Zia's yes/no referendum is a shameful chapter of killing democracy: Sajeeb Wazed


Published on May 30, 2023
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Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy has said General Ziaur Rahman's yes/no referendum is the shameful chapter of killing democracy in Bangladesh.

"General Zia, after the tragic murder of Bangabandhu's family, illegally seized state power through a ‘yes or no’ vote without any prior meetings, processions, or campaigns. In the name of so-called campaigns, the streets were filled with posters of General Zia in military uniform, forcibly displayed on rickshaws and private vehicles, creating panic," he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

On election day, Joy said, even children were forced to cast votes as there were no genuine voters in the polling stations.

Eventually, he said, it was announced that General Zia had won 99.4 percent of the votes unanimously! No one cast votes against him! "This farcical election and its aftermath remain a shameful and tainted chapter in Bengali history."

Later, General Zia formed the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) illegally, bypassing state policies, while holding positions in the army and as president, Joy mentioned.

"He participated in the so-called presidential election of 1978 from that party and declared himself the winner. In this election, various foreign media reported that Zia got 120 per cent votes in some areas," Joy said.