Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is feeling the President’s absence to the very core.
“The country has lost a guardian, but words cannot describe what I and Rehana have lost,” said the Prime Minister on Thursday as she stood next to the coffin of President Zillur Rahman.
The President passed away while receiving treatment in Singapore on Wednesday. A Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight carrying his body arrived in Dhaka at 12pm.
A car draped in the national flag and decorated with red and white flowers carried his coffin from the airport to the Bangabhaban in a motorcade at 1:04pm.
The Prime Minister said, “He passed away right when his leadership was needed the most.”
“He was capable of handling any situation with ease. He had held on to his responsibilities through so many ups and downs.”
Zillur Rahman had been Acting President of the Awami League during the difficult time when Sheikh Hasina was imprisoned for eleven months during the state of emergency in 2007.
Rahman who was General Ssecretary of the party during the time of Bangbandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was also chosen to be post under Hasina’s leadership.
The Prime Minister, her sister Sheikh Rehana, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury and MP Baby Maudud were seated a little away from the place where people from all walks of life were paying their last respects to the President.
Hasian told reoprters, “I am not in the mental state to say anything today.”
She sought prayers for the President saying, “Everyone, please pray for him from wherever you may be. May Allah grant him a most deserved place in heaven, this is my prayer.”
Hasina also spoke about her close ties with Rahman’s family following her return to Bangladesh in 1981, after the brutal assassination of her father and founder of the nation Bangabandu on Aug 15, 1975.
“We used to call Ivy Rahman, Ivy Chachi (auntie). She used to look after us during good times and bad.”
She mentioned Rahman’s loyalty and dediacation to the party saying, “He led the party during the harshest of times and saved democracy. We want this democracy to continue and thrive.”
The Prime Minister mentioned how he continued with his responsibilities to the party, even after losing his wife and fellow politician Ivy Rahman to the fatal grenade attack on an Awami League rally on Aug 21, 2004.
“He was submerged in his loss but still managed to successfully play his role as Acting President of the Awami League after I was arrested by the caretaker government in 2007 after being implicated in a false”, the Prime Minister continued.
Hasina gave the late President all the credit for involving all political parties in rebuilding the Election Commission. “He was acceptable to all even though we elected him as Ppresident. He was an elder to all of us.”
“I used to go to him for all kinds of political advice and decisions. I don’t even have that anymore”, said the Prime minister as her voice grew heavy with the last words.
Zillur Rahman was born on Mar 9, 1929 in Bhairab.
He took office as the 19th President of Bangladesh on Feb 12, 2009 after being elected uncontested.
Source: Bd news24