• Friday, Sep 17, 2021
  • Last Update : 02:49 am

For Ashraf, love pours in

  • Published at 12:57 am January 6th, 2019
web-syed ashraf coffin baily road 2 dhar
Mourners pay their respects to veteran lawmaker Syed Ashraful Islam after his body is brought to his Baily Road residence on Saturday; January 5, 2019 Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

A Biman Bangladesh flight carrying his body reached the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 6pm and a team led by party’s General Secretary Obaidul Quader received the body

People from across all walks of life poured in to fill the streets surrounding the Bailey Road Minister’s Apartments last evening, after the remains of veteran Awami League leader Syed Ashraful Islam was brought in from the airport.

The body of the former minister was taken to his residence at about 7pm.

The body of Awami League Presidium member and a former Public Administration Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, who passed away at a hospital in Thailand on Thursday, was flown back home on Saturday evening.

A Biman Bangladesh flight carrying his body reached the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 6pm and a team led by party’s General Secretary Obaidul Quader received the body.

The team included several cabinet ministers including Tofail Ahmed, Amir Hossain Amu, Matia Chowdhury, Mohammad Nasim, Shahjahan Khan and a number of top Awami League leaders. 

Later he was taken to his Baily road home.

He was kept at his residence for one-and-a-half hours, in which time top Awami League leaders, and people from all quarters paid respect to him. Hundreds lined up to put a message in a comment book kept at the house.

The body was later taken to the mortuary of Combined Military Hospital around 9pm.

Suffering from stage four lung cancer, the former Awami League general secretary had been undergoing treatment at a Thailand hospital for the past few months.

Despite his illness, Awami League fielded his name as its candidate from his home ground, Kishoreganj 1, where he had been the lawmaker for 22 years.

Syed Ashraf was the eldest son of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s close associate and national leader Syed Nazrul Islam, who served as the acting president of Bangladesh during the 1971 Liberation War.

Mourners pay their respects to veteran lawmaker Syed Ashraful Islam after his body is brought to his Baily Road residence on Saturday; January 5, 2019 | Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

President Md Abdul Hamid, Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, Speaker of the parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and other members of the previous Cabinet have expressed deep shock over his death.

Syed Ashraf had steered the Awami League when it plunged into a crisis in 2007 during the regime of the military-controlled caretaker government.

He was elected MP from Kishoreganj 1 constituency five times - 1996, 2001, 2008, 2014 and 2018.

Later in 2009, he was made the general secretary of the party. After he served in that position in two consecutive terms, Sheikh Hasina made him a Presidium member of the party.

Syed Ashraf’s wife Sheila Islam died of cancer at a London hospital on October 22 last year. Ashraf’s health had been on the decline since then.

He was made LGRD and Cooperatives Minister after Awami League formed the government through the December 29 election in 2008. He was given the charge of the same ministry after the party won the January-5 election in 2014.

Syed Ashraf was, however, removed from the ministry on July 9, 2015 and made a minister without portfolio.

A week later, he was made the public administration minister.

Ashraf was admired across political lines and by the public as an austere, honest and well-spoken politician.

Not only his party comrades, but people from all spheres of life gathered at the Bailey Road house of Syed Ashraf, to see him for the last time and pay respect.

Our reporter at the spot said the crowd numbered in the thousands, including prominent academics, journalists, lawyers, cultural personalities and officials from the Public Administration Ministry.

Many ruling party ministers and state ministers visited the house and placed floral wreaths at the coffin.

The vehicle carrying the coffin left the Bailey Road house at 8:45pm for CMH where the body will be kept at the mortuary for tonight.

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