Moudud Ahmed

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Moudud Ahmed
Vice President of Bangladesh
In office
September 1989 – December 1990
President Hossain Muhammad Ershad
Preceded by A K M Nurul Islam
Succeeded by Shahabuddin Ahmed
7th Prime Minister of Bangladesh
In office
27 March 1988 – 12 August 1989
President Hossain Mohammad Ershad
Preceded by Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury
Succeeded by Kazi Zafar Ahmed
Personal details
Born (1940-05-24) 24 May 1940 (age 76)
Noakhali, Bengal Presidency, British India
(now in Bangladesh)
Political party Bangladesh Nationalist Party (1978–1984),(1996-present)
Other political
affiliations
Jatiya Party (1984–1996)
Alma mater University of Dhaka
Religion Islam

Moudud Ahmed (born 24 May 1940) is a Bangladeshi barrister, statesman and politician. He has held numerous high political offices in the Government of Bangladesh, including Deputy Prime Minister (1976-1978 and 1987-1988), Prime Minister of Bangladesh (1988-1989), Vice President of Bangladesh (1989-1990) and Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (2001-2006). Ahmed is a standing committee member of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).[1]

He was elected as a Member of Parliament six times from Noakhali.

Early life and career[edit]

Ahmed was born in 1940 in the Bengal Presidency during the British Raj. His father was a Sufi Islamic scholar and imam in Paribagh, Dacca. Ahmed obtained his BA and MA in Political Science from the University of Dacca.[2] He was called to the English Bar at Lincoln's Inn in London in 1966.[2]

While in the UK, Ahmed was part of a growing intellectual movement among East Pakistani students in envisioning an independent Bangladesh.[3] After returning to Dacca, he joined the legal team of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during the Agartala Conspiracy Case trial in 1968. He accompanied the Bengali delegation led by Sheikh Mujib to the Rawalpindi Round Table Conference with Field Marshal Ayub Khan in 1969.[3] Ahmed witnessed many important developments in the run up to Bangladesh's independence.[3] He joined the Provisional Government of Bangladesh in Calcutta during the 1971 Liberation War. He worked in its External Publicity Division.[2] Ahmed addressed many humanitarian rallies for Bengali genocide victims. He once stirred an entire rally in London holding up a Daily Mirror article titled Birth of a Nation and crying out "we are alive, but we are not yet free".[4]

In the post-independence years, Ahmed became a leading barrister. His clients included prominent businessmen like Aziz Mohammad Bhai. He irked the Awami League when he acted as a defense lawyer for secular opposition figures targeted by the government.

Moudud Ahmed was one of the founding members of the 33 member Committee for Civil Liberties and Legal Aid which was established to protect the opposition politicians and members of civil society who were facing the wrath of the government on 31 March 1974.[5]

He was jailed on orders from Sheikh Mujib in December 1974, but was later released.[3]

BNP and Jatiyo Party[edit]

In the late 1970s, Ahmed was courted by Lt General Ziaur Rahman, the first military dictator of Bangladesh. Between 1976 and 1978, he served as Deputy Prime Minister. In 1977, he led the Bangladeshi delegation to the United Nations General Assembly.[6] He was elected to parliament from the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in 1979. Ahmed's feud with Shah Azizur Rahman led to him being sacked by Zia.[3]

In 1985, Ahmed joined the newly formed Jatiyo Party of Lt General Hussain Muhammad Ershad. He was appointed again as Deputy Prime Minister in the cabinet and held the portfolios of the Industries Ministry and the Communications Ministry. President Ershad appointed Ahmed as Prime Minister in 1988. Serving for a year in the office of premier, he oversaw relief operations during the catastrophic 1988 Bangladesh flood. Ahmed was invited for talks with several Western leaders, including with Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street. However, Ershad replaced Ahmed with the pro-Chinese leftwinger Kazi Zafar Ahmed in 1989. Ahmed was elevated to the post of Vice President of Bangladesh in 1989. He resigned in December 1990 to make way for Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed to become acting president and lead the transition to parliamentary democracy.

