Friday, July 27, 2007

The Bangladeshi Nonchalant Generals

The Bangladeshi Nonchalant Generals and their Deathly Gallows.
By Sajjad Jahir

Only a little more than two years ago, on the 15th of June 2005 to be precise, General Moeen U. Ahmed became the Bangladesh Chief of Army Staff. Who knew then this general was waiting in the wings to become an ambitious power monger? Who could visualize then he would follow the same path of his guru Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, who successfully cut the two non-theocratic parties to sizes thus empowering the mulladom? What a historical parallel is being unfolded in Bangladesh by the Pakistani army brass's Bangladeshi junior partners! Without Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif their political parties are nothing short of a boat without a captain. General Moeen knew that at this juncture Hasina less Awami League would be an impotent entity. Similarly a cornered Khaleda Zia will result in simple disintegration of the party.

General Moeen had the audacity to scold whole Bangladehi nation for not paying enough "respect" to the founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He was pointing fingers to the civilian segment of the society. He conveniently forgot that it was the Bangladeshi military that brutally killed Sheikh Mujib, his close relatives, which includes pregnant women and children. The General did not bother to recollect that it was two vile generals, namely, Ziaur Rahman and H.M. Ershad, who very systematically followed a master plan to erase the memory of Sheikh Mujib from the collective psyche of the Bangladeshi people.

General Moeen U. Ahmed blamed the civilian politicians for all the wrong doings that occurred during the last few decades of Bangladesh's existence. His selective memory failed to accommodate one important piece of information. That is, out of the last 36 years since Bangladesh's emergence as a sovereign country, close to 27 years the nation was ruled by Bangladesh army either directly or indirectly. The General can not deny that the outcome of the October 2001 general election brought enough joy to many of the powerful army brass in the Cantonment. Will it be too much of a speculation if someone says, the BNP victory was many generals' wishful thinking?

It is sad to see General Moeen U. Ahmed is showing enough signs of lack of integrity in his public persona. Never had he attempted any degree of self-criticism. May be, self-criticism is not in their lexicon. While he was constantly finger pointing to the corruption epidemic in political circle, never for a single moment he ever uttered any word indicating corruption within the army barracks. It is an open secret, like any social ill, corruption does exist in cantonment in a big way. It is conceivable that many big cheeses in the retired army community became tycoons overnight through illegitimate means. Like any "money grabbing" agency in Bangladesh, Defense Purchasing is an area where corruption has been quite rampant. Can General Moeen deny that?

The military backed current Bangladesh caretaker government's recent drama of prosecuting Sheikh Hasina is the last straw that broke the camel's back. It was an open secret that General Ershad is one of the most corrupt rulers of the country. He remained untouchable to this day. Ironically, a few days before the so-called historical 1/11, this general was indicted by the former regime. Strangely enough, today he remains a free man.

When mullah and military commingle, they make a deadly cocktail. Pakistan is a good example. Ziaul Huq made the country a precursor of a Talibanistic nation. In Bangladesh 's case, Ziaur Rahman and H.M. Ershad started the process of Islamization of once secular nationalist country. When ex-DGFI Chief General Matin says he does not have clue if Jamaatis were corrupt, it gives us enough headache.

The Generals are leading the nation to a deathly gallows, it seems.


Shafiq said...

Present army back (many people says now, ISI backed) government is also trying to twist the history of the Bangladesh and our great liberation war (peoples war).

A "reader" or "announcer" of independence declaration can not be "declarer" or "proclaimer" of independence!

Before re announcing the historical message of Bangabandhu about proclaiming the independence of Bangladesh, by Major Zia on 27th March 1971 at Kalurghat radio station, was announced by General Secretary of Chittagong City or District Awami League leader on 26th March in Chittagong city radio station

For more rational, logical and factual analysis, please read the column of Mr. Abul Hossain Khokon, published in today's (27.07.07) Ajker Kagoj.

What about role & contribution of Sayed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahamed?

Were their role & contribution less than Major Zia?

So, why the name of Zia should come in the school text books and why not of Sayed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahamed?

