Dr. Oli Ahmad was born on 13 March 1939 in the famous ‘Kutub’ family of Chandanaish, Chittagong. His Father’s name is Late Amanat Safa & Mother’s name is Late Badrunnesa. He passed S.S.C. in 1957 from Gasbaria N G High School at Chandanaish and obtained BA degree in the year 1964 from National College, Karachi, Pakistan. His unquenchable thirst for knowledge and self-improvement is a very rare and unique feature amongst our current political leaders. Despite the time constraints and immense workload as a national leader, Oli Ahmad obtained PhD. degree from Oxford Brookes University, UK on 22 September 2003 for his thesis titled “Revolution, Military Personnel and the War of Liberation in Bangladesh”.
Participated in language moment in 1952 as a student of class six of Gasbaria N.G. High School and took active part in many processions. While studying Law he joined Pakistan Military Academy and was commissioned in the year 1965. He was posted to 4 East Bengal Regiment in 1967 and thereafter to 8 East Bengal Regiment on 24 Sept. 1970.
During the turbulent period of early 1971 Capt. Oli Ahmad along with Lt. Col. M. R. Chowdhury and Maj. Ziaur Rahman planned to revolt & took preparations in the event of Pakistan Military crackdown. On 25th March 1971, at mid night Capt. Oli Ahmad was the first officer to revolt against Pakistan occupational Army after hearing that, Pakistan Army started massacre at Dhaka. He immediately organised 8 E Bengal for fighting against them under the leadership of Major Ziaur Rahman, Second-in-Command of the battalion. Capt. Oli Ahmad was the first Quarter Master of the Regiment located at Sholoshahar, Chittagong and Maj. Ziaur Rahman was the Second-in-command.
Capt. Oli established Combined Headquarters at Fultala of Boalkhali, Chittagong on 27th March 1971 for Army, BDR, Police, Ansars and Freedom Fighters. He was given the responsibility to organize and co-ordinate the battles at greater Chittagong area. He deployed troops at Sitakunda, Chittagong University area, Chittagong port area, Chittagong Court building area, Medical College area, Chokbazar, Cox’s Bazar and Kalurghat Radio Station area under the leadership of various officers and on instructions from Major Zia. Infact they started the War of Liberation in Bangladesh and laid the foundation of today’s modern Armed Forces. He inspired Ziaur Rahman to declare Independence of Bangladesh from Kalurghat Radio Station on 27th March 1971.
Subsequently in the ensuing period, Capt. Oli was appointed Sub-Sector Commander of Chittagong area in the month of April 1971. He was given the responsibility to fight and defend the area from Feni River to Karerhat of Chittagong and was the first sub-sector commander of liberation forces. He fought gallantly in the famous battles of Kalurghat, Mirsarai, Mastannagar, Karerhat, Tolatali, Haku, Chikanchara under Chittagong District, Ramgar under Khagrachari District and Belunia under Noakhali District.
In recognition of his bravery, he was conferred with the gallantry award “Bir Bikram” in the month of September 1971. He was the first officer to be awarded “Bir Bikram” during the liberation war. In July 1971, he was appointed first Brigade Major of the famous ‘Z-Force. The first and only Bangladeshi officer appointed as Brigade Major during the war.
He was promoted to the rank of Major in October 1972. He served as the Second-in-Command of 19 East Bengal, 9 East Bengal, 10 East Bengal and 6 East Bengal Regiment. For his outstanding service record, late President Ziaur Rahman, BU, Psc and Lt. Gen. Mir Showkat Ali, BU, Psc graded Maj. Oli Ahmad on his Annual Confidential Report as an “outstanding” officer several times and many a times in the following manner. “This officer will be an asset to Bangladesh Army”.
