Sector Commanders Forum (SCF) Chairman Maj Gen (retd) KM Safiullah yesterday said the Mujibnagar government, which was formed on April 17, 1971, was the first government of Bangladesh and was not a provisional one.
"The government conducted the war, and we were under its command. That was the real government," he told a discussion in the capital's Bangladesh National Museum.
Led by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as president and Tajuddin Ahmad as prime minister, the Mujibnagar government is also known as the government in exile.
Safiullah said many had confusions about who proclaimed independence but Ziaur Rahman, a former president, himself never claimed that he did it.
Zia in his article in the weekly Bichitra in 1974 titled "Ekti Jatir Janmo" (The birth of a nation)" wrote "Bangabandhu's speech on March 7 was the green signal for us", he added.
Architect Mobasher Hossain said Bangabandhu voiced two things in his March 7 speech -- the "struggle is for freedom and independence".
He added, "We fought for independence in 1971 against the known enemy but now the new generation is fighting for emancipation against an unknown foe, which is really tough."
Prof Abul Kalam Azad Patwari, president of SCF's Dhaka Divisional Committee, which organised the discussion marking the formation of the Mujibnagar government, Mahbub Uddin Ahmad Bir Bikram, and Justice Mamtaz Uddin Ahmad were also present.