Iajuddin’s Interim Govt
The then opposition Awami League had fared well with its nominees for advisers to the caretaker government led by the then president Iajuddin Ahmed, a leaked US embassy cable says.
The cable, created on November 1, 2006, by the then US ambassador in Dhaka Patricia A Butenis, also discloses that a number of advisers were appointed on nominations of AL, BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami.
“Awami League leaders greeted the appointments with caution, noting they are learned and respected people who will be judged by their actions,” the US ambassador wrote after Iajuddin appointed 10 advisers to his caretaker government.
According to the cable published by the WikiLeaks, three advisers were appointed on AL’s nominations. They were CM Shafi Sami, a former foreign secretary, Dhiraj Kumar Nath, a former secretary, and Sultana Kamal, a well-known human rights leader.
On BNP’s choosing, the then president Iajuddin Ahmed appointed two advisers — Dr Akbar Ali Khan, a former cabinet secretary who served both AL and BNP governments, and Yasmin Murshed, president of Scholastica, a reputable private school in Dhaka.
Lt Gen (retd) Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury, a former army chief, was appointed adviser on nomination of Jamaat-e-Islami, the cable said.
The cable described the four other advisers as follows:
M Azizul Haque: A former inspector general of Police during the 1996 caretaker government and stayed in that position for 17 months under the new AL government before being prematurely retired.
Mahbubul Alam: Editor of the English-language daily newspaper “The Independent”. No known party affiliation, but his newspaper is owned by a business conglomerate, BEXIMCO, which has close AL ties.
“[Mahbubul Alam] served as ambassador to Bhutan during the Ershad regime. Comes from the same district [Munshiganj] as President [Iajuddin] Ahmed, believed to have been Ahmed’s personal choice.”
Professor (Emeritus) Sufia Rahman: Widow of Syed Ishtiaq Ahmed, a former caretaker government adviser and Attorney General during Sheikh Mujib’s government.
Justice Fazlul Haque: No specific party affiliation.
Of the 10 advisers, Akbar Ali, Shafi Sami, Hasan Mashhud and Sultana Kamal resigned on December 11, 2006, seething with frustration over Iajuddin Ahmed’s frequent unilateral actions on election issues.
The rest remained in office until Iajuddin resigned as chief adviser and declared state of emergency on January 11, 2007, amid growing political turmoil.