Khaleda Zia's tenure in 2001: Professionals lost jobs for not supporting BNP politics

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Published on September 18, 2022
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The BNP-Jamaat alliance ran havoc across the country soon after winning the 8th National Parliamentary elections on October 1, 2001. The killing, looting and rape by the terrorists of Shibir, Chhatra Dal, and Juba Dal devastated the lives of the country’s people. Even ordinary government employees faced the wrath. Particularly the freedom fighters who were in various positions of administration and police were dismissed en masse. Earlier, dictator Ziaur Rahman did the same the after illegally occupying the country from 1975 to 1981. Khaleda Zia's husband Ziaur Rahman massacred the freedom fighters working in the army, navy and air force overnight in a farce trial under the pretext of eliminating internal rebellion.

Khaleda Zia walked through the way of Ziaur Rahman. She rehabilitated the razakars, fundamentalists and extremists after forming the government for the first time in 1991. The next time when she came to power in 2001, she started politicizing the administration.

The main headline of the Prothom Alo newspaper on December 6, 2001, was the mass dismissal of freedom fighters and government employees. According to the report, after the formation of the BNP-Jamaat coalition government under the leadership of Khaleda Zia on October 10, 15 secretaries were reshuffled, causing unrest in the administration. Later, the contractual appointment of 50 people, including the secretary, additional secretary and women officers, was cancelled and sent to forced retirement. More than 100 officials of the administration cadre including 36 police officers were made Officer-in Special Duty (OSD). Nine police officers, including an additional IG, were sent on forced retirement.

Even in line with the political recommendation of BNP-Jamaat leaders, more than three hundred positions of secretary, divisional commissioner, district administrator, upazila administrator, SP-OC of police etc. were reshuffled. Those dismissed, sent on forced retirement, made OSD or removed from important places had no allegation of incompetence or corruption against them. The government also did not raise such complaints. Even hundreds of government officials, appointed as 'neutral' only a few months ago during the caretaker government, were replaced by politically biased people.

Senior officials of the administration said that all the seniors of those who have been unfairly demoted or made redundant are 1973-batch officers. Most of them participated in the Liberation War in 1971. Mass dismissals, OSDs and reshuffles of government professionals at all levels led to unrest among officials. Even professionals are busy negotiating with political persons hoping to get favours to avoid harassment. As a result, job rules and job structure collapsed. The administration system collapsed.