In a landmark judgment, a top court today ruled that Bangladesh's founding father Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman was the person who proclaimed independence from Pakistan in 1971, declaring illegal the state-published documents giving slain president Zia-ur-Rahman the credit.
The ruling will end claims for the honour by the supporters of former president Zia, the late husband of Bangladesh Nationalist Party supremo Khaleda Zia.
A High Court bench comprising judges ABM Khairul Haque and Momtazuddin ruled that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, the father of the country's current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, proclaimed the country's independence just ahead of his arrest by the Pakistani troops on March 25, 1971, as the court reviewed the events leading to the Bangladesh's Liberation War and the pre-and post war incidents.
The court also noted that Zia, an army general turned politician who was killed in an abortive army coup in 1981, had never claimed that he was the one who proclaimed independence in his lifetime.
"By reviewing national and international newspapers and other documents, the court has established the truth that it was Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman who proclaimed independence," M Inayetur Rahim, Additional Attorney General told reporters after the court pronounced the landmark verdict.