He was promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel in September 1975. He commanded and raised 24 East Bengal Regiment at Saidpur. Thereafter he was posted to Army Head Quarters as a General Staff Officer-1 (Operation). His subsequent postings were to the Office of the Chief of Army Staff and DCMLA and later to the Office of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, CMLA and President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in January 1980. He played an important role for controlling nineteen coup-de-tats that took place during the period from 1975 to 1977 and made great contribution in restoring peace and stability in the country. A long associate and as a trusted friend of President Ziaur Rahman, he organized a political party by remaining behind the scene while serving at President’s House. Later on the party was renamed as BNP on his advice. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in January 1980.
Dr. Oli Ahmad resigned from service in January 1980 to start his political career. He worked hard to organise BNP throughout the country and was one of the founders of the party, although formally he joined Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in the month of February 1980. At the beginning of his political career, Dr. Oli Ahmad was appointed as State Minister in charge of Ministry of Youth Development in February 1982 where he continued till Martial Law was imposed by Lt. Gen. H. M. Ershad.
Most of the senior leaders of BNP joined military dictator Lt. Gen. H. M. Ershad in 1982 after Martial Law. But Dr. Oli Ahmad could not be purchased or coerced into submission. He was the most trusted friend of Begum Zia and Zia’s family. He maintained his principle throughout his political career and was imprisoned twice for political protest during the autocratic rule of Ershad. Third time he was imprisoned from 16th May to 28th May 2012 by Awami League for political protest.
Dr. Oli was elected as a Member of Parliament for the first time in March 1980, second time on 27 February 1991, third time on 15 February 1996, fourth time on 12 June 1996, fifth time on 01 October 2001 and sixth time on 29 December 2008.
Dr. Oli Ahmad consistently upholds his moral stance through out his political career. He never surrenders before any pressure or to any body’s unfair demands. He helped Begum Khaleda Zia to gain control of BNP after the death of President Ziaur Rahman on 30th May 1981. During nine years long struggle against the autocratic ruler General H. M. Earshad, Dr. Oli’s hard work and sincerity helped him to establish himself as one of the leading political figures in BNP. Dr. Oli Ahmad was inducted into the Standing Committee in 1984, highest policy-making body of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). He also played a very important role to reorganise BNP and maintain unity among the rank and file (especially after the desertion of most of the senior leaders of the party) which paved the way for BNP to win Parliamentary Election in 1991.
Dr. Oli Ahmad was appointed as Cabinet Minister on 20 March 1991 and given the port folio of the Ministry of Communications and held the same port folio till March 1996. He brought new reforms in Bangladesh Railway, BRTC, BRTA and road construction. Some of the organisations were on the verge of financial bankruptcy (with tremendous pressure and objections from international donor agencies about the performance of the Ministry of Communication). However, at the end of his tenure these organisations were not only made profitable and efficient but also their services expanded. As an administrator, Dr. Oli Ahmad has always displayed visionary and pragmatic ideas. As the Minister for Communications he performed excellently. Infact, he laid the foundation of modern road network and constructed many big bridges through out the country including construction work of Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge which was started and 60% work completed during his tenure).
He was sworn in and given the port folio of the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Food and Ministry of Water Development Resources in the new cabinet formed in the last week of February 1996. But it was changed on the next day and was appointed as Minister for Energy, Gas and Mineral Resources where he continued till the resignation of BNP government on 30 March 1996. During this short period he improved the performance of Power Development Board and increased their production capacity by 130 MW.
He was the chief coordinator of relief, rehabilitation and disaster management for greater Chittagong and Chittagong Hill-tracts immediately after the devastating cyclone and tidal waves of 29 April 1991. First ten days were the most crucial period for rehabilitation and bringing normalcy in the affected coastal areas and Chittagong town. On the night of 30th April he physically guarded Chittagong port & railway stores till the arrival of army and police contingent with his security guards. Despite the fact that all communication networks, public services and amenities were disrupted, with no food supply and drinking water readily available. Approximately One Hundred Fifty Thousand people died. The total population affected was approximately fifty Lakhs and half of them were homeless. None was available even to bury the dead bodies. He deployed Ansars and village defense party for the burial. He worked day & night to restore normal life along with all Govt. and semi-Govt. officials posted at Chittagong. He involved all M.P.’s, Chairman’s, other elected representatives and eloquent people of the society for distribution of relief and rehabilitation among the affected people. He controlled the situation and brought almost normalcy within 7 days. Thereafter a few Ministers and officials were sent from Dhaka to help in the distribution of relief materials in different Upazilas and Thanas. His works were greatly appreciated at home and abroad. Foreign help came only after restoring normalcy in the affected areas.
