Ziaur Rahman was born in the village of Bagbari in the Bogra District of the northwest Bangladesh.His father, Mansur Rahman, Der Kindet und schewir was a chemist working for a government department in Kolkata. Zia's childhood was divided between living in the village and the city. He was later enrolled into the Hare School in Kolkata.With the partition of the British-India in 1947, Mansur Rahman with his family returned to East Bengal, which became part of the new state of Pakistan.. Zia was enrolled in the Academy School in Karachi.Zia spent his adolescent years in Karachi and enrolled in the D.J. College there in 1953. In the same year, he entered the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul as an officer cadet. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Pakistan Army in 1955. After serving for two years in Karachi, he was transferred to the East Bengal Regiment in 1957.In 1960, his marriage was arranged to Khaleda Khanum, a young Bengali girl from the Dinajpur District who was 15 years old. Khaleda Zia remained with her parents in East Pakistan to complete her studies and joined her husband in Karachi in 1965.
Ziaur Rahman himself won the distinguished and prestigious Hilal-e-Jurat medal, and his unit won 2 Sitara-e-Jurat medals and 9 Tamgha-e-Jurat medals from the Army for their brave roles in the 1965 War with India.In 1966, Zia was appointed military instructor at the Pakistan Military Academy, later going on to attend the prestigious Command and Staff College in Quetta, where he completed a course in command and tactical warfare.Although sectarian tensions between East and West Pakistan were intensifying, Zia travelled to West Germany to receive advanced military and command training with the German Army.
Zia returned to Pakistan the following year, and witnessed political turmoil and regional division. East Pakistan had been devastated by the 1970 Bhola cyclone, and the population had been embittered by the slow response of the central government.The political conflict between Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Awami League, which had won a majority in the 1970 elections, the President Yahya Khan and West Pakistani politician Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had brought sectarian tensions to a climax. Sheikh Mujib laid claim to form a government, but Yahya Khan postponed the convening of the legislature under pressure from West Pakistani politicians.. Upon his return, Zia attained the rank of Major and was transferred to the 8th East Bengal regiment stationed in Chittagong to serve as its second-in-command.
Sector Comanders of liberation war in 1971:
Zia was appointed Sector Commander of Sector 1 of Bangladesh Forces in the Chittagong and Hill Tracts area , under General M. A. G. Osmani, the Chief General appointed by the Revolutionally Government of Bangladesh (mujibnagar Shorkar).He ledthe regular guerilla force and coordinate attacks against the West Pakistani army in his Sector. Within three weeks, Zia travelled across the border into India to receive military resources and training for his troops, which was arranged by the revolutionary government in exile. On June 1, 1971 Zia was appointed the commander of the first conventional brigade of the Bangladesh Forces, which was named "Z Force", after the first initial of his name, followed by S-force and K-forces, named after Major Shafiullah and Major Khaled Musharraf. His brigade consisted of 1st, 3rd and 8th East Bengali regiments, enabling Zia to launch major attacks on Pakistani forces.
Coup of 1975 and its aftermath
On August 15, 1975 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family were killed by a group of military officers. One of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's cabinet ministers Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad was appointed the president and, subsequently, Major General Ziaur Rahman was appointed as the army chief after removal of Major General K M Shafiullah. However, the coup of 15 August caused a period of instability and unrest in Bangladesh and more so across the ranks and files of the army.Brigadier Khaled Mosharraf and the Dhaka Brigade under Corlonel Shafat Jamil made a counter-coup on November 3, 1975, and Ziaur Rahman was forced to resign and was put under house arrest.A third coup was staged under Corlonel Abu Taher and a group of socialist military officers and supporters of the left-wing Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal on November 7, called the "National Revolution and Solidarity Day" (Sipahe-Janata Biplob) (Soldiers and People's Coup).Brigadier Khaled Mosharraf was killed and Corlonel Jamil arrested, while Corlonel Taher freed Ziaur Rahman and re-appointed him as army chief. Following a major meeting at the army headquarters, an interim government was formed with Justice Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem as chief martial law administrator and Zia, Air Vice Marshal M. G. Tawab and Rear Admiral M. H. Khan as his deputies.
