Jatiya Party Chairman and former president HM Ershad today passed away at Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka at the age of 89, said Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR).
He breathed his last at 7:45am, ISPR Assistant Director Rashedul Alam Khan told The Daily Star.
Ershad, also the leader of the opposition in the Parliament and a five-time MP, had long been suffering from various ailments including infection in his lungs and kidneys and was admitted to CMH on June 26 and was kept at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). His condition later deteriorated and was kept on oxygen support on June 30.
His first namaz-e-janaza was held at Dhaka Cantonment Central Mosque after Zohr prayers today. And his second namaz-e-janaza will be held at South Plaza of Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad Complex at 10:00am while the third at national mosque Baitul Mukarram tomorrow after Asr prayers.
Later, Ershad’s body will be kept at the mortuary of the CMH. The body will be flown to Rangpur by a helicopter tomorrow (July 15) where his fourth janaza will be held on the Zila School Premises after Zohr prayers.
Later, the military ruler will be buried at army graveyard in Dhaka on Tuesday (July 16).
On April 24, 1982, Ershad usurped state power as the Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA) by removing the elected government of President Abdus Sattar through a bloodless coup, and three days later he installed Justice Abul Fazl Mohammad Ahsanuddin Chowdhury as the President.
Later, Ershad assumed the country’s Presidency in December 1983. Following a nationwide mass movement, Ershad was finally forced to step down on December, 6 1990.
He was arrested in 1991 and was released on bail in January 1997.
Ershad was sued in over 26 cases on different charges including corruption. Later, he was convicted in two cases and while acquitted and discharged from 20 cases during the BNP and Awami League tenures.
But two cases -- General Manzoor murder and a graft case – are still pending against him in two separate courts.
Ershad continued to take advantage of the country’s tricky alliance-based politics, and became a pivotal figure in the political scenario of Bangladesh, especially in forming coalition governments.
He was born in 1930 in Dinhata, a subdivision of Coochbehar district of present-day West Bengal in the-then British India, to Mokbul Hossain and Mazida Khatun. He was one of nine siblings. His parents migrated from Dinhata to Bangladesh (the then East Pakistan) in 1948 after the India-Pakistan partition.
Ershad married Raushan Ershad in 1956. The couple had a son together and also adopted a daughter. Raushan later went on to become the senior co-chairperson of Jatiya Party, and also a lawmaker and the leader of the opposition in the parliament.
He married again in 2000 to Bidisha, his second wife and later made her a presidium member of JP. The couple has a son. However, the marriage ended in divorce over a “political drama” in 2005.