We all know of the activities of Major (Retd.) Hafizuddin Ahmed during the recent midnight coup attempt in BNP. Most of us, however, do not remember the activities of Major Hafizuddin during another attempted midnight coup 32 years ago. Although he now denies any involvement in the 3rd November counter coup that installed the 3 day Khaled Mosharraf led chaotic government, Major Hafiz was in fact instrumental in 3rd November counter coup.
The 3rd Nov coup started with withdrawl of Bengal regiment soldiers guarding Bangabhaban. Major Hafiz and Captain Iqbal (Later Ershad’s minister) did this job. Major Hafiz was then a brigade Major and assistant to 46 independent infantry brigade commander Col Shafaet Jamil. Being Col Shafaet Jamil’s close associate, he was one of the planners of the coup. Along with Khaled Mosharraf, Shafaet Jamil, Brig Rouf, Col Nuruzzaman and Sq leader Liakat, he was also a crucial leader of the coup. And when the events started unfolding, 4th Bengal soldiers were surrounded Bangabhaban, Major Hafiz himself planned and ordered the house arrest of the then Army chief Maj Gen Ziaur Rahman. He was commanding the soldiers and junior officers guarding house arrested Zia. As an immediate past PS of Zia, he probably didn’t have the face to go in front of Zia. Even at the standard of that time, it was a treachery to plot coup against the general you were PS to. He rather sent Capt Hafizullah. When the coup ended on the eve of 7th November, very unfortunately Khaled Mosharraf was killed by Col Taher’s soldiers. Along with Khaled, officers like Col Huda and Col Haider, who had no involvement in planning this coup, also got killed. The major players like Col Shafaet Jamil and Major Hafizuddin escaped untouched. Although Hafiz was the only officer present at 46th Brig HQ at that time, rather mobilizing loyal forces to save the lives of Khaled Mosharraf, Col Huda and Haider, who were detained at 10 Bengal regiment, he simply deserted his coup comrades and escaped to safety.
Now it was very surprising to see Maj Hafiz deny his involvement. This probably could happen as we failed to document our history and political almanac. And more outrageously, not only did he unremorsefully deny his involvement with the coup, he brought false charges against Brig Hannan Shah. When Zia was killed and Maj Gen A Monjur was still the GOC Chittagong, a war situation developed between CTG GOC and rest of the army. A war line was drawn at Shuvopur brridge. Gen Ershad, the then army chief, was ordering Gen Monjur to surrender over radio. Hannan Shah was the commandant of Bangladesh Military Academy at that time. That was absolutely an academic post. At that war situation, he re-established communication channel with CTG division and was trying to have Monzur surrender peacefully.
This recent arrogant attempt of Major Hafiz to blatantly revise the history again emphasizes the need to documenting and preserving our daily political events. This also underlines how unprepared our political parties were in transitioning to parliamentary democracy. Anybody with a potential to win a seat got party nominations. The candidate’s integrity, previous activity, values, character traits were not at all considered. For Maj Hafiz, BNP was convenient because the constituency he belongs to, Bhola 3, was traditionally a safe anti AL seat. And as he won as independent candidate in 1991 election, BNP did not think twice before admitting him in the party. And thanks to Hafizuddin’s skill in managing everything, although a newbie, he became ministers in successive BNP governments.
In the face of strong protests to his revision of history, Major Hafiz later advised the nation to forget the past. He now also mentions that whatever a young officer did 32 years ago, does not matter now. His words remind me of 1971 and the young officers’ activities on the early morning of 15th August.
Update: Maj Hafiz today claimed that it was a different Hafiz, Captain Hafizullah who went to arrest Zia. Looks like he continues his deception. As it was mentioned in the original post, Major Hafiz ordered Captain Hafizullah to arrest Zia. Captain Hafiz was under Major Hafiz’s command and Major Hafiz was one of the planners of the coup.