|14th President of Bangladesh|
6 September 2002 – 12 February 2009
|Prime Minister||Khaleda Zia
Fakhruddin Ahmed (Acting)
|Preceded by||Muhammad Jamiruddin Sircar|
|Succeeded by||Zillur Rahman|
|Prime Minister of Bangladesh
29 October 2006 – 11 January 2007
|Preceded by||Khaleda Zia|
|Succeeded by||Fakhruddin Ahmed (Acting)|
1 February 1931|
Munshiganj, Bengal Presidency, British India
(now in Bangladesh)
|Died||10 December 2012
|Resting place||Banani Graveyard, Dhaka|
|Children||Sujan Ahmad, Adam Ahmad and Imtiaz Ahmed (Babu) (adopted)|
|Alma mater||University of Dhaka
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Iajuddin Ahmed (1 February 1931 – 10 December 2012) was the 14th President of Bangladesh, serving from 6 September 2002 until 12 February 2009. From late October 2006 to January 2007, he also served as Chief Advisor of the caretaker government. From October 2006 to early 2009, his responsibilities as President included the Defense Ministry of the caretaker government.
With a doctorate in soil science, Ahmed became a full professor at the University of Dhaka and chairman of the department. Beginning in 1991, he started accepting appointments to public positions, as chairman of the Public Service Commission (1991 to 1993) and of the University Grants Commission (1995 to 1999). In 2002 he won election as president. In 2004 he helped establish the private university, Atish Dipankar University of Science and Technology (ADUST).
Early life and education
Ahmed obtained his BSc and MS at the University of Dhaka in 1952 and 1954, respectively. He later received his MS and PhD degrees in 1958 and 1962, respectively, from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the United States.
Returning to the University of Dhaka, Ahmed joined the faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Soil Science. He moved up in the ranks until he became a full professor in the department. He held the posts at the university of chairman of the Soil Science Department of Dhaka University and dean of the Faculty of Biological Science, Dhaka University. He was also provost of Salimullah Muslim Hall.
Ahmed is credited with developing a process that preserved nutrients in soil and later released them according to the needs of the vegetation. In 1984, Professor Ahmed was a visiting professor at Cornell University in the United States and the German Technical University and University of Göttingen in Germany.
Ahmed was an adviser in the caretaker government in 1991. He was also chairman of the Public Service Commission from 1991 to 1993. He served as chairman of the University Grants Commission from 1995 to 1999.
During the 1990s Professor Ahmed was the president of the Federation of University Teachers Association in Bangladesh (FUTA). He led the anti-autocratic movement.
Ahmed became President of Bangladesh in 2002 after becoming the only candidate to register for presidential elections. By that time, the position of prime minister was considered the top political role in the Bangladesh government.
During his presidency, Ahmed directed the writing and publication of two books about the nation, Hundred Years of Bangabhaban and Bangabhabaner Shatabarsha. These were published in 2006 by Bangabhaban's press wing, under the initiative of his advisor, Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury.
Chief Advisor, 2006–2007 Caretaker Government
According to the constitution, the immediate past Chief Justice is appointed as Chief Advisor during a caretaker government. After Justice KM Hasan declined the position, reportedly because of ill health, five other men were considered for the position. The last option was for the President to take over, as provided for in the constitution. Ahmed was sworn in as the Chief Advisor of the Caretaker Government at 8.00 pm (Bangladesh standard time) on 29 October 2006 after the main political parties failed to agree on another candidate. The opposition parties resisted his appointment, because he had been elected by the majority-BNP parliament. Iajuddin Ahmed as Chief Advisor was to oversee the forthcoming elections, planned for 22 January 2007, while continuing his responsibilities as President.
Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League and her allies demanded Ahmed's resignation, but he declined. At first the Awami League and its allies announced they would boycott the planned election because of BNP influence.
The President's advisor, Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury, met repeatedly with Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia. After successful negotiation, he brought all parties to the President for dialogue. Finally they decided to participate in polls on 23 December for a 22 January 2007 election. At the last minute, Awami League and its allies withdrew from the election on 3 January, jeopardising the country's stability. The European Union and UN withdrew its election overseers, saying AL's actions made a fair election impossible.
