The government is mulling to revoke late president Ziaur Rahman’s Swadhinata Puroshkar or Independence Award in line with a High Court order.
The Cabinet Committee on National Awards has already recommended the move showing three reasons. The recommendation will soon be placed for consideration at the Prime Minister’s Office.
In its recommendation, the cabinet committee said: “Those who assumed power violating the constitution should be tried so that no one dares to commit in future. But on the contrary, he [Zia] was given the award posthumously.
“From November 1975 to March 1979, the country was ruled without any active parliament. This clearly indicates autocracy. During the time, former president Ziaur Rahman led the autocrat government.”
Zia was awarded with the Swadhinata Puroshkar in 2003, during the BNP-Jamaat alliance rule. The award – a medal and a citation – has been kept in the National Museum.
According to a report by Bangla daily Ittefaq, a meeting of the cabinet committee on Wednesday unanimously nodded for the decision and now waiting for the premier’s opinion on the issue.
If the prime minister gives a go-ahead, the medal and the citation will be removed from the museum. However, the government will publish a gazette notification before that.
The committee also maintained that the 2003 decisions on Swadhinata Puroshkar were contrasting to the amendments brought on the award procedures till 2016.
A source in the cabinet committee said since Zia’s assuming to power had been declared unlawful by the High Court and the Appellate Division, the cabinet committee too considers it as a punishable offence.
The committee also decided unanimously that since the Independence Award was the highest national award, it should be given only to the people who contributed for the country and are not controversial.