As Minster for Communication, Dr. Ahmad led the Bangladeshi delegation to attend The XIX World Congress held in Marrakesh, Morocco in September 1991. Bangladesh was one of the six countries to address the plenary session, where Dr. Oli Ahmad in his keynote speech highlighted the ambitious programme undertaken by the Government of Bangladesh for the construction of roads & improvement in road transport sector with particular emphasis on construction of highways and related infrastructure. Belgium, France and U.S.A. were among the other countries which participated in the plenary session.
Dr. Oli Ahmad visited Turkey on an invitation from his Turkish counterpart during April- May 1992, where he intensively visited various important installations including those of railway and transportation sector. During the visit he also had a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey.
As Communication Minister, he participated in a conference held in Bangkok on ‘Transport and Communications Decade for Asia and the Pacific’ during June 3 – 5, 1992. Ministers from different Asian Countries responsible for transport and communications attended the conference. It was sponsored by ESCAP and Dr. Ahmad was elected as Chairman of Plenary Session. Dr. Oli Ahmad visited Mexico from 21 Nov. – 3 Dec. 1992. He was invited by the Mexican government to attend an international seminar on “25 years of Road Developments: Prospects and Problems”, where he addressed the inaugural session as the Guest of Honour.
On an invitation from the Honorable Minister of Communication of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Oli Ahmad visited Saudi Arabia from 11 to 16 November 1993. During the visit he met the Chief of Saudi Fund for Development in Riyadh, the Minister of Finance and the President of Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah. He arranged 25 Million Saudi Rial as grant for the rehabilitation of Bangladesh Railways.
Dr. Oli Ahmad visited Myanmar in 1993 as special envoy of the Prime Minister. During the visit he held meetings with the President of Myanmar who is also the Chairman of State Law and Order Restoration Council. He also met the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Trade, Minister of Development of Border areas & National Races, Minister of National Planning and Economic Development and Minister of Home Affairs. This visit resolved the outstanding problems regarding return of Rohinga refugees and paved the way for better understanding between the two neighbours. This visit also ensured the stationing of UNHCR at Myanmar, which was not accepted by them earlier.
On an invitation from Chinese Railway Minister Dr. Oli Ahmad visited China from 28 October to 5th November 1993. During the visit he met the Vice Premier, Minister for Communications and Minister for Railways and resolved many outstanding issues with China.
Dr. Oli Ahmad visited the Republic of Korea in April 1994 and gulf-country Qatar in September 1994. On an invitation from the Iranian Minister for Roads and Transportation, he visited Iran from 7 to 13 June 1995. During the visit he met the President of Iran and Speaker of the Iranian Parliament (Majlish). He visited various important installations including those of railway and transportation sector.
Dr. Oli Ahmad visited India from 2 to 9 May 1993 on an invitation from his Indian counterpart. During the visit he held meetings with the Prime Minister, Railway Minister, Foreign Minister, Home Minister, Commerce Minister and Water Resource Minister of India. He also visited different important installations of Indian Railway. He held separate meetings with the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Tripura and Governor of Rajasthan and Tripura. He was given the responsibility to resolve Chakma refugee and Armed Cadre “Shanti Bahini Problem”. He explained them the position of Bangladesh government regarding Chakma rebels of Chittagong hill tracts and sought the cooperation of Indian Government for the repatriation of Chakma refugees staying at Tripura.