President of Bangladesh
Major General Ziaur Rahman became the 7th President of Bangladesh on April 21, 1977 following Justice Sayem's resignation on grounds of "ill health", which many believed was simply a pretext for Zia's rise to power with army's backing. Although Sayem had held the title of president, historians believe it was Zia who exercised real power from the cantonment. Sayem had promised early elections, but Zia postponed the plans. The years of disorder had left most of Bangladesh's state institutions in disarray, with constant threats of military coups amidst strikes and protests. Assuming full control of the state, Zia banned political parties, censored the media, re-imposed martial law and ordered the army to arrest dissidents. Martial law restored order across the country to a large measure and as Zia crushed several attempted uprisings with ruthless measures, discipline was finally restored in the army.When Ziaur Rahman assumed the presidency after legalizing military coups and the revival of the multiparty system was seen again he appointed Hussain Muhammad Ershad as the new Chief of Army Staff, promoting him to the rank of Lieutenant General.
Domestic and foreign policies
Zia had taken charge of a nation suffering from severe poverty, chronic unemployment, shortages and economic stagnation. Muting the state's commitment to socialism, Zia announced a "19-point programme" which emphasised self-reliance, rural development, decentralisation and population control. Zia worked energetically and spent much of his time traveling throughout the country, preaching the "politics of hope" by continually urging all Bangladeshis to work harder and to produce more.Zia focused on boosting agricultural and industrial production, especially in food and grains, and to integrate rural development through a variety of programs, of which population planning was the most important. Working with the proposals of international lending agencies, he launched an ambitious rural development program in 1977, which included a highly visible and popular food-for-work program.
Zia began reorienting Bangladesh's foreign policy, addressing the concerns of nationalists who believed that Bangladesh was reliant on Indian economic and military aid. Zia withdrew from his predecessors' affinity with the Soviet bloc, developing closer relations with the United States and Western Europe. Zia also moved to harmonise ties with Saudi Arabia and the People's Republic of China, who had opposed Bangladesh's creation and had not recognised it till 1975. Zia also dropped the demands of reparations and an official apology demanded by Sheikh Mujib and moved to normalise relations with Pakistan. While distancing Bangladesh from India, Zia sought to improve ties with other Islamic nations. Zia's move towards Islamic state policies improved the nation's standing in the Middle East.Zia also proposed an organisation of the nations of South Asia to bolster economic and political co-operation at a regional level.This proposal materialised in 1985 under the Presidency of Hussain Muhammad Ershad with the creation of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation in Dhaka.
Politics for development:
Ziaur Rahman's philosophy of statesmanship was reflected in the coinage of the term politics for development. This was to bring an end to what is called "power politics", since he observed how ownership of the government offered an easy means for misappropriating public wealth through rent-seeking activities. He travelled thousands of miles across the country on foot to drive home his message. He addressed countless public gatherings, large and small, to encourage people to work hard for growth and development. His approach was quite idealistic in nature.
Islam and nationalism :
ia moved to lead the nation in a new direction, significantly different from the ideology and agenda of Sheikh Mujib.He issued a proclamation order amending the constitution, increasing the direct influence and role of Islam on the government. In the preamble, he inserted the salutation "Bismillahir-Rahmaanir-Rahim" ("In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful"). In Article 8(1) and 8(1A) the statement "absolute trust and faith in Almighty Allah"' was added, replacing the commitment to secularism. Socialism was redefined as "economic and social justice". Zia further introduced provisions to allow Muslims to practice the social and legal injunctions of the Shariat and Sunnah.In Article 25(2), Zia introduced the principle that '"the state shall endeavour to consolidate, preserve and strengthen fraternal relations among Muslim countries based on Islamic solidarity.Zia's edits to the constitution redefined the nature of the republic from the secularism laid out by Sheikh Mujib and his supporters.Islamic religious education was introduced as a compulsory subject in Bangladeshi schools, with provisions for non-Muslim students to learn of their own religions.After the formation of Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Zia took initiative for formation of political institutes and sponsored workshops for the youth to get active political lessons on Bangladeshi nationalism. In such an workshop in September 1980, Zia spoke to the learners.
