Muhammad Mansur Ali

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Muhammad Mansur Ali
মোঃ মনসুর আলী
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
In office
25 January 1975 – 15 August 1975
President Mujibur Rahman
Preceded by Mujibur Rahman
Succeeded by Mashiur Rahman (Acting)
Personal details
Born 1919
Kuripara, Bengal Presidency, British India
(now Sirajganj, Bangladesh)
Died 3 November 1975 (aged 55–56)
Political party Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (1975)
Other political
affiliations
All-India Muslim League (Before 1949)
Awami League (1949–1975)
Alma mater Maulana Azad College
Aligarh Muslim University
Religion Islam

Muhammad Mansur Ali (Bengali: মোঃ মনসুর আলী; 1919 – November 3, 1975) was a Bangladeshi politician who was a close confidante of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding leader of Bangladesh. A senior leader of the Awami League, Mansur also served as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh in 1975.

Early life[edit]

Muhammad Mansur Ali was born in the village of Kuripara, in the Sirajgonj Thana of Sirajganj District in the province of Bengal (now in Bangladesh). Mansur pursued his education in Kolkata (then Calcutta), graduating from the Islamia College (now Maulana Azad College). He would pursue a M.A. degree in economics and law from the Aligarh Muslim University, the premier Islamic institution in India. During this period Mansur became an active member of the Muslim League, which under Muhammad Ali Jinnah demanded a separate Muslim state of Pakistan. A student leader, Mansur worked actively for the League throughout Bengal. He served as the vice-president of the Pabna District Muslim League from 1946 to 1950. After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Mansur settled in what became East Pakistan. He would join the Pakistan Army, receive training at Jessore Cantonment and attain the rank of army captain. Deciding to practise law, he enrolled in the Pabna District Court in 1951. He married Begum Amina the daughter of a District Judge from the area of Rangpur. They had five sons and one daughter. His eldest son Dr Mohammad Selim became an advocate from Bangladesh and studied for the BAR at Lincolns Inn, he is a prominent political figure and became Presidium member for Awami League and held the position of Chairman of Bangladesh Foreign affairs committee as well as being an MP representing his fathers constituency Kazipur in Sirajgunj. His second son Mohammad Nasim also became a leader of prominence and was MP and held ministerial posts of Telecoms and Home for Awami league government between 1996 - 2001.

Political career[edit]

Rising to public prominence, Mansur was widely known as "Capt. Mansur." He left the Muslim League to join the newly formed Awami Muslim League of A. K. Fazlul Huq and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. He would soon be elected member of the party's central executive committee and president of its Pabna District unit. Mansur was arrested by police in 1952 for helping to organise protests against the declaration of Urdu as the sole official language, in what became known as the Language Movement. Mansur and his party demanded that Bengali also receive recognition and the provinces be granted autonomy. After his release, Mansur was elected a member of the East Pakistan Legislative Assembly in 1954 as a candidate of the United Front alliance of various political parties. In the cabinet headed by Ataur Rahman Khan, Mansur served in different periods as the province's minister of law, parliamentary affairs, food, agriculture, commerce and industry. Mansur was re-arrested in the aftermath of the coup d'etat led by Ayub Khan, who became President of Pakistan and imposed martial law. He would remain incarcerated from 1958 to 1959.

Bangladeshi leader[edit]

Mansur Ali played an important role in the Six point movement led by the Awami League politician Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who demanded substantial regional autonomy and opposed the military regime. Mansur was a key party organiser in the period when Mujib was arrested by the army. In the 1970 elections, he was elected a senior member of the legislative assembly. At the outbreak of the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, Mansur went underground to organise a government in exile. Declaring the independence of Bangladesh, Mansur became the minister of finance in the Mujibnagar government. In this period, Mansur helped organise the guerrilla movement led by the Mukti Bahini and provide political leadership in the absence of Mujib, who had been arrested by Pakistani forces.

After the independence of Bangladesh, Mujib became the prime minister and appointed Mansur as the minister of communications and later home affairs. Mansur became a key political ally of Mujib and rose in importance as criticism and opposition to Mujib's regime increased. After the introduction of a one-party, presidential system in 1975, Mujib became the President of Bangladesh and assumed sweeping powers. Mansur was appointed the prime minister. He helped Mujib organise the Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League, the only legalised political party in the nation and served as its secretary-general. Mansur helped Mujib suppress political opposition, implement large-scale programmes under state socialism and organise a militia of political loyalists known as the Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini, which was held responsible for the arrests, torturing and deaths of Mujib's opponents.

Death[edit]

On August 15, 1975, Mujib was assassinated along with his family by a group of military officers. It is believed that the plot was masterminded by Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad, a disgruntled member of Mujib's regime who would become president. Mansur went into hiding immediately after the killing. When Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad invited Mujib loyalists such as Mansur Ali, Syed Nazrul Islam, A. H. M. Qamaruzzaman and Tajuddin Ahmad to join his government, the trio refused. They were arrested by the army on August 23, 1975. Refusing to support Khondaker's regime, they were murdered while incarcerated in the Dhaka Central Jail on November 3. At the time, Bangladesh was in political chaos as Khondaker's regime was overthrown by Mujib loyalist Brigadier Khaled Mosharraf, who in turn was overthrown by Lieutenant Colonel Abu Taher on November 7. Under the Indemnity Act issued by President Ziaur Rahman in 1978, the assassins were given immunity from prosecution. The murder case was finally opened in 1996 by the government of Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the daughter of Mujib. Three fugitive former army personnel were sentenced to death and 12 former army personnel were awarded life term imprisonment and five persons including four senior politicians were acquitted in the judgement of much talked about jail killing case.

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mujibur Rahman
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
1975
Succeeded by
Mashiur Rahman
Acting