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General Moin’s Story—Some Comments

MBI Munshi

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Tuesday February 24 2009 16:18:45 PM BDT

By Ranu Chowdhury, USA

Bangladesh army chief General Moin U Ahmed published a book titled “Shantir Swpney: Samayer Smriticharan” recently. I read an abridged version of the book.

One tends to add a little fiction to facts, particularly when it comes to autobiography. General Moin could not be immune to such temptation. However, when fiction overshadows facts, eyebrows do rise.

The army chief must be a saintly person to whom our prophet (PBUH) chose to appear in dream. I understand, according to Hadith, such chosen ones are guaranteed a place in the Heaven. How many, out of over a billion Muslims, are so fortunate! We heard former president Ershad always dreamt of the mosque he would visit the following Friday for Jummah, and a barren Roushan Ershad became pregnant and delivered Shaad at old age.

General Moin has a fixed political orientation. He made more political speeches than the politicians following the 1/11, an offence under military law. He did not make secret of his preference for a major political party and admiration for its supreme leader, at the same time condemning the other in those speeches. As such, in the 2-year run of the Moin backed Care Taker Government, it was his loved leader everywhere, and others were totally eclipsed.

Lot of mystery shrouded the 1/11 that brought in the two-year long emergency rule in Bangladesh. Thanks to the general for sharing his side of the story.

We expect the other star of the 1/11, former president Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed, to do the same, for the sake of clarity. However, I am not so sure if he would do us that favor. He was known to listen to HMB (His Masters’ Voice) more than required. He listened to Hawa Bhaban for 5 years, even perhaps when the BNP relinquished its authority. He listened to the military’s dictation on 1/11 and then after. Even during his 1 month tenure under Sheikh Hasina, he forgot who Ziaur Rahman was?

Well, why blaming poor Iajuddin? The present occupant of the Bangabhaban is no better. His reported Parkinson’s disease seems to get the better of him. According to him, near god Sheikh Mujib’s daughter is the near goddess Sheikh Hasina and she could do no wrong, as such, needed nobody’s advice. He did not know where the mazar of Ziaur Rahman located, and went to lay wreaths at the tombs of lesser mortals instead! So much for the talk of honor and dignity that he was supposed to bring to the highest office of Bangladesh.

Coming to the Shantir Swpney, the skeptics may point out some of the missing elements and glaring discrepancy.

There was no mention of General Rezzaqul Haider Chowdhury who was reportedly appointed as the new army chief; replacing Moin, because of latter’s failure to tame the widespread violence that caused huge damage to life and property prior to 1/11. One can understand the omission.

Subsequent reports did not corroborate General Moin’s assertion that UN was considering to withdraw Bangladesh from the global peace missions, if its army supported the elections on January 22, 2007. The UN Secretary General himself denied of any such move.

The story he described about the events from August 15 to November 7, 1975 leaves much to be desired. However, one may not ignore the fact that he was a newly commissioned 2/Lieutenant at that time. And, according to army parlance, a 2/Lt is to be seen only, not to be heard.

There is not much scope here to discuss the circumstances that led to the coup on August 15, 1975. One needs to walk back in time to the early 70s of Bangladesh, particularly 1974 and 1975, and then evaluate the necessity of the August coup. It would be totally unfair to judge the August coup in today’s context.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was one of the great leaders of Bangladesh. Few could surpass his leadership quality and contribution towards the emancipation of then East Pakistanis for their rights. Yet, I fail to understand why he went and engaged himself in lengthy negotiations with the Pakistanis, following his master speech on March 7, 1971?

Well, that was the Sheikh Mujib before 1971. But, what happened to Bangladesh from 1972 to 1975--the creation of the monstrous Rakkhi Bahini, the man-made famine that killed nearly half a million in 1974/75, the clamping of emergency in 1974, the introduction of one-party dictatorship through BAKSAL in 1975, the 5th, constitutional amendment in 1975 and et all? Can one forget and forgive that? Why people forgot to say Innalillah when they heard of his death?

