Vol. 5 Num 739 Mon. June 26, 2006  
Front Page

Minister Akbar passes away

Veteran freedom fighter also Shipping Minister Lt Col Akbar Hossain (Retd) passed away following a massive cardiac arrest yesterday night. He was 64.

The minister was admitted to ZH Shikder Medical College and Hospital in Gulshan around 8:35pm yesterday and the doctors declared him dead at 9:40pm.

He was the second minister of the BNP-led alliance government to pass away within a span of little over a week after the death of Women and Children Affairs Minister Khurshid Jahan Haque, also Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's eldest sister.

Akbar left behind his wife, four sons, a host of relatives, friends, colleagues and well wishers to mourn his death.

Born on December 2, 1941 at Kashari Patty in Comilla town, Akbar joined the army at Kakul Military Academy in Pakistan on May 8, 1966 and was commissioned to join the 31 Baluchi Regiment. He received his BA from Dhaka University in 1969.

He joined the Liberation War in 1971 first under Khaled Musharraf and then with the 'Z' force headed by late president Ziaur Rahman. For his heroic role in the War of Independence, he was awarded the title of Bir Protik.

After the independence, he took voluntary retirement from the Bangladesh Army on December 31, 1973. He then got actively involved with politics and joined the United People's Party (UPP) on January 1, 1974. He was the vice-president of UPP.

In 1977, when UPP merged with Ziaur Rahman's Jatiyatabadi Front, Lt Col Akbar actively joined in the formation of BNP. He was first made special secretary and then he held the position of joint secretary general and was one of the vice-presidents of BNP till his death. He was also the convener of Comilla district unit of BNP till his death.

He was made Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources in Ziaur Rahman government's cabinet in 1978.

Late Akbar was first elected MP from Comilla-8 constituency in the 5th Jatiya Sangsad election in 1979. Then he was elected MP from the same seat in 1991, 1996 and 2001.

He was appointed Minister for Environment and Forest in October 1993, during the first tenure of Khaleda Zia's government.

He was made Minister for Shipping on October 10, 2001 when the BNP-led 4-party alliance won the 8th Jatiya Sangsad election with a two-third majority and Khaleda Zia became the third time prime minister of Bangladesh.

In his long political career, late Akbar actively participated in the anti-autocracy movement and in all democratic movements. He was a devoted politician and popular pro-poor leader in his district.

Receiving the sudden death news of her cabinet colleague, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia rushed to see his body at his Gulshan residence. She stayed there for some time consoling his grief-stricken family members.

Earlier, on hearing the news of his death, a number of ministers, MPs, party leaders and well-wishers rushed to Shikder Hospital. BNP Secretary General also LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, Health Minister Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Environment Minister Tariqul Islam and other ministers and leaders visited the hospital and the residence of Lt Col Akbar.

Acting President Jamiruddin Sircar expressed profound shock at the sudden death of Shipping Minister Lt Col Akbar Hossain. In a condolence message yesterday, he recalled the contributions of late Akbar to the country's independence, its rebuilding and democracy.

“The nation has lost a valiant freedom fighter and politician at his death,” the acting president said. Sircar expressed deep sympathy for the bereaved family members and prayed for salvation of the departed soul.

In a message of condolence, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia expressed deep shock at the death of Lt Col Akbar Hossain. She recalled Akbar's contribution in the War of Independence and said the country lost a patriotic politician and an efficient minister in his death.

She said the nation will remember with respect late Akbar's role in democratic movements and his contributions to nationalist politics. BNP lost a devoted leader in his death, she added.

Khaleda Zia prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul and conveyed sympathy to the members of the bereaved family.

BNP sources said his first namaj-e- janaza will be held in front of the BNP central office at Naya Paltan at 11:00am today, the second janaza will be at the south plaza of Jatiya Sangsad at about 12:00 noon and the third will be at Comilla Eidgah at 3:00pm today.

As a veteran freedom fighter, he will be given a guard of honour and the national flag will cover his coffin.

He will be laid to rest at Sharifpur in Laksam at 5:00pm today.