Ziaur Rahman was active in politics despite being the Chief of Army Staff. He was appointed as the Chief of the Bangladesh Army by Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad, one of the masterminds of the Bangabandhu assassination. He chose Zia for the post of Chief of Army Staff as the most trusted person less than a week after the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the great hero of the Liberation War, on 15 August. Ziaur Rahman kept the trust by passing the Fifth Amendment Bill in the Constitution in his parliament in April 1979 to legitimate the assassination of August 15. A few days later, he also passed the infamous act in the parliament to exempt those involved in the assassination of Bangabandhu.
In his book ‘Bangabhabaner Sesh Dinguli [The Last Days at Bangabhaban]’, Justice Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem wrote that Major General Ziaur Rahman took over the post of Chief Martial Law Administrator from me on November 29, 1976. He took all the power to amend the Constitution, and declare and issue orders. On April 21 of the following year, I was asked to hand over the presidency to Ziaur Rahman. And it happened accordingly. [Page 35]
He further wrote, “While tendering my resignation, I told Zia – I would request him to hold the presidential election as I could not have done it.” He assured me that he would hold the election. But I did not even think that he, himself, would take part in the election. In that case, I would not have thought that he would hold and take part in the election being in power as the army chief and president and chief martial law administrator under martial law. ‘[P. 36]
Mirza Fakhrul Islam and other BNP leaders must know about the incident, but will never admit it. Ziaur Rahman can do politics as the Chief of Army Staff, but when any police officer speaks about the Liberation War, does it become ‘politics’?