Lieutenant General Abu Saleh Mohammad Nasim, Bir Bikrom is a former Chief of Army Staff of the Bangladesh Army who in 1996 attempted a military coup of the caretaker government which was preparing for general elections. He had participated in the Bangladesh Liberation War and was awarded Bir Bikrom for valor by the government in 1971. He was injured in one leg during this war. He was appointed Chief of Army Staff by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party government led by prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia in 1993. He studied at Faujdarhat Cadet College.
After failure of the coup in 1996, General Nasim was arrested, placed under house arrest, and subsequently dismissed from service. That year, the Awami League was elected to power in the government. It reverted Nasim's dismissal from the military and later provided him with an honorable discharge.
Coup in 1996[edit | edit source]
Lt. Gen. Nasim staged an abortive military coup in 1996. On 19 May 1996, Abdur Rahman Biswas, the President of Bangladesh during a caretaker government, ordered Lt. Gen. Nasim to force the retirement of two senior army officers. The President believed that they were involved in political activities with opposition parties. General Nasim refused to comply. The next day, Biswas sacked him and sent soldiers to control the state radio and television stations. On noon that day, General Nasim ordered soldiers of Bogra, Jessore and Mymensingh divisions to march towards Dhaka.
The Ninth Infantry Division's Major General Imamuzzaman, who commanded the division located closest to Dhaka, remained loyal to the President. He directed the removal of all boats and ferries from Jamuna River in Aricha port, so that Bogra and Jessore divisions could not cross the river. He sent a contingent of troops with tanks to blockade the Dhaka-Mymenshing highway. This prevented Mymensing Division Army from entering Dhaka. In the meantime, Major General Mohammad Anwar Hossain, General Officer Commanding of the 33rd Infantry Division located in Comilla, also came to the aid of the president. He mobilized a fully geared 101 Infantry Brigade, under the command of Brig. Shah Ikram (later Maj. Gen.) to Dhaka to fortify Bangabhaban, the presidential palace. The 33rd Division was deployed, using an Infantry Battalion and a company of tanks from the 7th Horse Armoured Battalion at the Dhaka-Chittagong highway, to create a blockade against the 24th Infantry Division located in Chittagong. The government broadcast announcements asking all soldiers to stay at their own cantonment. After some hours, Mymensing Division soldiers returned to their barracks. The Chittagong Division never mobilized towards Dhaka. The General Officer Commanding of the Chittagong Division realized that the military coup was highly unlikely to succeed. That night General Nasim was interviewed by the BBC and, in reference to troop movements, he said that as Army Chief ,he could move troops anytime he wanted.
General Nasim was arrested by the Brigade Commander of 14 Independent Engineers Brigade and put under house arrest in the Army Mess behind Army Central Library, Staff road, Dhaka Cantonment. Later the Awami League government, which was elected to power in 1996, granted him a formal retirement. Since then he has remained a private citizen.
Lt. Gen. Nuruddin Khan
|Chief of Army Staff, Bangladesh||Succeeded by|
Lt. Gen. Muhammad Mahbubur Rahman
[edit | edit source]
- Nurul Kabir, "When the Constitution outshot the gun", The Weekly Holiday, 31 May 2002.
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