Mujibur Rahman remains father of nation

June 22, 2009 at 7:00 AM
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DHAKA, Bangladesh, June 22 (UPI) -- A Bangladesh court ruling says it was the late Sheik Mujibur Rahman, who proclaimed the country's freedom, thus preserving his father of the nation title.

The high court ruling rejected the counter claim that it was the late Ziaur Rahman, husband of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who proclaimed Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan in 1971.

The two Rahmans are not related. Mujibur Rahman, leader of the Awami League Party, was the father of current Prime Minister Sheik Hasina.

The Bangladesh Daily Star quoted experts saying the court ruling will help end the long controversy surrounding the country's history, which began after the assassination of Ziaur Rahman in 1981, his BNP party, now headed by his wife, asserting he was the one who proclaimed independence

Bangladesh, the former eastern wing of Pakistan made up mainly of Bengali-speaking Muslims, broke away after a long and bloody rebellion against what its people felt was the Punjabi-dominated government in western Pakistan.

Since its founding with Sheik Mujibur Rahman as the first president, Bangladesh suffered through a number of military coups, beginning with the assassination of the Sheik in 1975. In recent years, the country has been ruled mostly by the Awami party of Sheik Hasina or her bitter rival Khaleda Zia's BNP party.

In its ruling, the court ordered the attorney general's office to send a copy of the judgment to the education ministry to ensure text books reflect the fact.

The BBC reported the opposition party had yet to respond to the ruling.

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