DHAKA – The army, navy and air force chiefs today pledged before a parliamentary body to discharge duties to uphold the constitution as per their oaths.“They expressed their firm determination to discharge duties under their mandate upholding the constitution at any cost,” chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on defence ministry M Idris Ali told BSS.
Ali said army chief General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, navy chief Vice Admiral Muhammad Farid Habib and air force chief Air Marshal Muhammad Enamul Bari joined the standing committee meeting as it was called to review the country’s security situation.
The development came three weeks after the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Begum Khaleda Zia
apparently sought army intervention in politics as her party waged a massive campaign to topple the government.
Speaking at a party rally in Bogra Begum Zia said army would not be “a silent spectator” and “they will play their due role in
an appropriate time if peace remained absent in the country”.
Ali, a ruling Awami League lawmaker and former bureaucrat, however, said the three chiefs were not specially invited to the
parliamentary committee meeting and they rather were present there as “concerned officials” who were required to attend it.
“The opposition leader made provocative comments defying the constitution which is unacceptable . . . the committee condemned
it and stressed the need for upholding the constitution at any situation,” he said.
Awami League earlier called as “vicious” Begum Zia’s comments with the party general secretary and local government
minister Syed Ashraful Islam saying “this is an unprecedented and undemocratic act”.
He alleged that the opposition leader was inviting army in politics as she was out to protect the 1971 war criminals who
were being tried in International Crimes Tribunals for “crimes against humanity” siding with Pakistani troops.
BNP’s acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir later tended to clarify the ex-premier’s remarks, saying she was
wrongly quoted in media reports and “BNP does not believe in military interference in politics”.
BNP was waging a campaign over electoral system demanding restoration of a caretaker government system for election
oversight as the national election was due next year but ongoing trials of several stalwarts of its crucial extreme rightwing ally
Jamaat for 1971 war crimes visibly shifted their issue.
After an initial dilemma BNP eventually put its weight to their ally calling the trial a witch-hunt as two of its own
leaders out of the 12 accused were exposed to trial on identical charges of “crimes against humanity”. (BSS)