Mujib ‘illegal’ PM in 1972
Tarique gives another twist to history
In yet another demonstration of his creative imagination, BNP Senior Vice-chairman Tarique Rahman has claimed that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman became prime minister “illegally” in 1972.
Tarique’s latest discovery comes less than two weeks after he made the startling remark that his father Ziaur Rahman was the first president of Bangladesh.
Quoting the declaration of independence, he said Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was to remain president and Syed Nazrul Islam vice-president until a constitution was adopted.
“Sheikh Mujibur Rahman returned to the country on January 10 [of 1972] and became prime minister on January 12. There was no constitution in the country…. So should we not say that he was the illegal prime minister?” he told a meeting at Westminster Hall in London on Tuesday night.
The BNP’s UK chapter organised the programme.
“Sheikh Mujib’s daughter Sheikh Hasina remains the prime minister forcibly just like her father, who became prime minister in 1972 illegally and forcibly,” insisted Tarique, who has been in London, where he went for treatment after securing a parole in corruption cases, since 2008.
Late last month, Tarique claimed his father was the first president of the country. Two days later, on March 27, his mother and BNP chief Khaleda Zia supported the claim, drawing widespread criticism from historians, the media and various other quarters.
Top BNP leaders told The Daily Star last week that Khaleda and Tarique knew people would not buy their lie. Still, they resorted to such falsehood in efforts to counter the Awami League’s propaganda against Zia that he was not a freedom fighter and that he was a spy of the Pakistan army.
Senior BNP leaders, including a number of standing committee members, said Tarique was the mastermind behind it all and that Khaleda had been “ill advised” in this regard.
Referring to an interview of Gonoforum President Dr Kamal Hossain published in weekly “Shaptahik” on October 28, 2010, Tarique said on Tuesday that Sheikh Mujib and Kamal Hossain returned to independent Bangladesh on Pakistani passports.
To be able to come to Bangladesh, both Mujib and Kamal prepared Pakistani passports in 1972, he claimed.
“A person who dreamt of an independent Bangladesh since his childhood returned to the country with a Pakistani passport instead of using UN travel documents. He returned to an independent Bangladesh with Pakistani documents and became prime minister of independent Bangladesh illegally as a Pakistani citizen,” he said.
In his speech, Tarique cited different books by Awami League leaders, including Finance Minister AMA Muhith, and a website of the Indian army to support his claim that his father was the proclaimer of the country’s independence.
“Sheikh Mujib never declared the independence of Bangladesh. I repeat, Sheikh Mujib never thought of declaring the independence of Bangladesh.”
He also said his previous claim that Zia was the first president of the country was based on facts.
The Daily Star last week spoke to Prof Sharif Ullah Bhuiyan, chairman of the history department at Dhaka University, about that claim, and he said there was no record in history to support the claim.
“The BNP’s claim that Zia was the first president is bogus,” added Prof Sharif.
While speaking at Tuesday’s programme, Tarique also criticised the AL government and Hasina’s family for “rehabilitating” Razakars in politics.
According to him, it was Sheikh Hasina who helped the Razakars carry the national flag on their vehicles, not Ziaur Rahman, Khaleda Zia and the BNP.
He said Hasina made Moulana Nurul Islam state minister for religious affairs in 1996.
“Sheikh Hasina made someone [Nurul Islam] a minister who was on the official list of Razakars and who was tried under the Razakar Act during the rule of Sheikh Mujib’s government.”
The BNP took some leaders of other parties in the cabinet for the sake of the country’s interest, but none of them was tried under the Razakar Act by the Mujib administration, he added.