Kazi Zafar Ahmed, chairman of a faction of the Jatiya Party, passed away at a city hospital yesterday. He was 76.
The politician, who was also a prime minister during HM Ershad's regime, had long been suffering from heart diseases and diabetics, said family sources.
Around 7:00am yesterday, he suddenly fell sick at his Gulshan residence while preparing to go to Chauddagram upazila in Comilla for party activities. He was rushed to United Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead half an hour later.
Zafar left behind his wife and three daughters.
President Abdul Hamid, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, different other political leaders and distinguished personalities mourned the death.
Zafar's party men, friends, well-wishers, former colleagues, Noble Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus and Workers Party chief Rashed Khan Menon went to the hospital hearing the news.
Khaleda visited the house of the leader and consoled his family members later at night.
Born in 1939, Zafar served as different ministers under HM Ershad's government. Ershad also appointed him as a deputy prime minister and later made him a prime minister -- the post he held till the fall of Ershad's regime in 1990.
In November, 2013, Ershad expelled Zafar from the JP for calling the former dictator a “betrayer”. The then party presidium member made the comment after Ershad changed his earlier decision that he would not join the January 5 elections under Sheikh Hasina.
Zafar too expelled Ershad from the same party and formed a new JP faction. Later, it joined the BNP-led 20-party alliance last year.
According to Zafar's Faceboook page, he got involved in politics when he was a student of Dhaka University. He became the general secretary of the East Pakistan Chhatra Union in 1962-63.
The freedom fighter joined Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani-led National Awami Party after the Liberation War and became the party's second-in-command later.
In 1974, he joined the United Peoples Party (UPP), a coalition of pro-China Communist Party's platform. Later, BNP founder Ziaur Rahman appointed him as the education minister.
Until 1986, Zafar-led UPP was engaged in the anti-Ershad movement. But later, he dissolved the party and joined Ershad-led government. He was with Ershad's JP till 2013. He was elected MP thrice from Comilla under the banner of the Jatiya Party.
Zafar was also the leader of the house at the fourth parliament.
JANAZA AND BURIAL
Zafar's first namaz-e-janaza is scheduled to be held in Tongi Rail gate area around 8:00am today while the second one around 11:00am at the South Plaza of Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, party sources said.
Later, his body would be taken to Baitul Mukarram National Mosque for the third namaz-e-janaza after the Juma prayers.
The date and place for the burial of the leader would be decided after his daughter's return to country, sources added.
Meanwhile, the BNP-led 20-party alliance yesterday announced that special prayers for Zafar would be organised at different mosques, temples and churches across the country today.