Vol. 5 Num 140 Tue. October 12, 2004  
Front Page

Ex-army chief Mustafiz loses his four-star general rank

The government has scrapped the four-star general's rank of former army chief Mustafizur Rahman terming the promotion 'unlawful' and said there is no such post in the organogram of the Bangladesh Army.

The Ministry of Defence on Sunday cancelled the December 2000 circular of his promotion order in line with the recommendation of a parliamentary standing committee and issued an official gazette on approval by the president.

The former army chief however said the post exists in the Bangladesh Army.

The parliamentary standing committee on defence ministry recommended cancellation of his promotion in February. After seven months, the ministry's action came against the backdrop of a controversy over Mustafiz's comments on August 21 grenade attacks.

In a recent statement, the former army chief raised question about the source of the grenades used in the grisly attacks on an Awami League rally on Bangabandhu Avenue and criticised detonation of four grenades seized from the carnage spot by army.

The government and army headquarters sharply reacted to his comments. Even the parliamentary standing committee on defence ministry asked him to join its meeting on October 9 to clarify his position. As the former army chief did not attend it, the parliamentary body recommended action against him for his remarks.

"On December 18, 2000 the then government promoted Army Chief Lieutenant General Mustafizur Rahman to the rank of a full-fledged general on the day of his retirement, although there was no such post in the organogram of the Bangladesh Army," the defence ministry said in a handout.

"To uphold the government rules and regulations, the circular containing the promotion order of Mustafizur Rahman to the rank of a full-fledged general has been scrapped as the promotion was not fair and lawful," the handout said.

Brushing aside the defence ministry's claim, Mustafiz yesterday said, "Of course the four-star general post exists in the rules of the Bangladesh Army and the organogram was prepared following the rules."

Talking to The Daily Star, the former army chief said he did not yet receive the ministry order. "After receiving the official document I will consult my lawyer to decide whether I will go for legal action against the order," he said.

If the post was not in the army rules then how MAG Osmani had been awarded the rank of a four-star general, Mustafiz questioned.

When the parliamentary body recommended scrapping his four-star general rank on February 26 this year, Mustafiz served a legal notice on speaker, army chief and the chairman and members of the parliamentary body, challenging the recommendation.

In defence of the recommendation, the parliamentary standing committee dominated by ruling BNP lawmakers observed the promotion of Mustafiz was illegal. The committee said the promotion order was issued with political motives.

Mustafiz was brought back to service on January 18, 1997, a day before the expiry of his LPR. Later, he was appointed in various important posts and finally made the army chief. After retirement he joined Awami League and contested the last general election.