Ziaur Rahman wished to become BaKSAL member: Hasan Mahmud

Guests pose at a book publication event at the conference room of the Press Information Department (PID) at the Secretariat in the capitalBSS

Information and broadcasting minister Hasan Mahmud Thursday said the BNP cannot criticise BaKSAL (Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League) as its founder Ziaur Rahman himself applied to become a member of the political platform and later he was made member of the front.

“Even, Zia wrote an article in favour of BaKSAL in a newspaper. Later, Zia was made a member of the political front,” he said while addressing a book publication event at the conference room of the Press Information Department (PID) at the Secretariat in the capital.

The book title is ‘Bangabandhur Ditiyo Biplob o BaKSAL’ (Bangabandhu’s second revolution and BaKSAL) written by Subhash Singha Roy.

Chairman of the board of directors of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) and former vice-chancellor of Dhaka University (DU) professor AAMS Arefin Siddique addressed the event as special guest, while PID principal information officer Md Shahenur Mia and author of the book Subhash Singha Roy, among others, addressed the audience.

Hasan said Ziaur Rahman, at first, was not a member of BaKSAL as he was deputy chief of Armed Forces, though the then chiefs of three forces were made members of the platform. Zia applied to become a member of BaKSAL and later he was able to attain membership of the platform, he added.

So, the minister said, the BNP has no ethical right to talk and spread confusion about BaKSAL.

He said six members of parliament were shot dead after independence, jute warehouses were set on fire and anarchies were created. Consequently, Bangabandhu said that it was needed to keep the nation united and later he formed the front, said Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary.

He said everyone was brought to a single platform and the leaders were made members of BaKSAL central committee. The country had begun to benefit from the BaKSAL and the GDP rose to 9.5 per cent, he added.

He said the country then almost became self-sufficient in food production as a surplus 10,000 tonnes of paddy had been produced during the time. Consequently, prices of essentials, including rice, had been decreased.

Hasan said the practices of democracy were enhanced under the BaKSAL. Even, Syed Wahidul Islam, brother of the then vice president Syed Nazrul Islam, was defeated in a by-poll in Mymensingh, he added.

He said it is true that all newspapers, except four, were closed. But, no journalist remained unemployed, he added.

The minister said Bangabandhu had formed a five-member committee and the journalists were employed at different departments, including PID, DFP, customs and jute mills.

Replying to a question, Hasan said everyone knows who visit foreigners at night and invited the envoys for dinners. “We believe in the power of people and we don’t believe in anything else. The Awami League assumed state power with the verdict and support of the people,” he added.

He said everyone also knows those who went to power using backdoors and formed a party illegally, said Hasan.

Professor Arefin said the im of Bangabandhu was that ‘people are the owners of the country and our duty is to serve the countrymen’. BaKSAL would become a model specially for the developing countries had Bangabandhu not been assassinated along with most of his family members on 15 August, 1975, he added.

He said the per capita income was highest in South Asia in 1975. Even it was more than China, he added.