With people of all walks of life waiting to pay tribute to veteran Awami League leader Syed Ashraful Islam, his body was brought back home from Bangkok yesterday evening.
A Biman Bangladesh flight carrying the body of Syed Ashraf, public administration minister and also an AL Presidium member, reached Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 6:00pm.
An AL delegation led by party General Secretary Obaidul Quader, received the body of his predecessor at the airport. Syed Ashraf's family members, including his younger brother Maj Gen (retd) Syed Shafayetul Islam, were present there.
Senior party leaders including Tofail Ahmed, Matia Chowdhury, Mohammed Nasim and Dr Abdur Razzak paid tribute to their colleague.
From the airport, the body was briefly taken to his government residence on Bailey Road around 7:00pm. Several hundred people -- including party leaders, activists and well-wishers -- gathered at the house, where a somber atmosphere loomed as from top party leaders to activists could not help their tears, seeing their beloved leader for the last time.
A “mourning book” was opened in memory of the AL leader.
The body was then taken to the Combined Military Hospital mortuary, according to an AL press release.
Ashraf's first namaz-e-janaza will be held today at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban's south plaza at 10:30am. He will be given a guard of honour there, the release said. President Abdul Hamid will attend the namaz-e-janaza.
Later, Ashraf's body will be taken to his Kishoreganj home by helicopter, where his second janaza will be held at noon. Then his body will be taken to Mymensingh where another janaza will be held at Anjuman Eidgah at 2:00pm, the release said.
The body will be flown back to the capital from Mymensingh, and the Awami League leader will be laid to eternal rest at Banani graveyard after Asr prayers, it added.
The veteran leader, who stood by his party -- the Awami League -- in good times and bad, breathed his last at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok at the age of 68.
Son of Syed Nazrul Islam, acting president of Mujibnagar government, Ashraf had been suffering from lung cancer for a long time. He was flown to Thailand for treatment in July last year.
His death came just four days after he was elected MP in Kishoreganj-1. He had been a parliamentarian in the constituency since 1996.
He, however, could not take oath on Thursday when all the Awami League MPs were sworn in. The AL leader submitted a letter to the Speaker on the day, seeking time for his oath-taking.
Tributes and condolences have been pouring in from all quarters for the AL leader. His death came as shock to the countrymen, irrespective of their political affiliation.
Syed Ashraful Islam left behind his only daughter and a host of relatives and well-wishers to mourn his death. His wife Shila Islam died of cancer at a London hospital in October last year.