Shafiullah replaces AK Khandker
Maj Gen (retd) KM Safiullah Bir Uttam, a sector commander in the 1971 Liberation War, has been elected as chairman of the Sector Commanders' Forum (SCF).
A meeting of the executive council yesterday also accepted the resignation of Air Vice-Marshal (retd) AK Khandker as the SCF chairman and relieved him of all his duties, said a statement signed by the acting secretary general Haroon Habib.
Khandker is no longer a member of the forum as well, according to the statement.
The forum of 1971 war veterans made the moves after Khandker stepped down from the post on Wednesday citing his old age as the contributing factor.
Khandker, who was the deputy chief of the liberation forces during the Liberation War, is facing strident criticism from different quarters, including lawmakers, civil society members and freedom fighters, for some controversial claims he made in his recent book “1971: Bhitore Baire".
In the book, the minister of the immediate past Awami League-led government claimed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had mentioned “Joy Pakistan” at the end of his historic March 7 speech in 1971.
On September 6 this year, 21 SCF leaders in a joint statement criticised Khandker, saying the contents of his book were "misleading" and lacked objectivity.
Khandker lost the ethical right to lead a national institution like the Sector Commanders' Forum--Liberation War'1971 by depicting contradictory and misleading information in his book, said the SCF statement yesterday.
"Despite calls from the forum leaders Khandker did not feel the necessity to rectify the flaws in the information given in the book. He has already submitted his resignation letter where he did not mention anything about his book.”
The publishers and editors of the controversial book cannot avoid the responsibility of distorting the history in a planned way, added the statement.
The meeting of the executive council of the SCF was addressed, among others, by Col (retd) Shamsul Alam, Sarwar Ali, Haroon Habib, M Hamid, Md Nurul Alam, Maj Gen (retd) Shahjahan.