(AFP) – Apr 6, 2008
DHAKA (AFP) — The president of emergency-ruled Bangladesh has extended the tenure of the country's influential army chief for another year on the grounds of "public interest," an official said on Sunday.
Army chief general Moeen U Ahmed's job was scheduled to end on June 15 but President Iajuddin Ahmed has given him another 12 months, presidential secretary Sirajul Islam said.
General Moeen is widely seen as key architect of events in January last year that led to the president declaring a state of emergency and appointing a military-backed government following months of political turmoil.
The interim government has embarked on a major crackdown on political corruption and has vowed to restore democracy by the end of 2008.
More than 150 top politicians including two former prime ministers have been arrested and were charged with graft as part of the emergency government's clampdown.
Moeen, who last May became the first full general in the country's history, has repeatedly said the army does not have any intention to grab power, and would go back to barracks when an elected government takes over.
But he has been increasingly visible since at public meetings.
Since winning independence from Pakistan in 1971, Bangladesh has had a history of coups and counter-coups. It was run by military dictator Hussain Mohammad Ershad from 1982 to 1990, before democracy was restored in 1991.
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