General Moin asserted that the August coup was done purely on personal grudge by a group of very junior army officers, while the rest of the defense forces were not involved. What then prevented the rest of the forces to act and crush that small group? Why then all the chiefs fell head over heels to present themselves before the new president Khandakar Mushataque Ahmed and publicly announce their support and allegiance to him?

Just for information, when Brigadier Khaled Mosharraf, the army chief of general staff, was told that the tanks that were taken out on the night of the coup did not have the ammunition for their main guns, he immediately sent out a hand written note to issue shells for the cannons. Later, however, when an ambitious Khaled failed to gain any favor from the coup leaders, he started plotting against them.

General Moin said that coup leaders were running the country from Bangabhaban, and that infuriated the senior army officers. Well, as a new born officer in the army, he was not supposed to know or see what had happened around that time. His knowledge must have been acquired from his likeminded peers.

To refresh the memory, the new president formed a cabinet composed entirely of the elected representatives of the Awami League on August 15, 1975. Parliament and constitution were not touched. As far as I know, none of the coup leaders were within miles of power, and Mushtaque was not a character to take dictation from others. There were reports of Farooq and Dalim showing off a little; but that was their personal style and certainly did not mean any disrespect to anybody. Chiefs of defense forces and other senior officers used to visit the Bangabhaban on a regular basis those days. Can anyone of them cite an instance when an August coup officer showed any disrespect to them at any stage? Not that I heard of.

I also learnt that most coup officers left Bangabhaban within a few days and lived with their families and in own residences, who had them.

Also, the August coup officers were not taken out of the country by any outsider aeroplane, as mentioned by General Moin. I understand, under an arrangement between Khaled and Bangabhaban, they were allowed to leave the country temporarily, with an assurance to bring them back as soon as the situation permitted. A Bangladesh Biman aircraft was used.

Brigadier Khaled Mosharraf and some of his over zealous cohorts had some grudge against the August 15 coup leaders. It stemmed from their failure to be part of a spectacular historic event that was instantly hailed and welcomed at home and abroad. It was a kind of frustration of missing the boat. So they decided to do something to outdo the August 15 success. The result of this conspiracy was the devastating countercoup of November 3, 1975.

According to General Moin, he was sent to Bangabhaban to guard Khandakar Mushtaque Ahmed against any suicide attempt. This appears ludicrous. If Mushtaque wanted to commit suicide, how in the world a subaltern could stop it? 2/Lt Moin remained with the confined president almost 24 hours; hopefully not suggesting he accompanied him to bedroom and bathroom too. Our subaltern said he could go to his room to wash and change uniform only. He seemed to have no time to eat, sleep or bathe during those days. What a dedication to duty!

From various events of those days learnt from horses’ mouth, Khandakar Mushtaque did not seem to be a coward at all, as described by our subaltern of the time. Let me tell you what I learnt.

Khaled’s short lived coup was a battle or nerves between his small band of officers in the Dhaka cantonment and the Bangabhaban. Public life was not disturbed much, except that the electronic media was off the air. Khaled wanted Bangabhaban to surrender to his command. Mushtaque, joined by his defense adviser General M A G Osmany, flatly refused. Khaled then extended a carrot, requesting Mushtaque to continue as president while he ran the show. Brigadier Rouf and Colonel Malek went to Bangabhaban with the proposal. Mushtaque coolly replied, “If you want me to remain the president, I will be THE president, not YOUR president”.

Frustrated at the stubbornness of the president, an arrogant Colonel Shafaat Jamil, the Dhaka Brigade Commander, stormed Bangabhaban and tried to obtain Mushataque’s resignation at gun point. Yet, Mushtaque did not budge and was kept confined there, along with Osmany. And, perhaps, our young 2/Lt Moin found himself doing guard duty there.

According to eye witnesses, an outraged Shafaat not only misbehaved with the elderly president and General Osmany but virtually manhandled them.

