The government appointed General Aziz Ahmed as the 16th Chief of Army Staff (Army Chief) of the country. His appointment will be effective from June 25. He will replace the current army chief Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq. Political analysts say it is a very important and sensitive appointment just six months before the parliamentary election. Long before the election, several political parties including the main opposition have been demanding the deployment of the army in the next parliamentary election. The Chief Election Commissioner recently took his position in favor of deploying troops in the next election.
Bangladesh Army was formed during the Great Liberation War of Bangladesh. Bangladesh army still symbolizes country`s sovereignty. It is one of the trusted organizations of the country. Bangladesh Army is a professional organization. But at different times, the army chiefs played the direct and indirect role in many political warp and woofs. Many army chiefs involved in politics after retirement as well.
The first army chief of the Bangladesh Army is M. A. G. Osmani. During the Great Liberation War on April 12, 1971, he was appointed as the army chief. He was the army chief till 6 April 1972. Later M.A.G. Osmani was involved in politics. The second army chief of Bangladesh was Major General Kazi Mohammed Shafiullah. On April 7, 1972, he was appointed the army chief. He was in charge till on 24 August 1975. While he was the army chief, on 15 August 1975, a group of misguided army members killed Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with his family. Many think Major General Shafiullah is a failed army chief. Some even called him `coward`. Ziaur Rahman became the army chief after Shafiullah. Ziaur Rahman became the army chief, largely by making a military coup. After becoming the army chief he entered into politics. He occupied Bangabhaban and declared himself as the president. General Zia started the chain of creating the party by the military intelligence agencies, conducted killing inside the cantonment and coup. Zia appointed Hussain Muhammad Ershad as the fourth army chief on 29 April 1978. Following the footsteps of Zia, Ershad also used the army to capture power. He formed a party with the help of intelligence agency. Ershad entered into full-fledged politics and left the post of army chief. Lieutenant General Atiqur Rahman was appointed as the new army chief on 31 August 1986. He retired on 30 August 1990. He was the first of the army chiefs of Bangladesh who remained aloof from politics. Lt. Gen. Nuruddin Khan was the army chief after General Atique. He took office on August 31, 1990. He had important role in Ershad`s fall. While he was in his post, he met the President Ershad and revealed his distrust to the president. Then Ershad`s fall was only a matter of time. After General Nuruddin, the BNP government led by Begum Zia appointed Lt General Abu Saleh Mohammad Nasim as the 7th Army Chief of the country. On August 31, 1994, he received the responsibility of the army chief. But during the caretaker government led by Justice Habibur Rahman, General Nasim got involved in the debate with the then-President Abdur Rahman Biswas. At that time, the President was the highest authority of the Armed Forces and so he dismissed the army chief. Although there was uncertainty over the election, the situation was calm after the intervention of the caretaker government. On May 20, Lt. General Muhammad Mahbubur Rahman was appointed as the new army chief. Gen. Mahbub retired on December 23, 1997. After that he joined the BNP. Now he is a BNP Standing Committee member.
While Awami League came to power after 21 years, it appointed General Mustafizur Rahman as the 9th Army Chief of the country. General Mostafiz was the army chief for three years. He went on retirement on December 23, 2000. After that, he joined the Awami League. He was with Awami League till his death. Tenth Army Chief is Lt General M Harun-Ar-Rashid. He retired during the BNP-Jamaat alliance government`s tenure on June 15, 2002. Then Lt. Gen. Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury became the army chief. During one-eleven, he became chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission. In this way, a disconnection process of military and politics was started. But after Lt General Moin U Ahmed became the army chief, the army again got involved with politics. General Moin U Ahmed played an important role to stop the January 2007 election and form a caretaker government under the leadership of Fakhruddin Ahmed. At that time, Gen. Moin became the self-proclaimed government chief. But he could not grab power like Zia or Ershad did. On 15 June 2009, he went on retirement after giving a free and fair election.
After General Moin, the country has three more army chiefs. They devoted themselves to building the army as an international standard force with professionalism. They also took army over political debate. They are, General Md Abdul Mubeen, General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, and General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq. Among them, the January 5, 2014 election was held while General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan was in position. In that election, the army passed a difficult test of professionalism. New army chief Aziz Ahmed took charge six months before the election. What will be the role of army in the election? The newly appointed army chief will lead the force to determine the decision.