Is this not distortion or twisting of the history of Bangladesh and our great liberation war?

What is your opinion?

Please write in detail.
It is your noble duty too.

"Sustha thakon, nirapade thakon ebong valo thakon"


Shafiqur Rahman Bhuiyan (ANU)

NEW ZEALAND. said...

Dear conscious readers and the concerned authority of Bangladesh Army ,

There are few serious questioning and inquisitive information, which I found, in the web page of the Bangladesh Army for some constructive suggestions and comments from the passionate peoples, conscious citizens of Bangladesh and from the concerned authority of Bangladesh Army .

In the "History of Bangladesh" section of the web page of Bangladesh Army (,

Author/developer has mentioned or quoted only two names, in two places, related to the history of Bangladesh and the names are:

Mohammed Bakhtiar Khalzhi
Robert Clive

But there is no name of the founder of the Bangladesh in the "History of Bangladesh"!

What a witty web page and what sagacious information!

Do not walk away, please wait, more surprise is waiting for you also:

There are only two important and concern "date"s in the "History of Bangladesh" and in the "War of Independence" section of that blog, they are:

· 25th March, 1971

· 16th December, 1971

But there is no 26 th March 1971, our Independence Day?

Is it a fair history?

I drawn the attention of the concerned authority of Bangladesh Army and also expected present COAS, CG will change these controversial matters

I am expecting your constructive and valuable comment and suggestion please,


A conscious citizen of Bangladesh

someguy said...

"Deathly Hallows" was positively scrumptious. However, I can't say the same about this pose :( NO matter how synonymous tht title might sound. Here are some keywords from what would've been a huge comment when written in context. Hope they will suffice for my expression:

1) Country
2) Political Parties
3) Don't give a rat's hiney.
4) Grandson
5) Harvard School of Business
6) Donation
7) porsche ( Don't give a rat's hiney. )
8) Would be ruler
9) 650 crore worth of corruption money
10) Ex-gen Ex-Muktijoddha Ex-president Ex-Z force leader dad
11) Don't give a rat's hiney.
12) Current ruler
13) Not topple the natural order of business
14) Students not agitated
15) If so, students and general people protest
16) New set of rulers are chosen for yet another rekindling of the "Animal Farm" (Copyright@George Orwell)
17) Blog
18) Nice design
19) Could've done without the aatel blogrollings
20) Could've followed an independent path despite political taunts from AHEM! "abroad".
21) Historical mutilation
22) Don't give a rat's hiney..the truth is always exposed in the end.
23) Otherwise how does dudes and dames learn about sex without an active "Sex Education" curriculum?
24) Adios.
25) Hope the comment will be published for the "Greater Good" (get it? Greater Good? Gridelwald? Hp7? Dark Wizards Duelling?)

Imran Faruk said...

Mr. Jahir has opened a pandora box. Pak President Parvez Musharraf drove away Benazir and Newaz Sharif and showed the same dream to Pakistanis what Gen. Moin is showing to Bangladesh people. Result? Pakistan is almost a failed nation with Mullah dominance. If Gen. Moin and gong succeeds, Bangladesh will be a mollah dominant state too.

All these drama is to get rid of Hasina & Khaleda, weaken AL & BNP and let Jamat and army rule.Its a very bad syndicate.

Anonymous said...

I hope you enjoy reading this article and find it informative. It was emailed to a journalist in the UK. Please circulate it amongst your friends---cheers!

The Prisoner of Dhaka

Well John as always you write well, and you have good intentions no doubt, BUT I think even though the case of Moudud Ahmed is very sad-----no due process for an ex law minister-----the irony!, you have to understand the background of the country, and the over all situation and history, to put it all in context, otherwise it looks like a case of another banana republic doing funny things to its once high and mighty-------and inadvertently reinforces racial stereotypes. This is not a justification of his poor treatment, and at a personal level I do not know him, or his life history, but an attempt at explaining the deeper wider issues which finds him in such a sorry state. As an investigative journalist you would normally be addressing such things anyway, as you have done with many other cases.

