Bangladesh Army chief gets a year’s extension

April 7th, 2008 - 1:37 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, April 7 (IANS) Bangladesh Army Chief Gen. Moin U. Ahmed has been granted a year’s extension “in public interest” by President Iajuddin Ahmed. According to a notification of the defence ministry, the extension will take effect from June 15 and will last until June 15, 2009, The Daily Star said Monday.

Promoted four-star general earlier this year along with identical elevation of the chiefs of the Navy and the Air Force, Ahmed has been a high-profile chief perceived as backing the present caretaker government of Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed.

The army chief, however, says the armed forces are merely “assisting” and that the civilian leadership has the primary power and responsibility for running the government.

Ahmed has interacted with the military and political leaderships in the US and Britain and was in India this year when he mooted confidence building measures between the people and among the military personnel.

The military prompted cancellation of the general elections amidst political turmoil in January last year, as per Western analysts and media reports.

The country was placed under a national emergency, curbing political activity totally, as the government embarked on a drive against crime and corruption, catching over 200,000 people, including some 200 former ministers, lawmakers, officials and businessmen.

Ahmed has been actively involved in overseeing the relief work when natural disasters - floods, landslides and a cyclone - hit Bangladesh last year.

He has been supporting those who fought in the freedom movement in 1971 and lent his voice for the “war crime trials” of those who opposed it, a highly emotive issue that has currently gained momentum.

Ahmed on Sunday sought a presidential pardon for freedom fighter Rakhal Chandra Naha on the eve of his execution set for Monday.

“The army chief has taken the initiative for presidential pardon … as a gesture of honour for freedom fighters,” it was officially stated.

Naha, a resident of Comilla in southeastern Bangladesh, had been sentenced to death in 2003 over violent clashes in which his relative Dinesh Dutta died.

The army chief told a rally of farmers in Tangail that he had requested the president to pardon Naha and the president assured him of clemency, 24HoursBDNews.Com reported.

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