When Khaled and Co. failed to subdue Mushtaque, they decided to appoint Chief Justice A S M Sayem as the new president on November 6, 1975.

So, why would Mushtaque kill himself? Mushtaque was a devout Muslim, and would certainly not do something that is prohibited in Islam. In any case, if he did, it would have been a windfall gift for Khaled.

Unfortunately for Khaled, his counter coup was not accepted outside his small circle of officers, definitely not by the military at large. It was seen to undo the much heralded August 15 Revolution. Khaled was seen as an agent of Awami League, and by extension India, a fact people could not accept at that time. Arrest of Ziaur Rahman, a war hero and declarer of the independence, did not go well in the military chain of command.

By the night of November 6, troops in the Dhaka cantonment revolted and released General Ziaur Rahman from confinement. Khaled, who was at Bangabhaban at that time, realized that his game was over. He, accompanied by Col Huda, Lt Col Haider and a few bodyguards, fled. They were intercepted and arrested at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar by10 Bengal Regiment, Khaled’s onetime loyal unit, then commanded by Lt Col Nawazish. Upon hearing the news, Zia instructed Nawazish to protect Khaled. But the angry troops killed their prize shortly afterwards.

The troops stationed at Bangabhaban immediately aligned with the sepahi-janata (soldier-civilian) revolution, helped release Mushataque and joined the chanting mass in the caravan. All military officers at Bangabhaban fled. Col Shafaat jumped over the southern wall and broke one of his legs. He was later arrested at a ferry ghat.

Yet, our young and brave 2/Lt singlehandedly continued to fight the popular uprising that night, a repeat of the Charge of the Light Brigade! He must have been pretty well known even as a 2/Lt, because a soldier of the revolution knew that he was commissioned only 10 months ago, so no point killing the poor soul! However, others did not perhaps think so and took him to the back of the Bangabhaban to do the ritual, according to Moin.

It was a mass uprising; the revolutionaries do things up front. Why would they waste time to take a tiny 2/Lt to a remote and lonely area to do the job? And again, why would a Havilder look for him among throngs of people that night?

Major Hafizuddin Ahmed, the former BNP minister and the Brigade Major (BM) to Shafaat Jamil, was a key figure to Khaled’s countercoup. Then Major (later Brigadier) Zubeyer Siddiqui played important role in rescuing Zia on November 6 night and reinstalling his authority at the army chief at 2 Field Regiment Artillery in the Dhaka cantonment. Both these officers are men of very high integrity and can throw more light on the events of November, 1975.

http://newsfrombangladesh.net/view.php?hidRecord=248824
 

Skies

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Tuesday February 24 2009 16:18:45 PM BDT

By Ranu Chowdhury, USA

Bangladesh army chief General Moin U Ahmed published a book titled “Shantir Swpney: Samayer Smriticharan” recently. I read an abridged version of the book.

One tends to add a little fiction to facts, particularly when it comes to autobiography. General Moin could not be immune to such temptation. However, when fiction overshadows facts, eyebrows do rise.

The army chief must be a saintly person to whom our prophet (PBUH) chose to appear in dream. I understand, according to Hadith, such chosen ones are guaranteed a place in the Heaven. How many, out of over a billion Muslims, are so fortunate! We heard former president Ershad always dreamt of the mosque he would visit the following Friday for Jummah, and a barren Roushan Ershad became pregnant and delivered Shaad at old age.
Now he fighting with cancer, hope he admits his all before going under the surface.


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M_Saint

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Skies

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Some dalals and too clever/confused ones didn't believe my revelation on how he stole the election in favor of RAWamys. It seemed "Goriver kotha bashi hole e fole", came as GOD's mysterious act through Wing Commander's interview.
Verily, you were abused at that time by them. Now their ignorance will curse them.
 

ShadowFaux

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That guy lost all his credibility and proved that he is a Jewmati toon. He provided nothing but stories. A typical brainwashing attempt by yet another sleeper.
 

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