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Shahabuddin Ahmed
শাহাবুদ্দিন আহমেদ
Shahabuddin Ahmed.jpg
Ahmed in 2000
President of Bangladesh
In office
6 December 1990 – 10 October 1991
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia
Preceded by Hussain Muhammad Ershad
Succeeded by Abdur Rahman Biswas
In office
9 October 1996 – 14 November 2001
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Latifur Rahman (acting)
Khaleda Zia
Preceded by Abdur Rahman Biswas
Succeeded by Badruddoza Chowdhury
Chief Justice of Bangladesh
In office
14 January 1990 – 1 January 1995
Preceded by Badrul Haider Chowdhury
Succeeded by Muhammad Habibur Rahman
Personal details
Born (1930-02-01)1 February 1930
Pemal, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died 19 March 2022(2022-03-19) (aged 92)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Education MA (international relations)
Alma mater University of Dhaka

Shahabuddin Ahmed (1 February 1930 – 19 March 2022) served as the President of Bangladesh from 1996 to 2001, and the Chief Justice of Bangladesh from 1990 to 1995. He previously served as the acting president during 1990–91 when Hussain Muhammad Ershad resigned from the post. He headed a caretaker government and held a general election in February 1991.

Early life and education

Ahmed was born on 1 February 1930 in Pamal village in Kendua, Netrokona. His father Talukdar Resat Ahmed Bhuiyan was a philanthropist. After passing the matriculation and intermediate examinations he took admission into the University of Dhaka in 1948, obtained a bachelor's degree in economics in 1951 and a master's in international relations in 1952 as a resident student of Fazlul Haq Hall. He attended a special course in public administration at the University of Oxford.


Ahmed joined the Civil Service of Pakistan in 1954, completed training in the Lahore Civil Service Academy and at the University of Oxford. He was sub-divisional officer of Gopalganj and Natore. In addition he was a deputy commissioner of Faridpur. In 1960, he was transferred to the judicial branch. He worked as additional district and session judge of Dhaka and Barisal, and as district and sessions judge of Comilla and Chittagong. In 1967, he served as a registrar of the High Court of the then East Pakistan in Dhaka. He was elevated to the bench of the High Court on 20 January 1972 and acted on deputation at the Labour Appellate Tribunal for two years, 1973 and 1974.

Ahmed was appointed a judge of the appellate division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh on 7 February 1980 and was confirmed in this office on 15 April 1981. Ahmed was the chairman of the Commission of Inquiry established under the Commission of Inquiry Act on police firing on the students in mid-February 1983. He was the chairman of the National Pay Commission in 1984 and submitted a report on the basis of which upward revision of pay scale was made.

Caretaker government (1990–1991)

Ahmed was appointed the Chief Justice of Bangladesh on 14 January 1990. Following a public agitation which was led by opposition political parties bent on changing the autocratic system of government and the resignation of the government headed by the then President Hussain Muhammad Ershad, on 6 December 1990, the-then vice-president Moudud Ahmed resigned and Ahmed was appointed the new vice-president. Later that day Ershad resigned and Ahmed took over as the acting President of the country.

Ahmed was chosen by all political parties including Ershad to hold the interim government that would oversee the neutral election to parliament. He administered the oath of office to his council of advisors at Bangabhaban on 9 December 1990 and held the first meeting on 15 December 1990. After the Fifth National Parliamentary Elections held on 27 February 1991, Ahmed handed over the parliamentary ruling power to the newly elected Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. He resigned from the presidency on 9 October 1991 and the next day returned to his previous post of chief justice from which he eventually retired on 1 February 1995.

President of Bangladesh (1996–2001)

Ahmed was elected president unopposed on 23 July 1996 after having been nominated by the Awami League government and sworn in on 9 October the same year. He retired from the office on 14 November 2001. When the Awami League lost the Parliamentary Elections in 2001 he was dubbed a "betrayer" by Sheikh Hasina. He lamented "I am an angel if anything is done according to their desire, otherwise I am a devil."


Ahmed was chairman of the Bangladesh Red Cross Society, from August 1978 to April 1982 in addition to his duties as a Judge of the Supreme Court. He set up a number of rural hospitals maternity centres, in particular, the Teligati Red Cross Hospital (Netrakona) which was financed by the Swiss Red Cross. He was a member of the Bangladesh Government delegation to the 10th Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Islamic countries (OIC) held in Fez, Morocco in 1979 where the question of setting up an International Islamic Red Crescent Society was debated. On his initiative the Family Planning and Population Control was included in the main function of the Bangladesh Red Cross.

Personal life and legacy

Ahmed was married to Anowara Begum (1937 – 2018) . Together they had two sons and three daughters. In 2008, a lake in Gulshan, Dhaka was named Rastrapati Bicharpati Shahabuddin Ahmed Park after Ahmed.

In February 2022, Ahmed was taken to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) due to an aging-associated disease. He died on 19 March 2022 at the Combined Military Hospital at the age of 92.

See also

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