12:00 AM, March 22, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:23 AM, March 22, 2013

World leaders shocked

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Staff Correspondent

Heads of state and government of different countries and international dignitaries have expressed deep shock at the death of President Zillur Rahman and extended their sympathy to his family members and Bangladeshis.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday offered his “condolences to the bereaved family of the president, the government and the people of Bangladesh”.
Zillur Rahman made important contribution to his country's democratic transition throughout his political life, Ban's spokesperson said in a statement, according to the UN's official website.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on behalf of the government and the people of India, in a statement said Zillur was a patriot and a man of high ideals. An ardent advocate of friendly relations between India and Bangladesh, he was held in high esteem by the people of India, said Manmohan.
"On this tragic occasion, we extend our deepest condolences to the people of Bangladesh. We pray for the peace of his departed soul...,” the statement said.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, in a statement addressed to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said, "With his passing, the people of Bangladesh have lost a man of vision and a true son of the soil who rose to the highest office.”
Pranab, in a separate statement addressed to the president's son Najmul Hassan, said, "His demise is a personal loss to us…. We offer you, your sister and the other family members of President Zillur Rahman our heartfelt condolences and stand by you in this hour of grief."
US Secretary of State John Kerry said the president, from his early days as a history student and political activist, dedicated his life to the Bangladeshi people. His efforts helped lead to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 and his subsequent decades of public service helped Bangladesh establish itself as the democracy it is today.
"As Bangladesh nears the 42nd anniversary of its independence, President Rahman's death offers a moment for all Bangladeshis to come together in mourning and reflect on what unites them as a nation," Kerry added.
Australian High Commissioner in Dhaka Greg Wilcock said Zillur's life was interwoven with Bangladesh's history. His four years as the president of Bangladesh followed decades of service to his nation.
"Our thoughts are with President Rahman's family and the people of Bangladesh as they mourn their loss," Wilcock added.
Afrasiab, Pakistani high commissioner to Bangladesh, said the government of Pakistan has postponed the country's National Day celebrations scheduled for March 23 in the capital to mourn the president's demise.
The president of Russia, president and prime minister of Singapore, prime minister of Malaysia, foreign minister of Canada, prime minister and foreign minister of Japan, president of Nepal, president and foreign minister of Maldives, king and prime minister of Bhutan, president of Pakistan, president of China, president and foreign minister of Iran and king of Thailand have also sent condolence messages.
Besides, the flag was kept at half mast yesterday in Bhutan.
Secretaries general of the OIC, commonwealth, D-8, Swedish embassy, Dutch ambassador and country representative of the UN Women in Dhaka also condoled the death.
Meanwhile, the 111 member arms treaty meeting presided over by the Australian foreign minister yesterday paid respects to the Bangladesh president in New York by observing two minutes' silence.

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