Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bangladesh, H.M.Ershad (contd-2)

Ershad played a key role during the SAARC summit in 1985 in Dhaka, which was the first summit of the SAARC, uniting all member states of the South-East Asian countries. The significant achievement was that he brought leaders of arch rivals India and Pakistan,

Rajiv Gandhi and Zia-ul-Huq (shaking hands), Ershad and his wife (standing right).
To improve rural administration, Ershad introduced the Upazila and Zila Parishad system and held the first election in 1985. In 1986, Ershad and his supporters created a Jatya Party. Ershad's regime was the longest autocratic rule in Bangladesh.There was violence, Human rights abuse and corruption during his tenure. However, he established the Ministry of land to deal with dispites about ownership and to extend ownership to landless. In encouraging privatisation, he helped meet requirements from the IMF and the WB. In oct 1983 he visited Ronald Reagon securing for continued aid. He reorganised local self-government.
During Ershad's time, the construction of Jamuna Bridge connecting the countries north and south together, was started. The Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge Authority (JMBA)was set up by an ordinance promulgated by the President on July 3, 1985, to implement the project. For mobilization of the domestic resources, another ordinance was promulgated by which a jamuna bridge surcharge and levy were introduced. A total of Tk 5.08 billion was mobilisedin the process till its abolition.H.M.Ershad stabilized the Bangladesh armed forces which was facing coups and counter coups since 1971. He sent Bangladesh soldiers to peace keeping missions for the first time.
Ershad'as 18-point programme was similar to Zia's 19-point one.
End of Ershad's rule :
By Dec 1987, The Awami league had resigned from parliament, which was thwen dissolved. In Nov, 1987 a strike shut Dhaka down and Ershad declared a state of emergengy. Both the Bnp and the Awami League boycottedthe election of March 3, 1998. The Jatya won 252 seats but the "election was meaningless " due to lack of prticipation by the main parties. Increasing movements from all parties including Jamaat-e-Islam and under presure from the senior military officers Ershad resigned on 6 Dec 1990. Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed was appointed acting President and a caretaker govt was formed.
Ershad was arrested.
Ershad faced a range of charges, acquitte on several charges and found guilty of several In july 1995, he was found guilty of ordering flood rescue craft from a Japanese company when their bid was not the lowest and sentenced to three years in prison. He was found guilty of illegally possessing and benefitingfrom state owned land and senenced to seven years, later reduced five on appeal. In 2006, he was sentenced to two more years in jail for corruption.

Construction of Jamuna bridge