Mushtaq’s government and the Sena Parishad

Since the formation of the new government the Sena Parishad was trying to implement its program in the most trying situation.

Although the people by and large had spontaneously supported the change the defeated and the anti national forces could not accept this defeat so easily. In view of the popular sentiment of the people in favor of this nationalist change the defeated forces could not dare to oppose the change publicly. And thus resorted to hidden conspiracies in connivance with their foreign mentors to reverse the process of the change to take back the country once again to pre’75 period. Such conspiratorial activities had started right from 15th August. We had to remain alert at all time.

We were making every effort to constitute the National Government as soon as possible and to hold the national elections at the shortest possible time so that nationalist spirit could take roots in the political sphere of Bangladesh. Simultaneously steps were taken to merge the Rakkhi Bahini with the army and to reorganize the army itself to consolidate the nationalist forces to strengthen the post’ 75 process. The leaders’ of the Sena Parishad assigned this responsibility to the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff Maj. Gen. Ziaur Rahman and Gen. Osmani the Defense Advisor to Khandakar Mushtaq Ahmed’s government. Their main responsibility was to restructure the neglected armed forces. The reorganization of the defense forces particularly the army at that point of time was a very complicated and a difficult task. The Rakkhi Bahini members had to be co-opted in the army after careful scrutiny.

Pro BKSAL and the ambitious elements had to be thrown out from the defense services. Some of the units had to be reorganized. The command structure needed change. The ordinary soldiers and the officers were to be briefed about the uprising and its objectives. Their conscience needed to be sharpened. Maj. Gen. Ziaur Rahman was getting full support and cooperation from the members of the Sena Parishad units in different cantonments. Initiative had to be taken to reinstate all those army officers who were unjustly retired by the erstwhile AWAMI-BKSAL regime. He embarked on implementing all these tasks through normal process. Parallaly we resumed our discussion with different patriotic and nationalist political parties, groups and individuals on the questions of National Government, future democratic political process, elections and the broad frame work of the national politics. This exercise was equally arduous and mind-boggling. Most of the political parties were considering their own interest first. Party interest was given precedence over the national interest. Even Khandakar Mushtaq Ahmed initially had opposed the formation of the National Government. He wanted to continue with his interim government till the next elections. But on our insistence he finally conceded to form the National Government. The decision to form the interim government with the members of BKSAL, which once killed the democracy, was just to prove the point that majority of the Awami leaguers were even anti BKSAL. Once that was proven then the decision was to dissolve the interim government in favor of the National Government.

JSD and a few other political parties wanted us to take over power and implement their party program. But our replies were stern. We firmly rejected any idea of the armed forces getting directly involved in the national politics. Either a National Government or a non-party government will be formed and its responsibility would be to implement the program of the Sena Parishad not the program of any political party. The government necessarily had to be a neutral government and its primary task would be to hold free and fair elections at the earliest.