Dr. Oli Ahmad, Bir Bikram was given the responsibility to resolve the problem of Shanti Bahini, bring them back from India and restore peace in three hill districts in 1993. Shanti Bahini declared unilateral peace immediately after Dr. Oli took the responsibility.
Dr. Oli Ahmad started visiting nooks and corners of Chittagong Hill Tract along with other members of the committee, exchanged views with people of different strata of life, members of Shanti Bahini, convincing the latter to give up arms and lead a peaceful life.
He also sought the opinion of Army Commander deployed in the area including GOC of Chittagong Zone. He visited Tripura (India) from 31st January to 2nd February 1995 in connection with repatriation of Chakma refugees and met the Governor of Tripura. He visited different refugee camps and convinced them to return to their homeland. He concluded a successful unwritten agreement with the Government of India and arranged the repatriation of Chakma refugees. About 10 thousand Chakma refugees came back to Chittagong Hill Tract. He laid the foundation for repatriation and brought peace for the people of Hill Tract. The process was completed during the rule of Awami League in the year 1996 through a new controversial agreement with Shanti Bahini leaders. Whereas Dr. Oli did not made any agreement with Santi Bahini.
Dr. Oli Ahmad visited Malaysia from 2-4 May 1995 on an invitation from Chairman, Organizing Committee of the South-East Asian Conference on “Infrastructure for the 21st Century: New perspective and exciting opportunities”. He presented a paper on “Opportunities for Investment in Infrastructure in Bangladesh”. It was highly appreciated by the audience. Dr. Oli Ahmad visited Canada from 2-9 September 1995 to attend ‘The 20th World Road Congress’ held in Montreal.
Dr. Oli Ahmad also visited Saudi Arabia on 11-14 September 1995 to attend 25th Founding Ceremony of the OIC held in Jeddah. He addressed the gathering on behalf of Asian countries.
He also led a delegation on 3rd Asian women
Parliamentarians and Ministers Conference held at Sri Lanka on 2nd &
3rd August 2005 and was selected for chairing a session.
Dr. Oli Ahmad attended a conference on “Global Terrorism and its Remedies” held in June 2006 at New York City of USA. The conference was jointly organized by Homeland Security of USA & Bangladeshi Nationals. Besides Dr. Oli Ahmad many Senators, Congressman & Chairman; Homeland Security participated in the conference.
He attended 55th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference held in Arusha, Tanzania from 1st October to 6th October 2009 as a representative of Bangladesh Parliament. He participated in a discussion held on “Climate Change” and made important contribution which was appreciated by all participants.
He played an important role in bringing public awareness and accountability against corruption, extortion, use of illegal weapons and extremism of some of the Ministers, MP’s and some political big wigs of his own party BNP and other political parties from 2001 to 2006. Subsequently he resigned from BNP in protest against corruption, extortion, armed hooliganism and extremism. Since 1991 he worked relentlessly for bringing reforms in the political system, accountability in the governing system and society. Throughout his career he retained an untarnished record of honesty and integrity. He formed a new political party on 26th October 2006 with an ambition and dream to establish corruption, extortion, armed hooliganism and extremism free Bangladesh. Where democracy will take root, people will get their due share and proper justice.
As a member of the Presidential entourage, Minister and MP, Dr. Oli Ahmad visited numerous countries. These include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, City of Vatican, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Netherlands, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Rumania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Taiwan and Tanzania.
Oli Ahmad was bestowed with the rare honour of being included in “Statesmen’s WHO’s WHO” in 1992 for his outstanding leadership quality, which is till date a unique feature for the politicians of the country. Dr. Ahmad’s name also appears in Asia Pacific WHO’S WHO published in 2009-Vol. IX from New Delhi, India for his outstanding leadership quality.
He served as President/Convenor and member of twenty nine Cabinet & Parliamentary Standing Committees (comprised of Ministers & MPs only). Associated with 25 organizations, associations and professional societies, established 19 educational and welfare institutions and recieved 13 awards for his gallant services.
