Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday paid tributes to late Prof Ali Ashraf praising his versatility as a seasoned parliamentarian , teacher, businessman and politician.
“He (Ali Ashraf) was a knowledgeable person. He was a professor, did business and also politics. We’ve lost a versatile parliamentarian, which is very unfortunate for us,” she said, participating in the discussion over a condolence motion placed to express profound grief at the death of sitting MP Prof Ali Ashraf (Cumilla-7).
Sheikh Hasina said Prof Ashraf served as deputy speaker in 7th Parliament and also discharged his responsibility competently in all other forums including different parliamentary committees as either chairman or member.
She said Ali Ashraf always protested the August 15 carnage and met her in London in 1980. He also testified against the killers in the 1975 November 3 jail killing case.
She said that the veteran parliamentarian was elected MP in five parliamentary polls.
Talking about his Cumilla-7 constituency (Chandina), the prime minister said Bangabandhu’s killer Col (Abdur) Rashid hailed from Chandina. But Begum Khaleda Zia brought the killer to Parliament and made him the leader of opposition in the House.
“Ziaur Rahman awarded the killers (of Bangabandhu) giving them indemnity and jobs in different foreign missions of Bangladesh. But Begum Khaleda Zia perhaps went one step forward and brought a killer in the parliament,” said Sheikh Hasina.
She said Khaleda Zia brought two killers of Bangabandhu -- Col Rashid from Chandina and Maj Huda from Chuadnga-- in Parliament through the 1996 February 15 voter-less election that boycotted all other political parties.
The PM said Prof Ashraf later was elected MP from the constituency. The new parliamentarians could learn many things from the five-time lawmaker. “We lost a seasoned parliamentarian,” she said.
Mentioning the names of different books written by Prof Ashraf, the PM said he was also a good writer beyond his political life. He wrote 15 books on contemporary politics, economy and international affairs. The young parliamentarians can learn a lot from his books.
Sheikh Hasina said the professor also published a research-based book titled “Rural Economy and Development of Bangladesh,” which will greatly contribute to building Bangladesh in future.
She prayed for salvation of the departed soul and expressed deep sympathy to his family members.
At the beginning of the 14th session of the current parliament, Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury moved the condolence motion, expressing deep shock at the death of the sitting MP, seven former MPs including an ex-state minister and some noted personalities.
The Parliament adopted the condolence motion unanimously by a voice-vote following discussion.
Besides, Law Minister Anisul Huq, Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Md Tazul Islam, Deputy Opposition Leader Ghulam Muhammed Quader, Opposition Chief Whip Mashiur Rahman Ranga, AL MPs Mazibul Hoque (Cumilla-11), Matia Chowdhury (Sherpur-2), Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim (Gopalganj-2) and Muhammad Faruk Khan (Gopalganj-1), Jatiya Party MPs Kazi Firoz Rashid (Dhaka-6) and Anisul Islam Mahmud (Chattogram-5), Ganoforum MP Sultan Muhammed Mansur Ahmed (Maulvibazar-2), Tarikat Federation MP Syed Nazibul Bashar Maizvandary (Chattogram-2) and Bikalpadhara MP Abdul Mannan (Laxmipur-4) participated in the discussion.
The Parliament also expressed deep shock at the death of a state minister and six former MPs. They are Afaz Uddin Ahmed (MP of 9th Parliament from Kushtia-1), Tofazzal Hossain Sarkar ( MP of 1st Parliament from Rangpur-22), Jamal Uddin Ahmed (MNA, 1970 from Dhaka-13), Khurram Khan Chowdhury (MP of 2nd, 4th, 5th and 8th parliaments from Mymensingh-5, 8 and 9), Md Reza Khan (MP of 4th Parliament from Jamalpur-5), former state minister for cultural affairs Prof Jahanara Begum (MP of 5th and 6th parliaments from a reserved seat and Rajbari-1), and Anwar Hossain (MP of 4th parliament from Dhaka-8).
The House also deeply condoled the death of a number of noted personalities including freedom fighter and legendary singer Fakir Alamgir, noted lyricist Fazl-e-Khuda, (known for his famous song Salam Salam Hajar Salam), Freedom fighter and the High Court Division Justice Amir Hossain, freedom fighter and former PM’s Principal Secretary SA Samad, Bangladesh’s true friend British journalist Simon Dring and legendary German footballer Gerd Muller.
Besides, it mourned the death of the physicians and health workers at home and abroad, the members of administration and police, political leaders, business and social dignitaries, government and private employees, who lost lives in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Parliament expressed profound shock at the casualties in some recent incidents including Rupganj fire in Narayanganj, lightning strike in Chapainawabganj, Haiti earthquake (a Caribbean country), and the recent accidents taken place at home and abroad. The House also conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved families.
A one-minute silence was observed and a munajat was offered seeking the eternal peace of the departed souls. AL MP Md. Hafiz Ruhul Amin Madani (Mymensingh-7) conducted the munajat.
As per the tradition, the day’s business of Parliament was adjourned after the adoption of the condolence motion over the death of the sitting Awami League MP in order to pay respect to him.
Prof Ashraf, also a valiant freedom fighter, died on July 30 last. He was born at Gallai village in Chandina Upazila in 1947.
According to the obituary reference, Ali Ashraf, who completed graduation (in 1967) and post-graduation (1968) degrees in economics from Dhaka University, was a successful businessman and industrialist. He became a Member of Parliament in 1973, 1996, 2008, 2014 and 2018.