Hussain Muhammad Ershad (Bengali: হুসেইন মুহাম্মদ এরশাদ; 1 February 1930 – 14 July 2019) was a Bangladeshi Army Chief and politician who served as the President of Bangladesh from 1983 to 1990, a time many consider to have been a military dictatorship.He seized power as head of the army during a bloodless coup against President Abdus Sattar on 24 March 1982 (by imposing martial law and suspending the Constitution). He declared himself President in 1983, and subsequently won the controversial 1986 Bangladeshi presidential election. Despite claims to have legitimately won the 1986 election, many consider his regime as an era of military dictatorship. Ershad served in the Presidential office until 1990, when he was forced to resign following a popular pro-democracy mass uprising led by Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina. Ershad founded the Jatiya Party in 1986 and became a Member of Parliament for that party in the constituency of Rangpur-3 in 1991, with successful re-election in all subsequent general elections.
During his tenure Ershad pursued devolution reforms, privatization of nationalised industries; the expansion of the national highway system; and the founding of SAARC; he committed his nation's forces as an ally to the United States in the Gulf War. He contributed to developments in infrastructure and socio-economic growth, divesting key nationalised industries. He restored the chain of command in the Bangladesh Armed Forces after the turmoil following the Mujib assassination. In 1989, Ershad pushed parliament to make Islam the state religion, in a sharp departure from Bangladesh's original secular constitution.Ershad was awarded the United Nations' Population Award in 1987 for his contributions to population and environmental issues.
Due to physical illness, Ershad was admitted to Combined Military Hospital, Dhaka on 26 June 2019. He died on 14 July at the hospital.