Dr. Oli Ahmad was conferred with the following awards in recognition of his gallant services, social work and contribution in education sector:
- Campaign Star -1965
- War Medal -1965
- Tamga-e-Jang- 1965
- Bir Bikram -1971
- Liberation Star- 1971
- Victory Medal-1971
- Constitution Medal -1971
- Order of the National Flag 3rd Grade -1978 (Awarded by North Korea)
- Zia Gold Medal 1992 – as Greatest Freedom Fighter by JASAS
- JASAS Independence Gold Medal 2003 (by JASAS)
- JASAS Independence Gold Medal 2005 (by JASAS)
- Moulana Mohammad Moniruzzaman Islamabadi research Institute Gold Medal 2002- for social work and contribution in education sector
- Chittagong Association Medal 2002- for outstanding contribution in the development of Chittagong Association
- Zia Gold Medal – 2011
Dr. Oli Ahmad, Bir Bikram was associated with several Cabinets, parliamentary, and other Committees in different capacities, Such as:
- Member, Public Accounts Committee 1980-1982.
- Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Youth Development 1982.
- Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Communications 1991-96.
- Convener, Cabinet Committee on Evaluation and Implementation of Cabinet Decisions 1991-96.
- Member, Cabinet Committee on Nationally Important and Emergent Matters 1991-96.
- Member Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase 1991-96.
- Member, Cabinet Committee on Rules of Business 1991-96.
- Member, Cabinet Committee on Senior Appointment and Promotions 1991-96.
- Member, Cabinet Committee on Economic and Financial Matters 1991-96.
- Member, National Implementation Committee on Administrative Re-organization 1991-96.
- Member, Cabinet Committee on Hill Tracts Affairs 1991-96.
- Member, National Committee on Irrigation and Flood control 1991-96.
- Member, Cabinet Sub-Committee on Pay and Allowances of the Armed Forces 1991-96.
- Member National Training Council 1991-96.
- Member, National Tourism Council 1991-96.
- Member, National Council on Energy and Mineral Resources 1991-96.
- Member, Sub-Committee for Implementation of the Decisions of the 7th SAARC Summit 1991-96
- Convener, NICAR Sub-Committee on Thana and Union Delimitation 1991-96.
- Member, National Population Council 1991-96.
- Convener, Council Committee on Administrative Re-organization 1991-96.
- Convener, Committee on Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs 1991-96.
- Co-Chairman, National Committee on Gold Cup Football Tournament 1991-96.
- Alternative President of SAAF Games 1991-96.
- Vice-Chairman, Freedom Fighters Welfare Trust 1991-96.
- Member, Parliamentary Business Advisory Committee- 2001-2006.
- President of Bangladesh Football Federation (1992-93).
- Member, National Standing Committee of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (Highest policy making forum of the party) 1984-2006
- Member, Children’s Rights InterGroup (Caucus) (organized by the Members of Parliament from all over the world)- 2000 – to date.
- Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee, Ministry of Planning- February, 2009-2011.
- Member, Parliamentary Standing Committee, Ministry of Civil Aviation & Tourism- 2011-2013.
Dr. Oli Ahmad Bir Bikram was associated with the following Organizations, Associations and Professional Societies in different capacity, Such as:
- President of Liberal Democratic Party- 2007- to date
- Chief Advisor, The Daily Janopad- 1994.
- Chairman, Daily Eishan Publication Group (A Daily News Paper)- 1997-98
- Chief Patron of Quasem-Mahabub High School, Chandanaish Chittagong- 1991.
- Honorary Patron, Institute of Applied Health Science ( Pvt. Medical College), Chittagong- 1991.
- Chief Patron, Bangladesh Anjumane- E- Ittehadul Muslemeen, Dhaka- 1992.
- Life Member of Kidney Foundation, Chittagong- 1991.
- Life-Member of Chittagong Samity at Dhaka, From 1984
- Vice President, Trustee Board of the Chittagong Samity- 1984-86.
