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Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman Buried by Grave of His Wife
By Ataur Rahman
Bangladesh Correspondent
Late Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman

DHAKA — Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman was buried beside the grave of his wife Ivy Rahman at the Banani graveyard at 4 p.m. on March 22, 2013.

According to fresh burial plan, the first Namaz-e-Janaza of the President Md Zillur Rahman was held 9 a.m. on March 22, 2013 in Bhairab under Kishorganj, the home district of the late President. Later, his body was kept at Bangabhaban at 12:30 p.m. on the day where representatives of head of states and governments of foreign countries paid homage to the body of President Zillur Rahman. Later, he was buried at Banani graveyard at 4 p.m. on the day.

The national flag flew half mast as the country today began a three-day state mourning at the death of President Zillur Rahman, one of the country's senior most politicians who breathed his last on March 20, 2013 at a Singapore hospital.

A special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines brought him home and landed at the VVIP terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 11:55 a.m. with military armed salutes heralding his arrival when Acting President and Parliamentary Speaker Abdul Hamid Advocate and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received the coffin.

A contingent of military troops queued up in two lines as a red carpet was rolled out as senior army, navy and air force officials with rank of major general and equivalent carried the presidential coffin towards a makeshift stage from the aircraft allowing the acting president and premier to offer wreaths.

Emotion gripped the scene as the premier met his only son Nazmul hassan Papan and two daughters Tania Bakht and Anima Rahman on airport tarmac cried out in shock embracing each other.

In line with earlier chalked up plans a military pickup draped with national flag carried the coffin as it escorted by a ceremonial motorcade straight to the Bangabhaban in 40 minutes while people stood on both sides all along the route and waived black flags as a mark of respect and shock as the convoy passed off.

Troops drawn out of army, navy and air force offered another honour guard as the coffin reached the presidential palace lawn at 1.05pm when the acting president, premier, chief justice Mozamel Haque, dean of the diplomatic corps and Palestinian ambassador Shaher Mohammad and three armed forces chiefs offered wreaths.

Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia is also offered wraths on the coffin at Bangabhaban where the relatives, politicians and civil and military officials rallied to have their last glimpse of Zillur Rahman, who earned an iconic image of political decency and commitment.

The cabinet observed one-minute silence to mourn the death and adopted an obituary reference recalling his outstanding contribution to the nation.

The mass circulation Prothom Alo newspaper carried a headline "The nation lost the guardian", while the Daily Samakal wrote, "Goodbye to The Guardian" while most newspapers published special editorial notes mourning the death of soft-spoken Zillur Rahman who appeared as a icon of political decency having firm commitment.

Major international media including the TV channels and wire services prominently carried the report also recalling the death of his wife nine years ago in a grenade attack.

President Rahman's death brought at least for a temporary period a lull in extreme political rivalry while the political arena now witnesses a growing heat over 1971 war crimes trial and electoral system. Impact on political arena The largely ceremonial presidency appear crucial during general elections which is due in Bangladesh in early 2014 while under the constitution the current parliament, where the Awami League have three fourths majority, must elect a new president in next 90 days.

Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) withdrew its planned general strike in Dhaka district today as a mark of respect to the late president while the party chief Begum Khaleda Zia joined the nation in mourning the death.

Acting president and parliamentary speaker Abdul Hamid Advocate yesterday announced a three-day state mourning at his death which came 10 days after Rahman was flown to Singapore for treatment for critical lung infection a day after he was rushed to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) at Dhaka cantonment.

Zillur Rahman who celebrated his 85th birthday earlier this month was installed as the 19th President in 2009 after Awami League was elected in the landmark in December 2008 general elections.

Political Career

A lawyer by profession, Rahman was a close associate of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and is regarded as a key figure in consolidating the ruling Awami League's unity at different times after 1975 putsch when Bangabandhu was killed along with most of his family members.

Son of a lawyer and himself a legal practitioner by profession, Rahman left behind his only son Nazmul Hassan Papan, an Awami League lawmaker and cricket board president and two daughters. He made his debut in politics in late 1940s and made visible his quality to be a leader during the historic 1952 Language Movement.

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Mr. Ataur Rahman serves as Bangladesh Correspondent for The Seoul Times. He earned his Master of Commerce degree from Dhaka University in 1985. Mr. Rahman has vast journalistic experience including his stints at "The Daily Janata" and "The Dainik Bangla."






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