Friday, October 2, 2009

Bangladesh, Independence Era (1st 25yrs) contd-1

After being President of Bangladesh, Zia had to take some measures rigidly to restore order in the country.The years of disorders had left most of Bangladesh's state institutions in disarray,with constan threats of military coups amidst strikes and protests. Assuming full control of the state, Zia banned political parties, censored the media, re-imposed martial law,and ordered the army to arrest dissidents. Martial law restored order to a large extent across the country as Zia crushed several attempted uprisings with ruthless measures, discipline was finally restored in the army.
In late Sept. 1977, a group of Japanese Red Army Terrorists hijacked an airplaneforced it to land in Dhaka. On Sep 30, while the attention of the Govt. riveted on this event, a mutiny broke out at Bogra. Although the mutiny was quickly quelled on the night of Oct 2, a second mutiny occured in Dhaka. The mutineers unsuccessfully attacked Zia's residence , captured Dhaka Radio for short time and killed a number of air force officers at Dhaka internationl airport, where they were gathered for negotiations with hijackers. The army quickly put down the rebillion, but the Govt. intelligence had failed and Zia promptly dismissed both the military and civilian intelligence chiefs. Special tribunals delt harshly with the large groups of bandits, smugglers and guerrilla bands operating across the country. The size of Bangladeshi police forces was doubled and the strength of the army increased from 50,000 to 90,000 soldiers.
When Zzia assumed the presidency after legalizing military coups and the revivsl of the multiparty system was seen again he appointed H.M.Ershad as new chief of army staff , promoting him to the rank of Lieutenant General. For his different qualities Ershad soon became Zia's closest politico-military counselor.
Domestic and Foreign policy;
Zia had taken note of the genuine problems of the country, which were,
i) Severe poverty, ii) chronic unemployment,iii) economic stringency and stagnation,iv) commitment to socialism.
Zia annonced a "19-point programme"with emphasis in self-reliance, rural development, decentralisation, and population control. H ehimself began to work hard and travelled through out the country addressing public meetings and asking every body to work hard . He focussed for agricultural and Industrial production specially in food and grains, and to integrate rural development through a variety of programms. With international lending agencies he started food-for-work programme in 1977. He promoted private sector development, export growth, and reversing of the collectivisation of farms. He launched major programms of constructing canals,power stations, dams, roads, and other public works. he established Gram Sarkar system of selfgovernmentand the "Village defence party" for security and crime prevention. He promoted primary and adult education programme. During this period , Bangladesh's economy achieved fast economic and industrial growth.
Zia took the task of reorienting Bangladesh's foreign policy to change the idea on india's dependencies and affinity with Siviet bloc he was developing close relations with US and Western Europe. He moved to harmonise ties with Saudi Arabis and Peoples Republic of ChinaZia's move towards Islamic state policies improved the nation's relation with middle-east.He proposed a regional basis cooperation organisation which was materialised in Ershad's time in 1985 namely SAARC ( South Asia Asociation for regional cooperation convened in Dhaka under the presidency of Ershad.