- Founder Member of the University of Science and Technology Chittagong (USTC)- 1991.
- Life Member of Retired Armed-Forces Officers’ Welfare Associations (RAOWA) -1984- to date
- Life Member of MP Club 1981- to date
- Honorary Member of the Dhaka Club Dhaka,1992-96
- Life member of Kurmitola Golf Club, Dhaka- from 1992
- Life member of Army Golf Club, Dhaka- from July 2009
- Life Member of Cox’s Bazaar Press Club- from 1993
- Chief Patron of Chandanaish Press Club- from 1991
- Life Member of Chittagong Press Club- from 2006
- Life Member of Chattagram Samity, UK. – from 1993
- Chief Adviser of Chandanaish Samity at Dhaka- From December 2009
- Life Member of Chandanaish Samity at Dhaka- From 2009
- Life Member of Chandanaish Samity at Chittagong- From 2007
- Chairman, Society for Assistance to Hearing Impaired Children (SAHIC)- 2006-2008.
- Life Member, Society for Assistance to Hearing Impaired Children (SAHIC)- From 2006.
- Chief Patron, Social Welfare Organisation Co-ordination for Chittagong District 2008- to date
- Oli Ahmad Bir Bikram College Satbaria, Chandanaish, Chittagong
- Colonel Oli Ahmad Bir Bikram Degree College, Bazalia, Satkania, Chittagong
- Amanatsafa- Badrunnessa Girls’ Degree College, Chandanaish , Chittagong
- Oli Ahmad High School, Barkal, Chittagong
- Mumtaz Begum Kindergarten School, Chandanaish, Chittagong
- Mumtaz Begum Girls High School, Chandanaish, Chittagong.
- Dohazari-Jamijuri Girls High School, Chittagong.
- Charamba Oli Ahmad Bir Bikram High School, Lohagara Upazilla, Chittagong
- Jonar Keochia Adarsha High School, Satkania, Chittagong
- Keochia High School, Satkania, Chittagong
- Jafrabad High School, Chandanaish, Chittagong
- Col. Oli Ahmad, Bir Bikram Stadium, Lohagara, Chittagong.
- Oli Ahmad Bir Bikram Orphanage, Hashimpur, Chandanaish, Chittagong
- Oli Ahmad Bir Bikram Orphanage, Barkal, Chandanaish, Chittagong
- Oli Ahmad People’s Welfare Trust, Chittagong.
- Old People’s Home & Orphanage, Chandanaish, Chittagong.
- Dr. Oli Ahmad Bir Bikram High School, Muhori Para, Dharmapur, Satkania, Chittagong
- Dohazari-Jamijuri Technical College, Chandanaish, Chittagong.
- Colonel Oli Ahmad Bir Bikram Technical College, Bazalia, Satkania, Chittagong
- Gasbaria Government College, Chandanaish, Chittagong
- Cox’s Bazar Government College.
- Bandarban Government College.
- Patiya Government College, Chittagong
- Boalkhali Kanungopara Sir Ashutush Government College,Chittagong
- Chittagong Government Mohsin College.
- Chittagong Government City College.
- Chittagong Government Women College.
- “My Struggle, My Politics” on 1 September 2001;
- “Revolution, Military Personnel and the War of Liberation in Bangladesh”- 2003; – Published from Germany
- “My Ideal”; (AMAR ADARSHA) on March 2004;
- “My Politics” (AMAR RAJNITI)- 2007.
- “Rastrabiplab, Shamarik Bahinir Shadashabrinda Abong Bangladesher Muktijodda”- on February 2008
- “Ja Dekhechi Ja Bolechi Ja Hoyeche” on April 2008
- Battles That I Fought and Interviews of Liberation War Heroes on November 2009; – Published from Germany
- “Ashoni Sangket- Din Bodal Na Hat Badal” (Foreboding of a thunder-crash, – Change of Day or Change of Hand)- 2013.
- “My mission for Bangladesh- Problems And Solution”- 2013.