Main article: Assassination of Ziaur Rahman
Chittagong Circuit House
Large processions follow the funeral of Zia
During his term of power, Zia was criticised for ruthless treatment of his army opposition. Although he enjoyed overall popularity and public confidence, Zia's rehabilitation of some of the most controversial men in Bangladesh aroused fierce opposition from the supporters of the Awami League and veterans of the Mukti Bahini. Amidst speculation and fears of unrest, Zia went on tour to Chittagong on May 29, 1981 to help resolve an intra-party political dispute in the regional BNP. Zia and his entourage stayed overnight at the Chittagong Circuit House. In the early hours of the morning of May 30, he was assassinated by a group of army officers along with six bodyguards and two aides.
Major General Abul Manzoor was shot to death by army soldiers (name were not disclosed till 2010 by government). A military investigation kicked off immediately and 13 army officers were hanged while 19 officiers were ousted from army on 31 October 1981. Officers who were removed from army were Brigadier Abu Said Matiul Hannan Shah, Brigadier AKM Azizul Islam, Brigadier Gias Uddin Ahmed Chodhury (bir bikram), Brigadier Abu jafar aminul huque (bir bikram), Colonel Md. Bajlul goni patwari (bir protik), Lt. Colonel AS Enamul huque, Lt.Colonel Md. Jainul abedin, Lt. Colonel Md. Abdul hannan (bir pratik), Major Manjur ahmed (bir pratik), Major Wakar hassan (bir pratik), Major Md. Abdul jalil, Major Md. Asaduzzaman, Major Rafiqul islam, Major MD. Abdus salam, Major AKM Rezaul islam (bir pratik), Captain ASM Abdul hai, Captain Jahirul huque khan (bir pratik), Captain Majharul huque, Lt. Abul hasem.
Zia was buried at the Chandrima Uddan in the locality of Sher-e-Banglanagar in Dhaka. People in large processions attended the funeral and paid their final respects. Vice President Abdus Sattar immediately succeeded him as the acting president.
Criticism and legacy:
Ziaur Rahman is considered one of the most important and controversial political leaders of Bangladesh.President Zia re-introduced a very limited form of multi-party democracy in Bangladesh after the country's founder, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, resorted to de facto one-party rule through BAKSAL in 1975. As president, General Zia notoriously legislated the Indemnity Bill, pardoning the subsequently-convicted killers of President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in August 1975.] In a verdict passed on August 30, 2005 the Dhaka High Court declared the seizures of power by military coups between 1975 and 1979, including Zia's military regime as "unlawful and unconstitutional.Zia's martial law decrees, his ascendancy to the presidency in 1977 and the referendum held in 1978 were declared "unknown to the constitution." The court ruling overruled the Indemnity Act by which these very events were accorded a legal status and enshrined in the constitution.
While credited for ending the disorder of the final years of Sheikh Mujib's rule, Zia is assailed by his critics for suppressing opposition.However, Zia's economic reforms are credited with rebuilding the economy and his move towards Islamisation brought him the support of Bangladesh's far-right, Muslim fundamentalist factions, including former opponents to the Liberation War.
Ziaur Rahman is survived by his wife Begum Khaleda Zia and his sons Tareq Rahman and Arafat Rahman. Begum Khaleda Zia became the head of the BNP and organised a coalition of political parties opposed to Ershad's regime. In elections held in 1991, Begum Khaleda Zia led the BNP to victory and became prime minister. She lost the 1996 elections to the Awami League's Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, but returned to power in 2001.Tareq Rahman serves as BNP senior joint secretary, regarded by many as the architect of the BNP's 2001 election victory.