Military coups in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has undergone several changes of government since its independence.

1975 coup

3 November

Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad was removed from power in a coup on 3 November 1975. This was organized by Brigadier Khaled Mosharraf, Bir Uttom, a decorated veteran of the Bangladesh war of Independence in 1971. Commotion and misinformation spread across the power circles in Dhaka. Mosharraf was seen by many as a supporter of Sheikh Mujibir's government. He put Major General Ziaur Rahman, the Chief of Army Staff and fellow independence War leader, who was not believed to have supported the August coup, under house arrest but did not execute him. Some commentators said that the personal friendship between the two officers led to Mosharraf sparing Rahman's life.

Failed Attempts 1977 to 1980

Led by radical leftist JSD leader Lt. Colonel (Retd.) Abu Taher, disgruntled soldiers of a few local units of Bangladesh Army overthrew the 3-day administration of Khaled Mosharraf. Loyal army units of 2nd Field Artillery regiment to the Army CAS Major General Ziaur Rahman was brought out from house arrest. Loyal soldiers of the army killed Khaled Mosharraf and his associates. News about Mosharraf's affiliation with India aggravated the army and suspicion and mistrust spread abound.

Former Army Chief Major General Shafiullah alleged that many JSD (Jatiyo Shomajthantrhik Dol: National Socialist Party) elements infiltrated the army in early 1975. On 6–7 November 1975 some of the JSD elements distributed leaflets and agitated soldiers against the officer class of the army. JSD members loyal and sympathetic to Indian loyalists tried to prop up and push forward the counter-coup organized by Abu Taher.

Army CAS Ziaur Rahman (known as Zia) was reinstated after taken from captivity, who later, in a democratic process, became president of the country. Zia later ordered a judicial trial, to bring back discipline in the barracks. Taher was convicted. He was executed for his part in the coup. The special tribunal was crucial to bring calm to the nation.

Ziaur Rahman survived as many as 21 assassination attempts beginning since the war of Independence in 1971. He was killed in the final attempt by army officers on May 30, 1981. Assassination attempts were being conspired by at least one outside nation. Many facts and rumours abounded. From 30th September 1977 till 2 October a series of incidents occurred in an attempt to remove the Zia Administration from power. The incident initiated in the hijacked JAL flight from India that was force landed in Dhaka with 156 passengers as hostages. Jessore and Bogra Cantonment reacted from the disinformation which led to the chaos and commotion resulting from the JAL flt.472 hijacking incident. BAF and BD Army officers were assassinated including many other members. The rebellion was put down and Zia administration was saved. The JAL flight force landed in Dhaka international airport in Tejgaon fully armed with Japanese Red army men who took off from Delhi, India.

By 2 October 1977 another revolt erupted, due the fact that Eleven Air Force officers were murdered by the Red Army men two days before. But they failed in the attempt. Following this, the coup was begun. An estimated 2500 armed forces personnel were executed following convictions in courts martial for their part in the coup. Officially 1183 soldiers were convicted. 561 were Bangladesh Air Force airmen and rest were Army soldiers.

1982 Coup

During his term of power, Zia continued to enjoy overall popularity and public confidence. Supporters of the Awami League and veterans of the independence war continued to undermine his actions. Amidst speculation Zia went on tour to Chittagong on May 29, 1981 to help resolve an intra-party political dispute in the regional Bangladesh National Party. Zia and his entourage stayed overnight at the Chittagong Circuit House, a rest house. In the early hours of the morning of May 30, he was assassinated by a group of army officers, who also killed six of his bodyguards and two aides.[1] Zia's assassination was part of a large conspiracy masterminded by Indian born Lt.General Hossain Mohammad Ershad. Manzoor had earlier been a senior army commander and had been transferred to Chittagong.

After the assassination of Ziaur Rahman on 30 May 1981, the then Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Hussain Muhammad Ershad, started to distance himself from the civilian government in place.[2] He ordered the army to suppress any investigation of Zia's assassination. Ershad did not spare any chance of Major General Abul Manzoor's trial or investigation. Manzoor surrendered and immediately was taken in cantonment. Twelve hours later he was executed. Upon Zia's assassination, Ershad ultimately got rid of a major section of Independence War participants from the army. And buried any traces of evidence that could incriminate him.

Zia was buried at the Chandrima Uddan in the locality of Sher-e-Banglanagar in Dhaka.[3] Large processions of the public across the nation along with supporters and BNP activists attended the funeral. Vice President Abdus Sattar immediately succeeded him as the acting president.

Ershad at Presidential Oath Taking Ceremony after Elected in 1986 with Chief Justice & Military Secretary Brigadier General ABM Elias
Presidential Oath Taking Ceremony after 1986 elections, the Chief Justice and Military Secretary (1984-1989) Brigadier ABM Elias is also seen

Lieutenant General Ershad expressed loyalty to the new president Abdus Sattar, who led the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to victory in elections in 1981.

