Former planning minister AK Khandker on Wednesday resigned as chairman of the Sector Commanders Forum (SCF), citing personal reasons. He also gave up his membership.
His resignation came apparently in the wake of widespread criticism, especially from the ruling Awami League, for his recently published book ‘1971: Bhetare Baire’.
Air Vice-Marshal (retd) AK Khandker, who was the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Bangladesh Armed Forces during the War for Independence in 1971, sent a resignation letter to the acting SCF secretary general Haroon Habib at about 8:00pm.
In the letter, he mentioned that he is unable to continue as chairman of the Sector Commanders Forum due to his old age, said Haroon Habib.
Sources in SCF said Khandker 'willingly and at sound mental health' stepped aside as the SCF chairman. He retired as he could not perform his duties due to old age. He even requested the forum members to appoint a person who is physically sound.
Haroon Habib said, "After the publication of '1971: Bhetare Baire', we on behalf of the Sector Commanders Forum formally issued a statement terming the information misguiding. [The SCF] executive committee is scheduled to meet on next Friday to decide on him. Meanwhile, I got his resignation letter in the evening. I'll present it to the Friday's meeting."
AK Khandker shed light on different aspects of the Liberation War, especially on the 7 March speech of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and declaration of Independence, in his book which was published recently by Prothoma Publishers.
SCF in a statement said what AK Khandker claimed in his book on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's 7 March speech is unrealistic.
It also said that its policy, ideology and realisation of the historical truth did not correspond with the write ups of AK Khandker.
Khandker in his book claimed that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had uttered ‘Jai Pakistan’ as the last word of his historic March 7 speech in 1971.
He also wrote that Mujib Bahini members had not seen in the field in 1971. The activities of the Mujib Bahini desecrated the liberation war instead of bringing any glory, and some of its members led looting after the war.
On September 10, a case was filed with the Brahmanbaria court against him for his Mujib Bahini claim.
Besides, he came under fire in Parliament on September 4.
Harshly criticising the former planning minister lawmakers across the board demanded that a case be filed against him on sedition charge for ‘distorting history and undermining Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and that the book be banned.