With love, respect and grief, people of all walks of life bade farewell to Awami League lawmaker Abdul Matin Khasru yesterday.
He was 71.
Khasru, who was a freedom fighter and was elected lawmaker five times from Cumilla-5 (Brahmanpara and Burichang upazilas), breathed his last at 4:45pm on Wednesday at Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka after being infected with Covid-19.
He was elected lawmaker from Cumilla-5 constituency in 1991, 1996, 2008, 2014 and 2018.
Khasru, a senior lawyer of the Supreme Court, and the newly elected president of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), was laid to rest in the family graveyard in his Mirpur village of Cumilla's Brahmanpara upazila yesterday afternoon, Md Mohin Miah, Khasru's personal assistant told The Daily Star.
Earlier in the day, his coffin was kept on the SCBA premises where SC judges, former judges, lawyers, law officers, high-placed government officials, political leaders, educationists, professionals and Khasru's family members paid their last respects.
His namaz-e-janaza was held there.
Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Law Minister Anisul Huq, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim, LGRD Minister Md Tajul Islam, judges of the Appellate and High Court Divisions of the SC, Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Attorney General and outgoing SCBA president AM Amin Uddin and its Secretary Md Ruhul Quddus Kazal, among others, joined the janaza and paid tribute to Khasru by placing wreaths.
The chief justice suspended all functions of the Appellate and High Court divisions for yesterday as a show of respect to SCBA president Khasru.
While presiding over a full bench of the Appellate Division for hearing and disposing of cases yesterday morning, the chief justice said, "Being the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association is an honour. Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq was the president of the SCBA. We [judges of the SC] have decided that we will not sit [in the bench to deal with cases] today [yesterday]."
At the beginning of the SC proceedings, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin requested the chief justice to suspend the judicial functions of the SC for the day to pay respect to Khasru.
Khasru left behind his wife, a son and a daughter and a host of admirers and well-wishers to mourn his death.
Khasru, a former law minister, was diagnosed with Covid-19 and admitted to the CMH on March 16.
Born on February 12, 1950, he was elected SCBA president on March 11 this year.
In a statement, Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain said he had a very close relationship with Khasru for around 40 years.
Khasru was a very simple, friendly and temperate soul. He will be remembered for his outstanding role in establishing the rule of law in the country, the chief justice said in the statement.
Law Minister Anisul Huq paid deep respect to Khasru, saying he was a very talented and wise lawyer and a devoted follower of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
A big vacuum has been created in the legal arena following Khasru's death, he said.
He said Khasru had placed the bill for scrapping the black law titled as "Indemnity Ordinance" in parliament in 1996 when he was the state minister for law and cleared the way for holding the trial of the Bangabandhu assassination case.
"While we conducted the Bangabandhu murder case before the courts, Abdul Matin Khasru as the law minister had always accompanied us and provided all assistance and cooperation to us," Anisul Huq, also the then principle state counsel in the Bangabandhu murder case, told The Daily Star on Wednesday.
"Abdul Matin Khasru, who was involved with the politics of Bangladesh Chhatra League, had been elected lawmaker five times," the law minister added.
He served in the first cabinet of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the minister of law and justice from 1997 to 2001.
Khasru was elected the chairman of the executive committee of Bangladesh Bar Council in 2015.
The following year, he was made the law secretary of AL and also became a presidium member of the party in 2017.
President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Law Minister Anisul Huq, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim, Railways Minister M Nurul Islam Sujan, Bangabandhu Sheik Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Vice-chancellor Professor Dr Md Sharfuddin Ahmed and Peshjibi Samannay Parishad's Organising Secretary Advocate Motaher Hossain Sazu, and other distinguished personalities expressed deep shock at Khasru's demise.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Prof Shamsuzzaman Khan, former president of Bangla Academy, passed away with Covid-19 infection.
He breathed his last around 2:00pm at BSMMU, confirmed Bangla Academy Public Relations Officer Pias Majid.
He was 81 years old and left behind his wife and three daughters.