Soon after the BNP government continued with Zia's policies and moved on with the business of governing. Lt. Gen. Ershad waited for the right signals to grab to power.

In a bloodless coup on 24 March 1982 Ershad stormed into Bangabhaban and at gunpoint removed President Sattar from office and proclaimed himself Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA), and suspended the constitution. He took over as president on 11 December 1983 by replacing A. F. M. Ahsanuddin Chowdhury.[4]

Attempted Coup in 1996

Lieutenant General Abu Saleh Mohammad Nasim staged an abortive coup in 1996 against the Caretaker government. On 19 May 1996, Abdur Rahman Biswas, the President of Bangladesh during a caretaker government, ordered Nasim to force the retirement of two senior army officers. The President believed that they were involved in political activities with opposition parties. Nasim refused to comply.

The next day, Biswas sacked him and sent soldiers to control the state radio and television stations. On noon that day, General Nasim ordered soldiers of Bogra, Jessore and Mymensingh divisions to march towards Dhaka.

The Ninth Infantry Division's Major General Imamuzzaman, who commanded the division located closest to Dhaka, remained loyal to the President. He directed the removal of all boats and ferries from Jamuna River in Aricha port, so that Bogra and Jessore divisions could not cross the river. He sent a contingent of troops with tanks to blockade the Dhaka-Mymenshing highway. This prevented Mymensing Division Army from entering Dhaka.

In the meantime, Major General Mohammad Anwar Hossain, General Officer Commanding of the 33rd Infantry Division located in Comilla, also came to the aid of the president. He mobilized a fully geared 101 Infantry Brigade, under the command of Brig. Shah Ikram (later Maj. Gen.) to Dhaka to fortify Bangabhaban, the presidential palace. The 33rd Division was deployed, using an Infantry Battalion and a company of tanks from the 7th Horse Armoured Battalion at the Dhaka-Chittagong highway, to create a blockade against the 24th Infantry Division located in Chittagong.

The government broadcast announcements asking all soldiers to stay at their own cantonment. After some hours, Mymensing Division soldiers returned to their barracks. The Chittagong Division never mobilized towards Dhaka. The General Officer Commanding of the Chittagong Division realized that the military coup was highly unlikely to succeed. That night Nasim was interviewed by the BBC and, in reference to troop movements, he said that as Army Chief, he could move troops any time he wanted.

Nasim was arrested by the Brigade Commander of 14 Independent Engineers Brigade and put under house arrest in the Army Mess behind Army Central Library, Staff road, Dhaka Cantonment. Later Awami League government, which was elected to power in 1996, granted him a formal retirement. Since then he has remained a private citizen.

Coup against Caretaker government in 2007

Army Chief Lt. Gen Moeen U. Ahmed staged a military coup on 11 January 2007 in Bangladesh. The military-backed Caretaker Government (CTG) was formed outside the constitutional provisions. Fakhruddin Ahmed made head the government. President Iajuddin Ahmed had to run the presidency at gun point during said army rule.[14] [15] Lt. Gen. Moeen upgraded the Army Chief of Staff's rank to General.[16] Moeen extended the rule of the CTG for two years while his tenure for one year as army chief without lawful authority, in the absence of regular elected government following receiving NDC being the Lt. General and army chief which is designed for Lt. Colonel level officer. The coup has ended as of in 2008 after the military government held a parliamentary election in December 2008 and transfer of power was handed over to the Awami League, who won 230 seats in parliament.

See also


  1. ^ "Death at Night". Time. 1981-06-08. Retrieved 2006-09-10. (Subscription required (help)). President Ziaur Rahman, only 45, lay dead with two aides and six bodyguards in a government rest house in Chittagong. All were reportedly shot by an assassination squad, led by [Major General] Manjur, in the early morning hours Saturday.
  2. ^ "BBC On This Day - 1981: Bangladeshi president assassinated". BBC News. 1981-05-30. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
  3. ^ Ahamed, Emajuddin (2012). "Rahman, Shahid Ziaur". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  4. ^ "Leadership crisis in Bangladesh". Strategic Issues. The Daily Star. 7 April 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-06-02. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
  • Mascarenhas, Anthony. Bangladesh: A Legacy of Blood. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1986.
  • Lifschultz, Lawrence. Bangladesh: The Unfinished Revolution. London: Zed Books, 1979.
  • Ali, Tariq. Pakistan: military rule or people's power?. London: Cape, 1970.

External links

15 August 1975 Bangladesh coup d'état

15 August 1975 Bangladesh coup d'état was a military coup launched by mid ranking army officers in Bangladesh on 15 August 1975. The officers planned to remove the secular government of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with an Islamic government led by Khandaker Mushtaque Ahmed. Sheikh Mujib and most of his family members were killed in the coup.

