Muhammed Abul Manzur

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Muhammed Abul Manzur
Born(1940-02-24)24 February 1940
Bengal, British India[note 1]
Died1 June 1981(1981-06-01) (aged 41)
Chittagong, Bangladesh
Rank08.maj gen Bd.jpg Major General
UnitCommando formation sign.jpg Para Commando Brigade
Commands held
Battles/warsBangladesh Liberation War
Awards Bir Uttom[1]
Spouse(s)Rana Yasmeen Manzur[citation needed]

Muhammed Abul Manzur BU (24 February 1940 – 1 June 1981) was a Bangladeshi military officer who commanded the Bangladesh Forces operations in Sector 8 during the Bangladesh Liberation War against Pakistan in 1971.[2] He was allegedly involved in the assassination of the then-President of Bangladesh, Ziaur Rahman.[3] The erstwhile Chief of Army Staff and alleged mastermind of Rahman's assassination, Hussein Muhammad Ershad, had put a standing shoot-to-kill order on Manzur's life—he was killed shortly after being captured at the border. About a year later, Ershad initiated a bloodless coup d'état and took over the federal government, holding power until 1990.

Manzur had been awarded the Bir Uttam by the Bangladeshi government for his actions in the Bangladesh Liberation War. At the time of his death, he was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 24th Infantry Division headquartered at Chittagong. His surviving wife and four children were given political asylum in the United States.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Manzur was born on 24 January 1940 in the Bengal region of British India.[4][note 1] Following the Partition of India into the independent states of India and Pakistan in 1947, Manzur opted for Pakistani citizenship, residing in its Eastern wing. He moved to attend school in Sargodha, Punjab, West Pakistan, and passed the Senior Cambridge and ISc examinations in 1955 and 1956, respectively.[5] Manzur earned an intermediate degree from the Sargodha Air Force Cadet College and studied at Dacca University in East Pakistan for a year. Following his graduation, Manzur joined the Pakistani military, subsequently attending the Pakistan Military Academy and the Defence Services Staff College in Canada, where he obtained his PSC in 1958[4][5] and joined the East Bengal Regiment of the Pakistan Army as a commissioned officer.[5]

After the Liberation War started, Major Manzoor was a brigade major of a Para Commando Brigade close to the Indian border.[citation needed] He escaped from West Pakistan to India with his family and a few fellow officers.[6] From there, they made their way to Bangladesh, and Manzoor joined up with fellow officers from East Bengal. He quickly became a prominent officer within the ranks and won many battles in his sector. He commanded Sector – VIII during the Liberation War from September 1971 to victory in December 1971.

In 1974–76, he was posted in New Delhi as Military Attache in the High Commission of Bangladesh to India. Known for his tenacity, keen eye for strategy, and formation of loyalty from colleagues, in 1975 he was promoted to Colonel.

Upon his return to Dhaka in 1977, he was promoted to Brigadier. In 1980, he was promoted to Major General at the age of 41. He was one of the youngest generals of a front-line force in south-east Asia's history.

Role in assassination of Ziaur Rahman[edit]

General Hussain Muhammad Ershad, Chief of Army Staff, transferred General Manzoor to a non-combatant post in Dhaka as Commandant of the Defence Services Command and Staff College.[7] Manzoor was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Chittagong, and freedom fighters placed under his command were given the highest posts.[8] Once the transfer order was sent to Manzoor, he launched a coup on the morning of 30 May, and ordered the killing of President Ziaur Rahman at Chittagong Circuit House.[8] That Sunday, 30 May, Manjoor broadcast on Bangladesh Radio from Chittagong station, saying, "Let us have a united stand to run the country and make it a real nation of the people."[citation needed] In the face of an ultimatum for surrender by the government, most of Manzoor's troops had abandoned their posts or had joined the government, which ended the rebellion. Later, government soldiers retook the radio station, and Bangladesh Radio announced a 500,000 taka reward for capture -dead or alive- of Manzoor.[9]

