The nation is well aware of Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury’s lies about the current army chief, the spreading of which I believe is the wrong kind of politics by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
Military dictator General Ziaur Rahman founded the party using dirty and unacceptable tactics, and it appears his followers are sticking to those ways.
General Zia came to know about the plan to kill Bangabandhu and instead of taking action against the few disgruntled officers, he told them to do “What they thought was best, but I cannot be directly involved,” according to TV interviews of the rogue army officers.
He waited to see the killings take place. Once Bangabandhu was killed, General Zia got rid of the officers involved in the coup by posting them as diplomats in different Bangladesh embassies abroad.
Subsequently, the brute in him again came out when anti-freedom forces hanged Col. Taher with the help of a kangaroo court despite the fact he survived the November 7, 1975 upheaval because of the very officer he sent to the gallows.
Then he started activating his master plan —pursuing pro-Pakistan policy. He started by shaking hands with 1971 war collaborators like the late Golam Azam and leaders of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami clan. Islam became his key weapon to hold onto power after eliminating potential opponents one way or the other.
According to insiders, he would take no chances if he found anybody opposed to his ways of dealing with issues and would prefer killing him. Thus, there are a large number of families who lost their dear ones during Zia’s rule and many have remained missing.
Thus, through the several dozen coups that he survived, Zia ensured the elimination of his opponents by executing them for such illegal actions. Some were simply framed and executed, according to insiders at that time.
The BNP has refused to give up the lessons of its founder and correct itself. It waits for issues and capitalises on those by resorting to conspiracies, not through honest politics like the recent 'safe road' and 'quota' campaigns by students.
The army is the BNP's other favourite subject, its leaders knowing thoroughly the sensitivities linked to this very important organ of the country.
The BNP used the armed forces under Zia for many wrong purposes — mainly to cling to power.
Then Zia’s widow and successor Khaleda stayed on in the Cantonment and tried to instigate the army against an elected Awami League government ahead of the 1996 elections, but failed as people rejected it.
The BNP demands army deployment with magisterial powers ahead of every election which has every chance of setting off fresh controversies involving the army.
Thus knowingly or unknowingly, why Dr. Zafrullah spread lies against army chief General Aziz Ahmed, who is considered to be a good choice by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to lead the troops and a man of high qualities, may remain a mystery.
Politicians cannot be reckless and make irresponsible remarks which can create commotion or even a wrong impression for a man holding such a sensitive and important post.
The BNP must learn a lesson from its past and should abandon its irresponsible politics at the cost of the nation’s sovereignty and independence.
Nadeem Qadir is a UN Dag Hammarskjold Fellow.