Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad

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Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad
খন্দকার মোশতাক আহমেদ
4th President of Bangladesh
In office
15 August 1975 – 6 November 1975
Preceded bySheikh Mujibur Rahman
Succeeded byAbu Sadat Mohammad Sayem
Personal details
Born27 February 1919[1]
Dashpara, Bengal, British India (now Comilla,Chittagong, Bangladesh)
Died5 March 1996(1996-03-05) (aged 77)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Political partyAwami League (1949–1975)
Other political
All-India Muslim League (Before 1949)
Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (1975-1996)
Alma materUniversity of Dhaka

Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad (also spelled Khandakar Mushtaq Ahmed; 27 February 1919 – 5 March 1996) was a Bangladeshi politician. He was the fourth president of Bangladesh from 15 August to 6 November 1975, after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He was involved in the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 15 August 1975. He took on the role of president immediately after the assassination, praised the assassins as "sons of the sun" and put cabinet ministers loyal to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in jail.[2][3]


Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad was born in February 27, 1919, into a Bengali Muslim family of Khondakars in the village of Dashpara in Daudkandi, Tipperah district (now Comilla District, Bangladesh). He completed his Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Dhaka and entered politics in 1942. He was one of the founder joint secretaries of the East Pakistan Awami Muslim League.[3]

Political career[edit]

Ahmad was elected a member of the East Pakistan Provincial Assembly in 1954 as a candidate of the United Front. After the central government of Pakistan dissolved the United Front, Ahmad was jailed in 1954 along with other Bengali leaders. He was released in 1955 and elected the chief whip of the United Front parliamentary party.

In 1958, with the promulgation of martial law, he was arrested by the regime of Ayub Khan.

During the 6 Point Movement, Ahmad was again jailed in 1966. Following his release, Ahmad accompanied Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (then the most senior leader of the Awami League) to the all-parties conference called by Ayub Khan in Rawalpindi in 1969.

In 1970 he was elected a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan.[3]

Government of Bangladesh in exile[edit]

At the onset of the Bangladesh War of Independence and Mujib's arrest, Ahmad and other Awami League leaders gathered in Mujibnagar, Meherpur to form the Government of Bangladesh in exile. Syed Nazrul Islam served as the acting president while Mujib was declared president, Tajuddin Ahmad was appointed prime minister and Khondakar Mostaq Ahmed was made the foreign minister.[4][5] In this capacity, Ahmad was to build international support for the cause of Bangladesh's independence. But his role as the Foreign Minister became controversial as he wanted a peaceful solution, remaining within Pakistan in line with the Six Point Charter of his leader Sheikh Mujib. He was sidelined after his maneuverings came to light, left out of a visit to the United Nations General Assembly and dismissed by Prime Minister Ahmad shortly before the end of the provisional government, when the war had already ended. He was replaced by Abdus Samad Azad. Zafrullah Chowdhury alleges that Ahmad did not act alone in this regard and that Awami League leaders were involved.[6]

After the liberation, Ahmad was appointed the Minister of Power, Irrigation and Flood Control in 1972 as part of the Second Sheikh Mujib cabinet. In 1973, he took charge of the Ministry of Commerce in the Third Sheikh Mujib cabinet. He was a member of the executive committee of Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BAKSAL) which was formed in 1975.[3]


Sheikh Mujib and all members of his family, except his two daughters, who were in West Germany at the time, were assassinated by a group of army personnel on 15 August.

Ahmad immediately took control of the government, proclaiming himself President.[7] All three services chiefs were dismissed and replaced by next in line seniors. Major General Ziaur Rahman was appointed Chief of Army Staff of the Bangladesh Army, replacing K M Shafiullah. Air Vice Marshal A. K. Khandekar was replaced by AVM M G Ghulam Tawab. Mushtaq reportedly praised the plotters who killed Sheikh Mujibur Rahman calling them Shurjo Shontan (sons of the sun).[8] Mushtaq Ahmad also ordered the imprisonment of leaders Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, A. H. M. Qamaruzzaman and Muhammad Mansur Ali. He replaced the national slogan of Joy Bangla with Bangladesh Zindabad slogan and changed the name Bangladesh Betar to 'Radio Bangladesh'. He proclaimed the Indemnity Ordinance, which granted immunity from prosecution to the assassins of Mujib.[3] Mujib's daughters Sheikh Hasina Wazed and Sheikh Rehana were barred from returning to Bangladesh from abroad. BAKSAL and pro-Mujib political groups were dissolved.