First Bangladesh is a British managed puppet state-----and most of the leading political actors from the BNP, Awami League head to London for their political approval or policy ideas, or to invest their loot taken from the poor people of Bangladesh.

A good deal of the state bureaucratic structure is also trained by the British, most notably the army, where each year the best cadets from the army are sent to train at Sandhurst. So the military elite is British orientated, which of course also means the intelligence. The last time I checked the Bangladesh military was '125,000' strong.

Remember British rule in India would have been impossible without the cooperation of local collaborators/filth column.

Again, making the same point as before, lets not tut tut righteously, and say quietly to ourselves that this is another case of a Third World banana republic being brutal to its own---and shrug, because it does not explain a lot of background things. As with the above point we should ask who controls the local Third World actors who does these things? To what extent is the brutality in South America, Africa and Asia the random manifestation of local actors or the coordinated actions of Western corporations and government agencies?

As to Britain, what it has done in the UK, most notably in Northern Ireland and in other instances, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan is far worse than what the military regime in Bangladesh is doing, or has ever done.

I myself tried to practice as a Barrister in Bangladesh in 2002, in the Chambers of Tawfik Nawaz? Well known and clean Barrister. I experienced many many difficulties, as a result of which I had to leave the country eventually, after a very short time. Clearly somebody powerful didn't want me working in that country----the BNP was in power then, and the British were as active as ever.

The people of Bangladesh must eventually find their 'freedom' from the clutches of the British neo-imperialists, and the genocides exacted by that imperial power upon the poor wretched people of that country and region.

You have done great work for Bangladesh and her people as you have done for others around the world, and I honor you for that. You were great with the genocide stories of Cambodia and East Timur, so lets hear about Bangladesh a little bit more. But permit me to educate you a little about the wider issues, which finds the country in such a state.

These are random factors which have effected adversely the attitude of the British state towards the people of Bangladesh. It is not meant to be a criticism of the British people, or even 99.999% of the population who have better things to preoccupy themselves with, but rather a criticism of the bureaucrats and elite around London who formulate policy which have adversely affected the fortunes of that country:

* The 'Black hole of Calcutta' 1757 incident falsely used by the British to justify their conquest of India-----'The dreaded Bengaali' 'The evil conniving slippery Bengali......' 'The Bengaali Babbu know it all' mainly directed as Hindu Bengalis.

* The history of British rule in Bengal started off badly and only got worse. Bengal was the 'Pearl of India' in the eighteenth century, and only after 50 years of British rule, after they had plundered it, it became the poorest state in India. In 1769 in order to grow cash crops like Indigo and jute, local farmers were banned from growing rice, and as a result 10 million people died----Warren Hastings the serving governor of Bengal was taken to trial for that crime this but was eventually cleared, of course. Misrule continued in the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century. In 1943 just when it seemed the Japanese were about to invade India from the East, the British surrounded the state of Bengal, passed laws prohibiting rice imports from surrounding states, sent agents to buy up the rice in Bengal, and finally ringed the state with police and paramilitaries to forcefully starve and kill 3-6 million people, and thus keep 'control' of the state------on the assumption that there 'might' be rebellion. You understand the callousness and paranoia of the Raj.

* The British are color averse, speaking as one who has grown up in the UK. Most Bengalees are brown to dark brown people of Indo-Burmese stock---80%. Racism defined British rule in Bengal, and still does. It is no coincidence that the British empire entirely involved subjugating and exploiting people of color.

* Britain is an Islamophobic country traditionally---Crusades etc. It becomes more Islamophobic with the Jews of London and their control of the media, and the creation of Israel.