After serving a stint in prison following Ershad's ousting, Ahmed was invited by Khaleda Zia to return to the BNP in 1996. He was elected to parliament while in jail in 1996. He was reelected for the fifth time in 2001. Begum Zia appointed him as Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs in 2001. He was a leading spokesman of the BNP administration between 2001 and 2006, during which he defended the Bangladeshi government's track record on combating militancy.

In 2007, the military-backed caretaker government arrested Ahmed on charges of illegal alcohol possession. But the case was dismissed at the Supreme Court in 2008. After his release from prison, Ahmed received a jubilant reception at his constituency in Noakhali. He was reelected to parliament in 2008. He was arrested again in 2013 by the Awami League government. His family told The Guardian that the country was turning into a prison under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.[4]

Ahmed joined his party in boycotting the 2014 general election.

Under the current Awami League administration, Ahmed and his brother Monzur have faced charges of illegally occupying their properties in the posh Gulshan area of Dhaka. They maintain that the case is politically motivated.[7][8]

Personal life and family[edit]

Ahmed is married to Hasna Jasimuddin Moudud, a daughter of the renowned Bengali poet Jasimuddin.[9] They have had three children, including the poet Ana Kashfiya Moudud, as well as two deceased sons.[10][11]

Ahmed is a practicing barrister in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is a fellow at Heidelberg University in Germany and Harvard University in the United States.[2] In the fall of 1997, he was the Bland Visiting Professor at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. He was also a member of the Elliott School's International Council.[12]

Publications[edit]

Ahmed is the author nine books. Publications include:

  • Shongshod-e Ja Bolechhi, University Press Limited, Dhaka, 2006, ISBN 984-05-0278-6
  • South Asia: Crisis of Development-The Case of Bangladesh, University Press Limited, Dhaka, 2003
  • Democracy and the Challenge of Development: a Study of Politics and Military Interventions in Bangladesh, University Press Limited, Dhaka, 1995
  • Bangladesh: Era of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, South Asian Institute of Heidelberg University and University Press Limited, Dhaka, 1983
  • Bangladesh: Constitutional Quest for Autonomy, South Asian Institute of Heidelberg University, 1976 and University Press Limited, Dhaka, 1979
  • Chaloman Itihas,the book to inform the next generation the history of the country particularly the history of HM Ersahd government.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Moudud hails verdict on Ershad's rule". The Daily Star. 28 August 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Moudud Ahmed". uplbooks.com. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "The long road one politician has travelled". The Daily Star. 
  4. ^ a b John Pilger. "The prison that is Bangladesh". The Guardian. 
  5. ^ Ahmed, Moudud (2015) [First published 1983]. Bangladesh, Era of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Dhaka: University Press Limited. p. 232. ISBN 978-984-506-226-8. 
  6. ^ Lentz, Harris M. (2014). Heads of States and Governments Since 1945. Routledge. pp. 72–. ISBN 978-1-134-26490-2. 
  7. ^ "Court accepts land grabbing charges against Moudud, brother". The Daily Star. 
  8. ^ "বাড়ি সংক্রান্ত মামলায় মওদুদ আহমদের বিরুদ্ধে চার্জশিট গ্রহণ". amardeshonline.com. 
  9. ^ "Palli Kabi Jasimuddin's wife passes away". bdnews24.com. 
  10. ^ "United Nations Photo". unmultimedia.org. 30 March 2006. 
  11. ^ "Moudud's son dies". The Daily Star. 
  12. ^ "Elliott School International Council". Elliott School of International Affairs. Archived from the original on 2005-05-12. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
1988–1989
Succeeded by
Kazi Zafar Ahmed
Preceded by
A K M Nurul Islam
Vice President of Bangladesh
1989–1990
Succeeded by
Shahabuddin Ahmed