War hero laid to rest, finally | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 23, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 23, 2011

War hero laid to rest, finally


Soil from a grave, speculated to be of Lt Col Abdul Qadir, is taken from Chittagong in a coffin and reburied in Natore Qadirabad Cantonment with state honour. Shaheed Lt Col Qadir died during the Liberation War but his body was never found. His son, inset, Nadeem Qadir in tears during the ceremony yesterday.Photo: STAR

A war hero whose grave remained unnoticed for more than three decades was reburied with state honour yesterday.
Lt Col Mohammad Abdul Qadir was killed by Pakistan occupation force in April 1971 but his body was never found. It was his eldest son Nadeem Qadir who discovered the burial site at Panchlaish, Chittagong in 2007.
Qadir was laid to rest again at Qadirabad Cantonment, an army garrison named after the martyr.
Nadeem broke down and wept as a group of army men of Chittagong Cantonment dug out soil from the grave opposite to Chittagong Medical College around 9:00am.
The symbolic remains were then folded in a piece of white cloth and kept in a coffin.
It was flown by a chopper to Qadirabad Cantonment in Natore around 2:30pm to be received by Maj Gen M Mahfuzur Rahman, Bogra area commander, and ECSME Commandant Brig Gen Mohammad Shamsul Alam Khan.
Wrapped in the flags of the country and Bangladesh army, the coffin was carried by eight lieutenant colonels to the cemetery where a religious cleric offered prayers.
Few could hold tears around 3:20pm when the coffin was lowered into the grave with the sounding of taps played on the bugle. An atmosphere of reverence covered the area.
Army men in uniform fired volleys and rendered hand salutes. The military honours concluded after the two flags were folded and presented to the family.
Qadir's daughter Rubina Qadir Hussain, son-in-law Syed Mehdi Hussain, granddaughter Zayna Qadir Mahmud, Zayna's husband Erad Rahman and Nadeem were all in tears.
Outside the compound, many of several hundred locals cried quietly.
Rubina said the family is grateful to all who had supported this initiative. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also took steps to ensure Qadir's reburial with proper honour and protection of his grave, she said.
“We the members of Bangladesh army feel proud today as we are paying tribute to this great freedom fighter,” Major Gen Mohammad Ashab Uddin, general officer commanding (GOC) of Chittagong Cantonment, said at Panchlaish.
A SON'S QUEST
Nadeem Qadir, a journalist working with ATN News, never gave up hope of finding his father's body. His desperate search drew attention of many and finally the government and army came forward.
“We finally became able to bid farewell to our father,” said a sobbing Nadeem Qadir.
“I offer my gratitude to the Almighty since my father has at last got the due honour which he should have been received long before. And this is the most precious achievement of my life seeing my father being paid tribute,” Nadeem told journalists at Panchlaish.
Acting on a clue from Lt Col Bayezid of the Chittagong brigade, he found Nurul Islam, who was an Awami League member in 1971. Nurul Islam along with some other locals buried 18 martyrs including Qadir in separate graves.
After Nadeem discovered the Panchlaish site, a high-powered investigation team of the army confirmed the grave as Qadir's.
Following the order of the prime minister, Qadir's grave was transferred under the authority of Liberation War affairs state minister Captain (retd) Tajul Islam, Army Chief of Staff General Abdul Mubin and Adjutant General Belal and the engineering core.
Earlier, the government had brought back the symbolic remains of Bir Shrestha Matiur Rahman and Bir Shrestha Hamidur Rahman and reburied them in the soil of the country with state honour.
Born on January 2, 1929, Lieutenant Colonel Qadir was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers in 1949. Son of a businessman Abul Hossain Miah, Qadir obtained his matriculation and higher secondary certificates from Rangpur.
He passed engineering in first division with distinction from Army School of Engineering in 1962. In a rare opportunity for a Bangalee officer during the Pakistan era, he completed the engineer officers' career course from Virginia, the US in 1965.
Also a graduate in physics department from Dhaka University, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1966.
In 1970, he joined as the chief of Oil and Gas Development Corporation of East Pakistan (now Petrobangla) in Chittagong thwarting the offer to join in Jordan.
He met Bangabandhu for once and kept in touch with prominent freedom fighters.
In February 1971, he donated Tk 10,000 to an Awami League fund raised for the war and hoisted the flag of Bangladesh at his office and his government residence.
Qadir used to help freedom fighters by supplying explosives. He tried to join the war since April 1; but for some reason, he had to return to his residence in Panchlaish, Chittagong on April 14. Three days later, Pakistani army arrested him for “treason”.
Qadir's wife Hasan Hena Qadir died in 1999. Elder daughter Rubina is a housewife and youngest son Naweed Qadir is an IT specialist and expatriate to New Zealand.
The Qadirabad Cantonment in Natore was named after him in recognition for role in the Bangladesh's independence. The government had also issued a postal stamp of him as one of the Martyred Intellectuals.
(Anwar Ali, Rajshahi; Bulbul Ahmed, Natore; and Dwaipayan Barua, Chittagong, contributed to this report)

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