On 3 November, in what became infamously known as the "Jail Killing Day",[9] the four imprisoned leaders Tajuddin Ahmad, Syed Nazrul Islam, A. H. M. Qamaruzzaman, and Muhammad Mansur Ali, who had refused to co-operate with Mostaq,[10] were killed inside Dhaka Central Jail by a group of army officers on the instruction of President Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad.[11] However, Mushtaq Ahmad was ousted from power on 6 November following a coup on 3 November led by Brigadier Khaled Mosharraf and Colonel Shafat Jamil among others.[12]

Later life and legacy[edit]

Sculpture of Khondakar Mostaque Ahmad in Mujibnagar, Khulna

Ahmad was imprisoned by Brigadier General Khaled Mosharraf[13] and later by the Ziaur Rahman administration until 1978. Upon his release, he formed Democratic League and attempted to resuscitate his political career, but to no avail. He spent his last years in Dhaka and died on 5 March 1996.

Ahmad was named in the investigation of the murder of Sheikh Mujib launched in 1996 by his daughter Sheikh Hasina, who had just won the national elections to become Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Hasina blamed Ahmad for her father's death.[14] Due to his death, he was not charged or tried. Historians and critics[who?] assert that Ahmad was one of the key plotters of Mujib's murder. He has been criticized by Bangladeshi liberal public for legitimizing political murders by protecting Mujib's killers.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Haque, Ahmed (12 August 2014). "Khondaker Mostaque Ahmed" [Biography of Khandakar Mostak Ahmed].
  2. ^ Sheikh, Emran (15 August 2019). "Khondaker Mostaq er uthan poton" [Rise and fall of Khondoker Mostaq] (in Bengali).
  3. ^ a b c d e Khan, Saleh Athar (2012). "Ahmad, Khondakar Mostaq". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  4. ^ "PM pays homage to Bangabandhu to mark Mujibnagar Day". Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Historic Mujibnagar Day being observed". Dhaka Tribune. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  6. ^ Ahmed, Taib; Islam, Khadimul (16 December 2014). "'Mujib Bahini didn't fight liberation war'". New Age. Dhaka. Archived from the original on 11 February 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Muhammad Ali in Bangladesh: 35 Years Ago The Champ Visited A New Nation In Turmoil". International Business Times. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  8. ^ Tripathi, Salil. "Of course, we killed him ... he had to go". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  9. ^ Habib, Haroon (4 November 2006). "Hasina extends deadline". The Hindu. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  10. ^ Newton, Michael (2014). Famous Assassinations in World History: An Encyclopedia [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-61069-286-1.
  11. ^ Dasgupta, Sukharanjan (1978). Midnight Massacre in Dacca. New Delhi: Vikas. pp. 77–78. ISBN 0-7069-0692-6. Khondakar also knew that the situation was bound to be grave once Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, Kamaruzzaman and Mansur Ali were released ... Khondakar had them arrested under various pretexts shortly after Mujib's assassination, who remained in Dacca Jail. Khondakar ordered the assassination of the jailed four leaders.
  12. ^ Borders, William (6 November 1975). "President of Bangladesh Resigns, Nearly 3 Months After Coup, in Confrontation With Military Officers". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 16 August 2020 – via
  13. ^ Khaled, Mahjabeen (6 November 2015). "A matter of national interest". Dhaka Tribune (Op-ed). Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Zia involved in Mujib killing: PM". New Age. Dhaka. Archived from the original on 6 August 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2016.