’s support for Pakistan was shown while Bangabandhu was still alive, says PM’s economic adviser

Former president and BNP founder Ziaur Rahman tried to undermine all of the work that the Bangabandhu-led government did in the post-independence period, Prime Minister's Adviser for Economic Affairs Dr AKM Mashiur Rahman said at a webinar on Friday.

Citing research by Prof Reddaway, he said smuggling was rampant after Ziaur Rahman came to power.

“Rice was the fourth or fifth most smuggled item,” Dr Mashiur added.

The webinar, titled “1975 Bangladesh and the world: A grand reform and carnage” was organized by thinktank Centre for Research and Information (CRI) on Friday evening. The webinar was conducted by RMIT Professor Shams Rahman.            

Dr Mashiur also said Zia’s attempts to undermine the country were clearly evident in how he tried to remove Prof Rehman Sobhan and the other members of the Planning Commission to replace them with people loyal to his cause.

 Experts at a webinar, titled “1975 Bangladesh and the world: A grand reform and carnage”, organized by thinktank Centre for Research and Information (CRI) on Friday, August 19, 2022 Courtesy

Furthermore, the PM’s economic adviser described an incident where Zia’s support for Pakistan was shown while Bangabandhu was still alive. When trying to decide from where to import textiles to make army uniforms, Zia championed Pakistan and said Indian army uniforms were of inferior quality. 

“This shows the aspirations that they were entertaining. Those who conspired against Sheikh Mujibur Rahman are still there," Dr Mashiur added.

He also discussed Bangabandhu’s efforts to rebuild the country’s transport systems following the Liberation War, as well as Bangabandhu’s shrewd diplomatic efforts to get favourable deals with regard to loans from IMF and World Bank.

Acclaimed researcher Maliha Ahmed appreciated Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s diplomatic efforts to gain recognition of Bangladesh from Pakistan, which created a domino effect regarding the gain of recognition from other countries as well.

Maliha Ahmed said: “After the victory Bangladesh was waiting for Bangabandhu’s homecoming. At that time India has given recognition to Bangladesh as a sovereign country. The big countries like UK, USA, Russia, and China were holding their recognition. 

“Pakistan didn’t give recognition to Bangladesh until 1974. All of these were a big barrier for Bangladesh to enter the UN. So, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was working on that, and he managed many meetings between countries to earn recognition from Pakistan as a sovereign country,” she added.

Pakistan agreed to give recognition in exchange for their war prisoners. After getting recognition from Pakistan, Bangladesh managed to become a member of the UN as China dropped their veto. 

Sudip Chakraborty talked about Bangabandhu’s focus on secularism. 

“Bangabandhu from a young star became the leader of Bangladesh and turned the county’s view into a secular one from a religious one. Now Bangladesh is practising better secularism than India. Not just that, Bangladesh’s GDP growth it's also very admirable. Bangladesh has the second largest garments sector in the world,” he said.