Hussain Muhammad Ershad, the much-talked-about military ruler cum politician in the history of Bangladesh politics, finally made his eternal journey lying in hospital bed on Sunday (July 14).
After over a week long fight against various old-age complications, including low hemoglobin, kidney and liver problem, high bilirubin and serious keen pain, the opposition leader of the 11th parliament succumbed at Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in the capital on Sunday morning.A chapter of Bangladesh and world history comes to an end through Ershad’s demise.
Ershad was the second living military ruler in the world who became key state person and national politician even after capturing state power through military coup ousting a constitutional government.
The other living military ruler is Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria. Like HM Ershad, Major General Muhammadu Buhari also emerged as the Chairman of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) of Nigeria, the new Head of State, overthrowing its second democratic government, Second Republic in On December 31, 1983.
In world history, no military ruler could live a normal life. Their lives were ended at gallows or in jail. Some ended up their lives in exile. Ershad and Buhari were exceptional and lucky.
Ershad came to power in a bloodless coup on 24 March 1982 as Chief Martial Law Administra tor (CMLA) ousting President Justice Sattar, and ruled the country with an iron hand until his resignation on December 6, 1990.
However, after his resignation amid all-party mass movement, he was jailed and languished six years imprisonment for corruptions, but he was never tried for the coup.Rather Ershad exploited both major political parties of the country—Awami League and BNP—and ensured his importance in national politics, especially for vote mathematics.
The former dictator Ershad died as the main opposition leader of Jatiya Sangsad and the chairman of his party Jatiya Party (JP) and will be buried with state honour.
He will also be paid homage and lauded by national political leaders, once who struggled to end Ershad’s autocratic regime.
Ershad was widely recognised for his controversial political stance and activities. In 2014-19 tenure of Awami League-led 14-party government Ershad’s Jatiya Party became main opposition of the parliament as BNP boycotted the elections. His wife Roushan Ershad was made main opposition leader of the house. At the same time Ershad took the post of special envoy of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and two of opposition JP lawmakers took oath as minister and joined the cabinet.
Ershad and his party as well as then the government were hugely criticised for such political mix up and peculiarity of the government.
Several times JP Chairman vowed to play real opposition party role by pull out their participation from the government but he never did that in that tenure. He also pledged to get out of 14-party alliance and run the 11th national election independently, but he missed his word this time too.
Once again JP became the main opposition of the 11th Jatiya Sangsad, however, this time they did not get involved in the government thanks to the Awami League president and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s decision.
Ershad was also introduced himself as an unpredictable political leader as he changed his decisions now and then in national politics as well as operating his own party.
However, besides a politician, military man HM Ershad made his life colourful with his poetic skill and passionate interest in beauties.