Hussain Muhammad Ershad Hussain Muhammad Ershad [Lieutenant General] (Bengali: হুসেইন মুহাম্মদ এরশাদ Hussein Muhammad Ershad) born in Rangpur on February 1, 1930 is a Bangladeshi politician who was President of Bangladesh from 1983 to 1990. Previously, he was Chief of Staff of the Bangladesh Army and then Chief Martial Law Administrator in 1982.
Early life and Education: Hussain Muhammad Ershad was born in Rangpur in 1930. His parents migrated from Dinhata subdivision of Coochbehar district of West Bengal, India. He graduated from the University of Dhaka in 1950 and was commissioned into the Pakistan Army in 1952.
During the Bangladesh Liberation War, he was interned along with other Bengali officers stationed in West Pakistan as a Prisoner of War at the outbreak of the 1971 Liberation War and repatriated to Bangladesh in 1973 in accordance with the Simla Agreement between India's Indira Gandhi and Pakistan's Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto. He arrived back to his homeland - the new state of Bangladesh in 1973, and was appointed Adjutant General of the Bangladesh Army by Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Ershad remained loyal to Ziaur Rahman, Major General Zia had been appointed Army Chief by President of Bangladesh Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad after the Assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country's founding leader, on 15 August 1975. When Ziaur Rahman assumed the presidency after legalizing military coups and the revival of the multiparty system through the Fifth Amendment of the Bangladesh Constitution he appointed HM Ershad as the new Chief of Army Staff, promoting him to the rank of Lieutenant General.
Coup and Politics After the assassination of Ziaur Rahman on 30 May 1981, Ershad remained loyal to the government and ordered the army to suppress the coup attempt of Zia's associates led by Major General Abul Manzoor. Ershad came to power in a bloodless coup on 24 March 1982 and proclaimed himself Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA), President Justice Sattar was replaced. He took over as president on 11 December 1983 by replacing A. F. M. Ahsanuddin Chowdhury. As president, Ershad included amendments into the constitution of Bangladesh which declared Islam the state religion, abandoning state secularism.
Ershad stabilized the Bangladesh Armed Forces which was facing a series of Coups and counter Coups ever since its emergence as a nation in 1971. He established a political party "Jatiya Party" in January 1986. During Ershad's tenure as President of Bangladesh elected in 1986, the Bangladesh Army started its participation in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in 1988 for the very first time.
He was the first leader in history to sign a death sentence for throwing acid on women. In the early eighties he himself signed the death sentence of three people who had thrown acid at girls refusing their advances and ordered their public hanging. This led to a dramatic lowering of throwing acid on girls. He also issued death sentence ruling for any one who would mutilate children for begging. A wide umbrella of political parties united against Ershad. Zia's widow Khaleda Zia now led the BNP, which allied itself with the Awami League, led by Mujib's daughter Sheikh Hasina; Awami League stopped its support to Ershad and resigned from the Parliament in 1987. The leftist parties and groups remained keen to keep other parties on the track towards the ousting of Ershad's regime. Under pressure, Ershad dissolved the parliament on 7 December 1987 but the fresh elections were again boycotted by the opposition. An intensifying opposition campaign launched by the students ultimately forced Ershad to step down on 6 December 1990.