Steps should be taken to form commission on military officers’ killing during Zia’s regime: PM

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said measures should be taken for formation of a commission to hold trials of the killings of the military officers and soldiers during military dictator Ziaur Rahman’s rule.

“As a demand has been raised about the matter (formation of a commission), I think a step should be taken to this end,” she said.

Expressing her resentment over not raising the demand for constitution of such a commission much earlier, she said that mass awareness about the tragic incidents should be built.

The premier, however, said it was positive that people are becoming aware about the issue even though many years have passed.

The Prime Minister said this at a press conference while replying to a question about what she thinks about the demand of formation of a commission to hold trials of the killings of the armed forces officers and soldiers during military rule of Ziaur Rahman.

The press conference was convened to brief the media about the outcome of her participation in the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at her official Ganabhaban residence here.

Senior journalists and editors of the print and electronic media joined the press conference from the Ganabhaban and PMO ends.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud were present on the dais at Ganabhaban, while PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim moderated the press conference.

“Coups had been taken place one after another when military dictator Ziaur Rahman was in power. There were no statistics about how many people were hanged to death in jails at that time … now it comes to the light. I think more
will come out,” she added.

Ziaur Rahman had committed the incidents to make his power thornless, she said.

The Prime Minister said coups were happened one after another after assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975 and many officers and soldiers of the armed forces were brutally killed in those coups.

She said if you (journalists) inquire about how many people were hanged to death in the prison, then you will find hundreds of people.

As many as 2000 armed forces personnel were killed in different coups that took place in Zia’s rule, she said, adding 565 officers of the air force were killed alone in 1977.

The families of the victims even did not get their bodies as those were forcibly disappeared, she continued.

Ziaur Rahhman not only killed military officers, but also killed many leaders of the Awami League and disappeared their bodies, she said.