* Bengal was the first major Indian state to experience British rule. With it came Western ideas and knowledge. If you add this with traditional Brahmanical education in high caste Hindus, and what you had was a major advancement of high caste Hindus taking advantage of Western education, and fusing it with their traditional Indian knowledge, from the eighteenth into the nineteenth century. Thus naturally this new breed of educated Bengalis become conscious of themselves and they spear headed the intellectual drive for independence. The political class for India's independence was dominated by Hindu Bengalis, and it irritated the British no end---------just another evidence of the 'dreaded Bengaali'. The Bengaali Hindu political class defeated early British efforts to divide the state of Bengal along religious lines--1905-----1912, using Satyagraha---peaceful resistance. After the British created the Muslim League in Dhaka, East Bengal in 1905. The British in a huff in 1913, took the capitol of the Raj from Calcutta to Delhi, as far away as possible from the 'dreaded Bengaali'.

* 1857 Indian Liberation war. Of the three armies of the Raj, which controlled India, it was the 139,000 strong Bengal Presidency army which rebelled and fought the British. There after Bengalis and especially Brahmins were banned from being recruited into the Raj army. The Liberation war created further animosity, as there were wide scale fighting and extreme brutality by both sides against armed forces and civilians alike-----Severe British brutality against locals and harsh police tactics, similar to those of the Ulster constabulary continued right up to independence in the states of Bihar, Orissa and BENGAL---three of the most impoverished states of India, and areas of continued rebellion even now by Naxals--it has become part of the culture, inherited from the British.

* From 1919--1947, there was renewed armed struggles by armed groups of Bengali fighters against the British. In that time two British governors of Bengal were assassinated, along with many civil servants and police.

* The great Indian political leader from Bengal Subhas Bhose who advocated Indian independence through armed struggle, with foreign assistance appeared on the Burmese border in 1944, with an army of 40,000. They were defeated by the allies, but the psychological effect on the British and Indians alike was tremendous, and one of the key factors the British judged it was time to leave India.

* The British as part of their divide and rule policy created many frictions in Indian society. One of these was the creation of prejudice and friction between states in India. They deliberately propagated the image that Bengalis as sly, devious, feeble and weak and not be trusted (no noble characteristics and thus not be accorded any respect------Apu redux). This had adverse affects after independence when the Punjabi dominated government of Pakistan took over, where the majority of the people of the new nation of Pakistan were 'Dreaded Bengaaalis' 56%. And so this artificially created state by the British just couldn't gel, and whilst Bengalis couldn't become leader of overall Pakistan, they couldn't even become leaders of their own part of the country-----continuation of colonialism. When the Punjabis finally left East Pakistan in 1971, they left with a vengeance, not something one would characterize with true fellow countrymen and fellow Muslims. The British had educated the Raj army well. See the performance and behavior of the Pakistan army in Baluchistan and FATA.

* Sections of the British elite can exhibit the feminine /Jewey character of holding historical grudges over a very long period of time, well past their sell by date.The East India Company was a Jewish run operation, and the Rothschild's and the Jews basically financed the British empire, and were its main beneficiary. Around 3,000 Jew/gentile families around London, exemplified by the cities wealth did well out of the British empire, whilst the rest of the British population did the grunt work, and superficial flag waving. This historical grudge is best exemplified by the hatred that is directed by London towards Russia, with the help of the Rothschilds tools in Washington. They with their American agents financed the Russian Communist revolution which claimed the lives of up to 40 million people in that region. But like the true psychopath who hates their victims---------they are not done yet; they want more. Its irrational hatred because all the Russians are asking for is a little bit of dignity, fair treatment and to be recognized for what they are-------------------but no! no! damn it no!

* There are no Bengalis living in the UK--------true to this historical grudge. The 300,000 'Bangladeshis' that are living in the UK are technically ASSAMESE. They over overwhelmingly come from the Syhlet district of Bangladesh which in 1947 was part of ASSAM, but was latched on to East Bengal------East Pakistan, because of its Muslim majority. The 'Bangladeshis' who live in the UK are at the bottom of British society living in some of the worst houses, enjoying living standards below that of all other ethnic communities including Africans. They subsist in the country by running their private economy consisting of restaurants. The unemployment rate is high; they live in inner city ghetto's and their education is poor. Drugs and prostitution has been introduced into the community by state institutions, since the early nineties, as way to help weaken the community.

