Area Handbook for Bangladesh

Area Handbook for Bangladesh

Area Handbook for Bangladesh

Area Handbook for Bangladesh

Excerpt

On March 26, 1971, the leaders of the Awami League declared East Pakistan independent of Pakistan, of which it had been a part since 1947, and announced the creation of Bangladesh, the laud or home of Bengalis (see Glossary). A brutal civil war broke out, and the issue of East Pakistan's secession was not resolved until elements of the Indian armed forces launched a formal invasion of the ares on December 4. The Pakistan army commander in Dacca surrendered on December 16, and a few days later the Bangalee (see Glossary) government-in-exile returned to Dacca to set up a government.

On January 11, 1972, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the leader of the Awami League, returned from West Pakistan, where he had been imprisoned since the previous March. Under his leadership the Awami League formed a parliamentary government. Over the next three years a number of foreign countries and international organizations provided a vast amount of economic aid and assistance, and Mujib's government sought to establish a system of law and order. By late 1974, however, the economy was a shambles, the society remained seriously disorganized, and most institutions of government were inefficient, corrupt, or both.

Under Mujib's guidance the national Parliament on January 25, 1975, through a constitutional amendment abolished the parliamentary system, established a presidential one, and granted Mujib power to create a one-party state, which he created a short time later. Mujib had earlier suspended the constitutional guarantees of fundamental or civil rights, and the constitutional amendment sharply curtailed the powers of the judicial system in this field. In April 1975 Mujib directly controlled or possessed the major powers of the state -- including those of the military, paramilitary, and police forces.

On August 15, however, Mujib, his wife, and several members of his family were assassinated in a coup d'etat. In the immediate aftermath of the coup little information was available, and many of the early reports were contradictory. The most reliable sources available in early November believed that a small group of middle grade army officers planned and executed the coup because of Mujib's continued failure to check the open corruption that ran from the lowest to the highest levels of government and because of Mujib's increasing efforts to politicize the armed forces and civil services (see ch. 1).

A long time colleague of Mujib, Khandakar Mushtaque Abroad, emerged as the new president, He instituted strong programs to reduce corrupt practices and to restore efficiency and public confidence in the . . .

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