Concerned that a one-party election would jeopardise the nation's lucrative participation in United Nations' peacekeeping mission and that the caretaker government would have difficulty resisting takeover by the BNP, the military intervened on 11 January 2007. A group including General Moeen U Ahmed, Army Chief, persuaded Iajuddin Ahmed to declare a state of emergency and resign, appointing an Interim Chief Advisor. Opponents of the military intervention were concerned about the threat to democracy, but many others were relieved to have professional technocrats leading efforts to stabilise the country and reduce corruption in the government. On 12 January, Fakruddin, formerly with the World Bank, was appointed as Chief Advisor.
Resignation as Chief Adviser
On 11 January 2007, Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed resigned from his position as Chief Advisor of the Caretaker Government, having already received the resignations of his advisors. He retained his position as President and responsibilities for the Defense Ministry in the caretaker government. He issued a statement acknowledging that the Election Commission and his government had been unable to achieve an election. He appointed the former Justice Fazlul Haque as Interim Chief Advisor and imposed a state of emergency. The next day, in consultation with the military, Ahmed appointed Fakhruddin Ahmed as the new Chief Advisor. He is a prominent banker who had been with the World Bank and Bangladesh National Bank.
Iajuddin Ahmed's term as President was due to end on 5 September 2007. The government announced at that time that he would remain in office until after the national election (planned by then to be held by late 2008). This was to elect new members of parliament, who would elect a president.
The Awami League and its Grand Alliance won two-thirds of the seats in parliament. It formed a government in 2009, headed by Sheikh Hasina as prime minister. Ahmed left office on 12 February 2009, after Zillur Rahman, an Awami League leader, was sworn in to succeed him as President of Bangladesh.
On the afternoon of 23 May 2006, President Ahmed was admitted to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka. Sources said he was seriously ill and being treated by a team of elite doctors. On their advice, President Ahmed was taken to Singapore on Wednesday, 24 May 2006. The 75-year-old president underwent a successful by-pass heart operation at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. During President Ahmed's illness and recovery, in May–July 2006, rumours were reported in the media that (1) he had died, or (2) was going to be removed.
Ahmed and his second wife, Anwara Begum, adopted a son, Imtiaz Ahmed Babu. Ahmed also has children from his first marriage: Susan and Adam. He has a total of four grandchildren: Aurora, Beryl, Adam and Arin.
Imtiaz Babu was arrested on 9 January 2012 on assault charges, for having attacked the registrar at the Atish Dipankar University of Science and Technology (ADUST), a private university founded by his father. Babu is on the trustee board of ADUST.
Illness and death
Ahmed had additional heart surgery on 28 October 2012. After developing kidney-related complications, he spent more than a month on life support before dying on 10 December 2012 at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.
Statements of mourning were issued by President Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia and former Advisor to the President Mukhles Chowdhury. Iajudiin Ahmed's body was transported to Dhaka from Bangkok on 12 December 2012.
Four namaz-e-janazas were held for him. His first was held in Bangkok on 11 December 2012, the second namaz-e-janaza at his ancestral home in Munshiganj on 13 December, the third janaza in Dhaka University Central Masjid, and the fourth and last one was at Baitul Mukarram national masjid. Ahmed was buried in Banani graveyard.
Muhammad Jamiruddin Sircar
|President of Bangladesh
|Prime Minister of Bangladesh
|Minister of Foreign Affairs
Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury
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Iajuddin Ahmed, Bangladesh's president, declared an army-backed state of emergency on January 11th and cancelled the election due on January 22nd ... The president stood down as head of the caretaker government that had been supposed to oversee the elections. He was replaced by Fakhruddin Ahmed, a former central-bank governor and World Bank official. The technocratic administration he heads has so far sent the right signals. A drive against corruption ... the state of emergency has supporters even among some liberal democrats.
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- , Sylet Surma