Dhaka, Dec 10 : Former Bangladesh president Iajuddin Ahmed whose eventful tenure exposed the country to a major political turmoil that ended with the installation of an army backed interim government in 2007 has died in Bangkok.
He was 81 years old and on life support for over a month. “He (Ahmed) died at around 10.30 pm... he was under life support system since October 28 when he underwent a heart surgery,” Ahmed's son Imtiaz Ahmed Babu said in a statement from the Thai capital.
Babu said Ahmed's condition deteriorated soon after the surgery as he developed complications in his kidney.
President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina statements mourning the death of Ahmed, originally a renowned soil scientist and university professor.
Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief and ex-premier Khaleda Zia whose party elected him to presidency after the resignation of his predecessor in 2002 Professor AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury also issued a condolence message mentioning his role only as an “ideal educationist and social worker”.
Ahmed's unilateral act of declaring himself as the head of an interim government in 2006 after the BNP government quit as per constitutional obligations mired his office in controversies sparking widespread street protests and international criticism. He was widely accused of acting in favour of BNP.
His assumption as the interim government chief intensified the political unrest prompting intervention of the military.
He then reconstituted the interim administration and ran the country under emergency rules for the subsequent two years until the December 2008 elections.
Before quitting office and handing over powers to his successor Zillur Rahman in 2009, Ahmed, however, admitted that “I am a human being and as a man I am not above mistakes”.
Later in a television interview, he attributed the developments of his time to “divine will” saying “everything has happened according to Allah's will”.