Former president Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed no more
Former president Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed passed away at Dhaka Combined Military Hospital (CMH) this morning. He was 92.
Shahdubbin, also the former chief justice breathed his last at 11:05am today, according to the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The first namaz-e-janaza of the former president was held at his native village Pemye in Kendua upazila of Netrakona at 4pm today, Supreme Court Spokesman Md Saifur Rahman told The Daily Star.
The body of Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed is now being taken to Dhaka from Netrakona for his second janaza, added Saifur Rahman.
His second janaza will be held tomorrow (March 20, 2022) at 10:00 am at the National Eidgah field on the Supreme Court premises. Later in the day, he will be buried at Banani Graveyard.
In a condolence message, Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique expressed his profound shock at the death of Shahabuddin and prayed for the salvation of the departed soul.
He also conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved family members.
Law Minister Anisul Huq also mourned the death of Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed and prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul.
Justice Shahabuddin was born on February 1, 1930, at Pemal village under Kendua thana of Netrakona district. An outstanding student, he completed his BA (Hons) in Economics in 1951 and MA in International Relations in 1952 from Dhaka University. He also attended a special course in on Public Administration in the University of Oxford, following his entry into the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) in 1954.
During his career as an administrator – a role in which he excelled – he served as a Sub-Divisional Officer of Gopalganj and Natore, before being promoted to the post of Additional Deputy Commissioner of Faridpur.
He was transferred to the judicial branch in June 1960, and appointed the Registrar of the Dhaka High Court in 1967. He was promoted to the bench as a judge of the High Court of Bangladesh on January 20, 1972, and subsequently, appointed a judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh on February 7, 1980.
Justice Shahabuddin was the chairman of the Commission of Enquiry formed to investigate the causes of police firing on agitating students of Dhaka University in 1983, which led to the deaths of several students. His detailed report, however, was never made public by the then government.
He served as chairman of Bangladesh Red Cross Society from August 1978 to April 1982.
Shahabuddin Ahmed was appointed Chief Justice of Bangladesh on January 14, 1990. On December 6 of the same year, as the country celebrated the fall of Ershad and the end of autocratic rule, he assumed the position of Acting President of the country. It was under his leadership that a non-partisan caretaker government was formed, and a free and fair election held in the country in February 1991.
He amended a number of draconian laws, which revived freedom of the press and freedom of expression in the country. After successfully completing his term as Acting President, he left the Bangabhaban on Oct 10, 1991 and resumed his duties as Chief Justice, before finally retiring on February 1, 1995. He left behind a sovereign parliament, a popularly elected leadership, a unanimously adopted form of government and, most importantly, a Constitution that has been shorn of its undemocratic features.
Justice Shahabuddin was elected the president of the country on July 23, 1996 after being nominated by the Awami League government. He was sworn-in as the president on October 9, 1996 and retired from the presidency on November 14, 2001.