Dhaka: Bangladesh is on Monday observing the 30th anniversary of the assassination of president Ziaur Rahman, the war of independence hero whose role as the military strongman changed the course of the country.
He emerged on the political scene as the martial law administrator when a military-led coup Aug 15, 1975, led to the assassination of the country`s founding leader and president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the massacre of his family members and some cabinet ministers.
Popularly known as Zia, he was the president of Bangladesh from 1977 to 1981. He was killed in a military coup in the early hours of May 30, 1981.
He was a Pakistan Army major March 25, 1971, when authorities in erstwhile East Pakistan launched a campaign against the winners of the 1970 general election led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Mujib was taken prisoner, but before that, he gave a call for independence and separation from Pakistan.
Zia broadcast the independence declaration on a small radio transmitter and joined the movement.
His widow and former prime minister Khaleda Zia Sunday returned from a tour of the US and Britain. She is currently the leader of the opposition in Parliament.
New Age newspaper said she would distribute gifts among the poor to mark his memory.