Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– President Zillur Rahman passed away on Wednesday at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital. He was 84.
Zillur Rahman, one of the organisers of the country’s Liberation War, breathed his last around 4.47pm (BST), according to a Bangabhaban statement.
The body of Zillur Rahman will be flown in Dhaka on Thursday noon.
A special flight carrying Zillur’s mortal remains will arrive at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 12 noon, the statement said.
Meanwhile, a three-day national mourning has been announced at the death of the President from Thursday. The national flag will be kept at half-mast on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
President’s family members expressed gratitude to the country’s people for their prayers seeking his recovery. They again requested the countrymen to pray for salvation of Zillur’s departed soul, it added.
Zillur is survived by two daughters, one son, Nazmul Hasan Papon, MP and a host of relatives, well-wishers, political colleagues and followers to mourn his death.
Earlier, the President’s wife and Mohila Awami League’s then president Ivy Rahman died after being injured in a grisly grenade attack on a rally of Awami League at Bangabandhu Avenue in August 21, 2004.
Zillur, a close associate of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was admitted to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital on Monday with respiratory problems and some other complications.
Earlier, he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka on March 9 with severe respiratory problems.
Following the advice of the physicians, President Zillur, also a language movement veteran, was flown to Singapore on the night of March 10 for better treatment.
Since March 14, Speaker Abdul Hamid Advocate has been performing President Zillur Rahman’s duty following a Cabinet decision.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and acting president Abdul Hamid Advocate expressed profound shock and sorrow at the President’s death. He took oath of office as president on February 12, 2009.
Zillur Rahman, the 19th President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, was born in a respectable Muslim family under Bhairab thana of Kishoreganj district on March 09, 1929.
His father, late Meher Ali Mian, was a renowned lawyer, Chairman of the then Mymensingh Local Board and Member of the District Board.
Zillur had been elected general secretary of the Awami League for fourth time. He had been elected Member of the National Assembly (MNA) of Pakistan in 1970.
He was elected Member of Parliament in 1973, 1986, 1996, 2001 and 2008.
Zillur had actively taken part in formulation of the Constitution of Bangladesh immediately after the victory in the War of Liberation as a Member of Bangladesh Constituent Assembly.
He became the minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives in 1996. Apart from being minister, as he also discharged his duties as the Deputy Leader in Parliament till 2001.
Zillur Rahman passed Matriculation from Bhairab KB High School in 1945 and later obtained Intermediate of Arts certificate from Dhaka Intermediate College, now Dhaka College.
In 1954, he got his MA with Honors in History and LLB degree from the University of Dhaka.
Zillur Rahman played an active role in the great Language Movement in 1952.
He presided over a student gathering held in the historic Amtala (Mango grove) of Dhaka University on 19 February 1952 to voice the demand for Bangla as the State Language.
Zillur was elected uncontested Vice-President (VP) of Student Union of Fazlul Huq Hall, University of Dhaka in 1953.
He was expelled from the University and his Masters Degree withdrawn for his active participation in the Language Movement. He also performed his duties as the President of erstwhile East Pakistan Awami Sechchhasebak League.
BBN/SSR/AD-20Mar13-9:40 pm (BST)