* Human nature is random and over overwhelmingly irrational, contrary to the modern myth of the rational Western man----- a load of baloney. It was just bad luck that Mughal India was the richest nation on earth, and BENGAL its richest part. This reputation attracted the wrong crowd/criminals from London aka 'The East India company'----------and since 1757 for Bengal it has been one unremitting bad experience. This is a cautionary tale to all the nations on earth about London, its Jews and the Rothschild's. All nations have a duty to themselves to find out which companies are their fronts, from the UK, Holland and the USA, and then avoid doing business with them. These people don't believe in live and let live, sharing wealth, and have been a source of major problems for Europe in the nineteenth century, and the world in the twentieth century. Since they have never been held to account, so they continue with business as usual--------because educated people in the know fear to question this fact. You see its not politically correct.

* Paranoia, the very serious business of empire, power, military conquest has its own set of logic, separate from the normal rational world.

* Humans are creatures of habit, and once a trend is set, humans don't like to change them that easily. British rule was bad from the beginning in Bengal, and it has continued since.

Because of these factors, the country has experienced many problems since 1947:

* The very first governor of East Pakistan was a British Civil servant, because the political leadership of the country was marginalized, or not allowed entry from India, whilst the British consolidated their new artificially created country---Pakistan, the perennially failed state managed by the UK/USA.

* Then West Pakistanis ran East Pakistan like a colony, with all its heads being non-Bengalis, right up to 1971. This is stuff you are well familiar with, so I won't go over this too much except to say that during British rule of the sub-continent, they encouraged differences between the various states. So the 'marshal race' Punjabis who were recruited into the Raj army were indoctrinated into hating/looking down on Bengalis.

* Then there was the 1971 war, and all the devastation that came with that.

* The 1971 December 13th massacre of the 270 Dhaka intellectuals of professors, journalists and artists seems on the surface like a bog standard ISI covert op. using Islamic fundamentalists nutjobs, but when you look at the issue in greater depth (Channel 4 did an excellent documentary on this event in 1997, and I encourage you to watch it) it looks like the orders came from the ISI masters in London. Most of the Islamic fundamentalists who did the dirty deed, including their leader went on to live in London, and ran a very large Mosque in the East End, until the channel 4 program exposed them. The leader of the group, Moinuddin Khan was invited to 10 Downing street and shook hands with the PM, John Major. I hope John you do a thorough investigative report of the links between the British state, with Islamic fundamentalists going back to the last century, and how local intelligence agencies use such people, in Third World societies. It ties in with Australia, especially under Howard.

* From 1972-75 Bangladesh went through a very difficult period of destabilization, and an eventual coup, backed by the USA overtly, and the UK covertly. John I don't know how much you are into elite 'conspiracies', but if you are into the NWO thing, and that the Rothschilds of London are the main operators, and people like Brzezinski and Kissinger their tools, then you will understand the picture of why Shiekh Mujib ur Rahman was invited to the UK in 1975, and then upon his return when all the pieces for the coup were set, the army massacred his entire family including a child of a few years. That just about sums them up doesn't it? Without being too narrow, if you really are into explaining the problems of Third World societies then all you have to do is look at the 'The City' and the Rothschild's, whilst developing a strong conscience saying that 'I'm not anti-Semitic'----merely objective, looking at cause and effect.

* Then General Zia ul Rahman.1975--81...............some stability and development. He himself was not corrupt but he allowed corrupt men into his cabinet----setting a bad example for future democratic governments. He armed and politicized the students unions---very very dangerous. He allowed British military trainers into the country after an absence of 30 years in 1977----unforgivable given the history of the country ( officially they are there to train the Bangladeshi army, but unofficially they are there to spy on the armed forces and see which officers are cooperative towards Britain ), on the advice of the Callaghan Labor government! He focused development of the nation on a Western model not suitable for Bangladesh from the 1950's, when instead he should have invested heavily into infrastructure; education; export and industry----in addition focus on institution building of the bureaucratic center---strong anti-corrupt efficient state institutions----the secret of Singapore's success, and not democracy. He squandered the huge amounts of help the Carter administration gave him---maybe we should not expect too much from a military man with minimal education. Relations deteriorated with India during his tenure. He was invited to the UK on a state visit, whilst in the UK the pieces for the coup was fixed by the UK, and he was killed upon his return in 1981 by the UK. Indira Gandhi partly got the blame wrongly !

