Jatiya Party chairman Ershad dies

Staff Correspodnent . Dhaka | Update:

Former president of Bangladesh and Jatiya Party chairman Hussain Muhammad Ershad. Prothom Alo File Photo

Former president of Bangladesh and Jatiya Party chairman Hussain Mohammad Ershad breathed his last at Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka on Sunday morning.

He was 89.

JP presidium member and Ershad’s relative Khaled Akhter told Prothom Alo that the former president passed away around 7:45am.

JP acting chairman GM Quader on Saturday said his brother HM Ershad had been on life support at the CMH.

Physicians had long been trying to make his kidney and liver functions normal, but there was no improvement in this regard, he added.

Ershad, also the leader of the opposition in parliament, was admitted to the CMH on 27 June as his condition deteriorated.

Ershad was born in Cooch Behar of the then British India on 1 February 1930. His father Mokbul Hossain served as a minister of the-then Maharaja of Cooch Behar. Later, his family shifted to Rangur.

Upon completing his graduation from Dhaka University in 1950, Ershad joined the then Pakistan Army. He was commissioned in 1952 from Officers Training School in Kohat.

He was an adjutant in the East Bengal regimental depot in Chittagong. He completed advanced courses from the Command and Staff College in Quetta in 1966. After serving with a brigade in Sialkot, he was given command of the 3rd East Bengal Regiment in 1969 and the 7th East Bengal Regiment in 1971.

He returned to Bangladesh after the liberation war and was appointed as adjutant general of Bangladesh Army by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1973. He was promoted as brigadier in 1975. Later in August of that year, he was promoted as major general and made deputy chief of Bangladesh Army.

In 1978, he was made chief of Bangladesh Army. In the following year he was promoted as lieutenant general.

After the assassination of president Ziaur Rahman on 30 May 1981, Ershad dethroned the elected government of president Abdus Sattar, who had led the BNP to victory in elections in 1982, and took over power on 24 March 1982.

Until December of 1983, Ershad ruled the country as Chief Martial Law Administrator. On 11 December 1983, he dethroned president AFM Ahsanuddin Chowdhury and suspending the constitution and political parties, Ershad took over as president.

A mass upsurge forced Ershad to resign on 6 December 1990.

In 1991, he was arrested and sent to jail. Interned Ershad competed in the fifth general elections in 1991 and won in five parliamentary seats from Rangpur. He also won in five seats in the seventh general elections in 1996.

After remaining interned for six years, HM Ershad got released in bail on 9 January 1997.

Ershad’s Jatiya Party won 14 seats in the eighth parliamentary elections in 2001. Later in 2006, he formed a grand alliance with Awami League-led 14-party alliance and took part in the ninth general elections, held on 29 December 2008. JP won 27 seats in the polls.

He was also elected as parliamentarian in 10th and 11th general elections in 2013 and 2018.

Then he was appointed as leader of the opposition in current parliament.

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