1977 Bangladesh Air Force mutiny

The 1977 Bangladesh Air Force mutiny was a mutiny in Dhaka on 1 October 1977 by members of Bangladesh Air force and the Signal corps of Bangladesh Army.

1977 Bogra mutiny

The 1977 Bogra mutiny was a mutiny in Bogra Cantonment on 30 September 1977.

1982 Bangladesh coup d'état

The 1982 Bangladeshi military coup d'état deposed the civilian government headed by the president of Bangladesh Abdus Sattar and brought to power the Chief of Army Staff of the Bangladesh Army Lt. Gen. Hussain Muhammad Ershad. After serving initially as the Chief Martial Law Administrator, Ershad assumed the post of president in 1983 and ruled until 1990.

1994 Bangladesh Ansar mutiny

The Bangladesh Ansar mutiny was a mutiny staged from 1 December to 4 December 1994, in Shafipur and Khilgaon by a section of the Bangladesh Ansar, a paramilitary force tasked with providing security to government installations and aiding law enforcement in Bangladesh. The mutiny prompted a series of reforms by the government.

1996 Bangladesh coup d'état attempt

The 1996 Bangladesh coup d'état attempt was a coup attempt in Bangladesh. The coup was launched by Army Chief of Staff Abu Saleh Mohammad Nasim against the President of Bangladesh Abdur Rahman Biswas. The coup failed and the Army chief of Staff was dismissed.

2006–08 Bangladeshi political crisis

The 2006–2008 Bangladeshi political crisis began as a caretaker government (CTG) assumed power at the end of October 2006 following the end of term of the Bangladesh National Party administration. Under the constitution, the CTG manages the government during the interim 90-day period and parliamentary elections. Political conflict began with the appointment of a Chief Advisor, a role which devolved to the President, Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed, because of the failure by the major parties to agree on a candidate from among five considered. The interim period was marked from the beginning by violent protests initiated by the Awami League, with 40 people killed and hundreds injured in the first month. The Bangladesh National Party had its own complaints about the process and the opposition.

After extensive negotiations as the CTG tried to bring all the political parties to the table and had agreement for a scheduled election, on 3 January 2007, the Awami League said that it and the smaller parties of its Grand Alliance would boycott the general election to be held on 22 January 2007. They complained about the lack of an accurate voters list. More widespread violence and political rioting followed.The "bitter rivalry" between the Awami League and BNP has affected the nation for the last two decades, although their political positions are not so far apart. The parties are led by women who represent assassinated leaders: Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, since 1981 has been head of the Awami League. Khaleda Zia, the head of the BNP, is the widow of the popular Ziaur Rahman, who as President founded the party in the late 1970s; he was assassinated in 1981.

On 11 January 2007 the military intervened to support the caretaker government of President Iajuddin, who had already declared a state of emergency. He accepted the resignations of most of his advisors. He also resigned as Chief Advisor, being replaced on 12 January by Fakhruddin Ahmed, who had worked for the World Bank. The government suppressed political activity to try to restore stability. In the spring, it started to work on corruption cases, charging 160 persons, including both party leaders, other politicians, civil servants and businessmen for actions going back to the late 1990s. The nation has had an extreme reputation for corruption under both the major political parties. In addition, some observers speculated that the caretaker government was trying to force both party leaders into exile to stabilise the country and reduce the political polarisation. The CTG also charged Sheikh Hasina for alleged murder for the deaths of four persons during protests in the fall of 2006. The High Court held that Khaleda Zia could not be charged under emergency law for events that happened prior to the emergency but on appeal, in September 2007 the Bangladesh Supreme Court ruled that the Zia trial should proceed. Near the end of 2008, the caretaker government moved to restore democratic government and held elections in December. The Awami League and Grand Alliance won by a two-thirds majority, and formed a government in 2009.

2011 Bangladesh coup d'état attempt

2011 Bangladesh coup d'état attempt was coup attempt in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Army on December 2011 stopped a coup attempt that was planned to have taken place on 11-12 January 2012. This was announced at a press conference on 19 January 2012. The purpose of the coup was to establish Islamic Law in Bangladesh. A number of officers including retired ones were arrested. The coup plotters argued that they are nationalist trying to prevent Bangladesh from being turned into a puppet of India.

3 November 1975 Bangladesh coup d'état

3 November 1975 Bangladesh coup d'état was a military coup d'état led by Major General Khaled Mosharraf to remove the assassins of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from power.

7 November 1975 Bangladesh coup d'état

The 7 November 1975 Bangladesh coup d'état was a coup d'état launched by left wing army personnel in collaboration with left-wing politicians from Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal. The coup killed Khaled Mosharraf who had removed those involved in the Assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from power. The coup also freed Ziaur Rahman from house arrest and allowed him to eventually seize power and become president.

Assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

The assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the killing of the president of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and almost his entire family. It took place in the early hours of 15 August 1975, when a group of Bangladesh Army personnel went to his residence and killed him, during a coup d'état.

Assassination of Ziaur Rahman

Ziaur Rahman, the president of Bangladesh, was assassinated by a faction of officers of Bangladesh Army, on 30 May 1981, in the south-eastern port city of Chittagong. Rahman went to Chittagong to arbitrate in a clash between the local leaders of his political party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. On the night of 30 May, a group of officers commandeered the Chittagong Circuit House, a government residence where Rahman was staying, shooting him and several others.

Bangladesh Armed Forces

The Bangladesh Armed Forces (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ সশস্ত্র বাহিনী, Bānlādēśa saśastra bāhinī) consists of the three uniformed military services: the Bangladesh Army, the Bangladesh Navy and the Bangladesh Air Force. The para-military organization Bangladesh National Cadet Corps (BNCC) is a reserved force and directed by Army, Navy, Air Force. It is under the command of Defence Ministry. The para-military Border Guard Bangladesh (formerly Bangladesh Rifles) and Bangladesh Coast Guard are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Home Affairs during peacetime, but during wartime they fall under the command of Bangladesh Army and Bangladesh Navy respectively.

The President of Bangladesh is the Commander-in-chief of the military, the Armed Forces Division (AFD) is the principal administrative organization by which military policy is formulated and executed and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) does not exercise any authority over the Armed Forces and is far less powerful than the AFD. Currently, both AFD and MoD are headed by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. To coordinate military policy with diplomacy both the President and the Prime Minister are advised by a six-member advisory board, three Chiefs of Staff, which includes the head of each of the regular services, Principal Staff Officer of the Armed Forces Division, and Military Secretaries to the President and the Prime Minister. The Director Generals of the NSI, the DGFI and the BGB also serve in an advisory capacity.The Armed Forces Day is observed on 21 November. Official functions are held at "Bangabhaban", Armed Forces Division Headquarters, Dhaka Cantonment, and at every military installation throughout the country.

Bangladesh Rifles revolt

The Bangladesh Rifles revolt was a mutiny staged on 25 and 26 February 2009 in Dhaka by a section of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), a paramilitary force mainly tasked with guarding the borders of Bangladesh. The rebelling BDR soldiers took over the BDR headquarters in Pilkhana, killing the BDR Director-General Shakil Ahmed along with 56 other army officers and 17 civilians. They also fired on civilians, held many of their officers and their families hostage, vandalised property and looted valuables. By the second day, unrest had spread to 12 other towns and cities. The mutiny ended as the mutineers surrendered their arms and released the hostages after a series of discussions and negotiations with the government.On 5 November 2013, Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Court sentenced 152 people to death and 161 to life imprisonment; another 256 people received sentences between three and ten years for their involvement in the mutiny. The court also acquitted 277 people who had been charged. The trials have been condemned as unfair mass trials without timely access to lawyers and "seem designed to satisfy a desire for cruel revenge", as charged by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights

Bangladesh–China relations

Bangladesh-China relations are the bilateral relations of Bangladesh and China. Bangladesh has an embassy in Beijing and consulates in Hong Kong and Kunming. China has an embassy in Dhaka. Both countries are members of the BCIM Forum. Bangladesh and China are also strategic partners, however, deep historical mistrust and disdains still persisted in Bangladesh due to China's support for Pakistan.

Chief Martial Law Administrator

The office of the Chief Martial Law Administrator was a senior government authoritative post with ZMLA as Zonal Martial Law Administrator as deputies created in countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia that gave considerable executive authority and powers to the holder of the post to enforce martial law in the country in an events to ensure the continuity of government. This office has been used mostly by military officers staging a coup d'état. On some occasions, the office has been under a civilian head of state.

National Revolution and Solidarity Day

National Revolution and Solidarity Day was celebrated in Bangladesh on November 7, officially till 2007. This commemorates the 1975 uprising formed by the people and soldiers. The uprising, led by Colonel Abu Taher and his political group Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal, ended the three-day coup organised by Major General Khaled Mosharraf. It helped Major General Ziaur Rahman, founder of Bangladesh Nationalist Party, to grab power.

Outline of Bangladesh

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Bangladesh:

Bangladesh – sovereign country located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south. Together with the Indian state of West Bengal, it makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. The name Bangladesh means "The land of Bengal" in the official Bengali language. Bangladesh became an independent nation in 1971 after a struggle for independence from Pakistan led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Major Ziaur Rahman. Bangladesh is the eight-most populous country and the fifth most populous democracy in the world.

History and wars
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