The body of eminent Bangladesh Awami League leader Syed Ashraful Islam has been kept at the mortuary of Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka. A popular figure in political arena, Syed Ashraf, public administration minister and Awami League presidium member and former general secretary, will be laid to eternal rest at Banani graveyard at 4.30 p.m. today, local media reports said.
Amid grief and gloom and with people of all walks of life waiting to pay tribute to the veteran Awami League leader, his body arrived at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport yesterday by a flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
A delegation of Awami League led by its General Secretary Obaidul Quader received the body at the airport. Senior party leaders including Tofail Ahmed, Begum Matia Chowdhury, Mohammed Nasim and Dr Abdur Razzak paid tribute to him and offered a munajat for peace of the departed soul.
The body of the veteran AL leader was then taken to his official residence on Bailey road. Relatives and well-wishers, party leaders and workers, officials and employees of the Public Administration Ministry thronged his residence to have last glimpse of their loving leader. The body was later kept at the mortuary of the CMH.
His first Namaz-e-Janaza will be held on the Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban’s south plaza at 10.30 a.m. today. A guard of honour will be given to him there. The body will later be taken by a helicopter to Kishoreganj, from where he was elected Member of Parliament for five times.
His second Namaz-e-Janaza will be held at historic Sholakia Eidgah Maidan in the district town at 12 noon. His third Namaz-e-Janaza will be held at Mymensingh Anjuman Eidgah ground at 2 p.m.
He will be laid to eternal rest at Banani graveyard in Dhaka at 4.30 p.m. on Sunday.
He died at the Bangkok hospital at the age of 68 after undergoing treatment for lung cancer for long. He is survived by a daughter. His wife Sheila Islam died in London in 2017.
Syed Ashraf was born in Mymensingh in 1952. His father Syed Nazrul Islam was acting President of Mujibnagar Government in 1971 and one of the key figures of Bangladesh independence struggle.
He was actively involved in student politics. He was the general secretary of Mymensingh district unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League after the independence of Bangladesh.
He also served as the assistant publicity secretary of central committee of Bangladesh Chhatra League.
On November 3 in 1975, his father Syed Nazrul Islam and three other national leaders were brutally killed in Dhaka Central Jail.
After the incident, Syed Ashraf went to London and organized Bangladesh Awami League in the UK.
Ashraf came back home in 1996 and elected parliament member. He served as the state minister for civil aviation and tourism during 1996-2001. He also elected parliament member in 2001 and served as a member of the parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs.
In 2008, Syed Ashraf was again elected lawmaker and appointed as the minister for local government, rural development and cooperatives. He took over the charge as a minister for public administration on Jul 16, 2015.
In the just concluded 11th parliamentary election on December 30 last, he was also elected a member of parliament in his absence due to illness as he was undergoing treatment for lung cancer in Bangkok.
Syed Ashraf, an iconic politician, was also engaged in various social welfare activities.
People of all strata liked the eminent AL leader because of his honest, sincere, devoted and charismatic personality and his works for the welfare of the country and its people.