Although the assassination of President Ziaur Rahman was carried out in Chittagong on 30 May 1981, the military coup d'état failed. General Manzoor went on radio to speak to the nation. According to the historian Anthony Mascarenhas in his Bangladesh: A Legacy of Blood, Manzoor effectively isolated Chittagong from the rest of the country. Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Hussain Muhammad Ershad, quickly ordered to suppress any such action and issued orders to kill or capture Manzoor.[7] Manzoor surrendered without incident to the police in Fatikchari.[10] Manzoor was reported to have been killed on spot by angry soldiers on 2 June 1981.[5] Other reports say he was killed in Chittagong Cantonment by an army officer sent from Dhaka.[10] In less than a year, General Hussain Muhammad Ershad took over the country in a bloodless coup.


On 28 February 1995, Abul Mansur the elder brother of General Manzoor filed a murder case with Panchlaish Police Station 14 years after his killing.[2] Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad was made the prime accused in the case. Other accused are Maj (retired) Kazi Emdadul Haque, Lt Col (retired) Mostafa Kamaluddin Bhuiyan, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Shams, and Major General (retired) Abdul Latif.[9][11]

Family and legacy[edit]

He left behind his wife and four children.[12][13] They received political asylum in the US. He was considered a war hero as Sector 8 Commander in the Liberation War.[14]


  1. ^ a b Sources vary with regard to exactly where he was born. Franda says his birthplace was Krishnanagar in what is now West Bengal, India.[4] Banglapedia places his birth at Gopinathpur village of Comilla District, now in Kasba Upazila of Brahmanbaria District, Bangladesh.[5]


  1. ^ Bangladesh Gazette of 15 December, 1973; Ministry of Liberation War Affairs
  2. ^ a b "CID gets 2 more months for Manzur's murder investigation". The Daily Star. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Bangladesh President Killed by Leftist Rebels". Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Franda, Marcus (22 August 1981). "Bangladesh After Zia: A Retrospect and Prospect". Economic and Political Weekly. 16 (34): 1387–1394. JSTOR 4370140.
  5. ^ a b c d e Khan, Muazzam Hussain (2012). "Manzoor, Major General Muhammad Abul". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  6. ^ Lifschultz, Lawrence (1979). Bangladesh: The Unfinished Revolution. London: Zed Press. p. 79. ISBN 0-905762-07-X. [Abu Taher recounting their escape from West Pakistan to join the Bangladesh Liberation War:] Since we had to pass some daylight hours, we went to Major Manzoor's house who was stationed at Sialkot Cantonment. When Manzoor came to know of our plan of escape, he remained quiet and expressed no enthusiasm. At the insistence of his wife, he at last agreed to escape with us. In this way Major Manzoor, his family, and his Bengali batman joined us. At nightfall we drove up to the border, ... walked across the boundary and reached India.
  7. ^ a b "1981: Bangladeshi president assassinated". On This Day. BBC News. 30 May 1981. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Genesis, Maturation and Distortion of the Bangladeshi Army". Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  9. ^ a b Islam Tipu, Md Sanaul (30 May 2013). "Prosecution buying time in Manzoor murder case". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  10. ^ a b Lifschultz, Lawrence (25 February 2014). "The murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam". The Daily Star. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  11. ^ Islam, Md Sanaul (13 March 2015). "CID gets more time to probe Maj Manzoor murder case". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Docket Nos. 03-40052-ag(L), 03-40054-ag(con), 03-40056-ag(con), 03-40058-ag(con). – MANZUR v. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY – US 2nd Circuit". Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  13. ^ "Manzur v. DHS" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 October 2011.
  14. ^ "Sector Commanders Forum". Sector Commanders Forum. 14 April 2008. Archived from the original on 16 August 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ali, Tariq. Pakistan: Military Rule or People's Power?, London: Cape, 1970.