* General Ershad 1982-90. Not corrupt, built up the countries infrastructure, and some development took place. He was a womanizer, but not a major problem all things considered. Lost power in 1990, after a popular uprising.

* Since then we have had these two women, in democracy constantly bickering about the past, with no real development.

Obviously Bangladeshis can't go through history blaming their national problems on the British significant as it has been, but sooner or later they have to take matters into their own hands. With a population of 150 million, rising to 350 million by 2050, sooner the better.


Mostaque A Ali.

Anonymous said...

Can an autocratic force uphold the democratic process in Bangladesh?

The journey of Bangladesh Army started after the independence with a multi dimensional group of officers and men. Amongst them some were freedom fighters; some were repatriated from West Pakistan and some were incorporated to army with a short training. As a result there was a conflict especially between the freedom fighters and repatriated officers.
Meanwhile formation of Rakkhi Bahiney added fuel to that conflict. As result our Father of the Nation became a tragic victim along with his family members and his political collogues. That was not an end of it. To get rid of all this conflict multiple mutinies were staged in the Army and in the process of attrition all the bright officers of Bangladesh Army were either killed or hanged by court marshal. The first army back president of Bangladesh Zia-Ur Rahman was a major architect of this process but unfortunately he also could not escape the reality. He became a victim to it at the port city.

After the death of Gen Zia the then Army Chief Gen Ershad took the power. A very intelligent and cunning Gen started re-organizing the Army with his innovation and talent. He formed multiple intelligence organizations within the Army like DGFI, (Directorate General of Forces Intelligence) ASU, (Army Security Unit) and FIU (Field Intelligence Unit). The prime job of all those organizations was to watch what is happing in the Cantonment especially in the officer’s circle. He formed the SSF (Special Security Force) for his personal protection and successfully foiled number of assassination attempt. Increased the number of training institution and made the army more competitive and gave feelings to the officers that professionalism is the ladder to go up. Most significantly there was an instruction to ISSB (Inter service selection board) not to select officers from affluent family background. More so he negotiated with UN to send troops for peace keeping operation. That created a significant impact on the rank and file. High salary of peace keepers by the UN generated lot of interest amongst the troops who comes from a very poor back ground and officers who came from a lower middle class background. On the other hand he gave the top brasses unlimited facilities. It is said “A General in Bangladesh Army lives a better life than that of British Queen”. You literally can’t say any amenities which a General of Bangladesh Army avail with pay. His every thing is free. Even after his retirement he is given with a million dollar house with a nominal price and ultimately that become a main source of earning. All those tricks and treat worked like a magic and Gen Ershad faced no trouble during his 9 year tenure from army. Even today Bangladesh Army is following the foot print of Gen Ershad.

After the fall of Gen Ershad through a political struggle a so called democratic political government came to power. Unfortunately Begum Khaleda Zia became the prime minister of Bangladesh who is a widow
of a army General.
Army was politicized at the top level which General Ershad never did.
At one stage it became very obvious that to become an Army chief or a General you must have to have some political affiliation with the ruling party. After the fall of Khleda regime Sekh Hasina came to power. Initially Army was kind of nervous, because Army was the main force behind hers assassination. With in a short time Hasina very intelligently followed the foot print of Khleda. It was just the other side of the coin. After her 5 years tenure, Khaleda Zia again came to power and this time Army played a vital role during the election in favor of BNP. Seven Brigadier Generals got the prize promotion in one day just after the election superseding some finest senior and qualifying officers. Politicization became so obvious that lot of senior officers started visiting Mossadek Ali (Falu) and Tarek Zia before the promotion board. Gen Moin was not an exception to that. Superseding minimum 4 very qualified general he became the Army Chief which created lot of cretinism within in the army........................ to be continued.