Amid a three-day national mourning, thousands of people from all walks of life paid their last respects to late President Zillur Rahman with tears as his body lay in state for over three hours at Bangabhaban on Thursday.
Zillur Rahman, the country’s 19th President and one of the organisers of the Liberation War and a close associate of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, breathed his last at the age of 84 at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital.
A three-day national mourning is being observed over the death of the President from Thursday. The national flag is flying at half-mast atop government and semi-government offices across the country and Bangladesh missions abroad.
Thursday was declared a public holiday as a mark of respect to the President.
The body of President Zillur Rahman arrived here on Thursday noon. A special flight of Bangladesh Biman carrying the President’s mortal remains landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 11:55am.
Adjutant General Ashraf Abdullah Yusuf received the President’s body draped with the national flag at about 12:10pm.
Later, acting President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed wreaths on the coffin of the President kept on a podium at the airport at12:16pm.
A pickup van covered with the national flag and flowers carrying the President’s mortal remains reached Bangabhaban around 1.05pm.
Hundreds of people standing on both sides of the Airport Road showed their respect to the late President when his body was being taken to Bangabhaban from the airport.
A guard of honour was given to the president on Bangabhaban lawn around 1:10pm.
Later, acting president Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the chiefs of the three services paid their homage to the President by placing wreaths on his coffin. Cabinet members and central leaders of the ruling Awami League and family members of the President were present on the occasion.
Leader of the Opposition and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia went to Bangabhaban cancelling her political programmes without waiting for formal invitation and paid her respects. Jatitya Party Chairman HM Ershad also paid respects by placing wreaths on his coffin.
The body was kept at Bangabhaban from 1:30 pm to 5 pm for the common people to pay their last respects. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana were present.
Zillur’s body was taken to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Dhaka at 5:30 pm to keep it in its mortuary.
His first Namaz-e-Janaza will be held in Bhairab upazila in Kishoreganj district on Friday at 9 am.
Later, it will be taken to Bangabhaban for the representatives of heads of states and governments to pay their last respects at 12:30 pm.
His second Namaz-e-Janaza will be held at the National Eidgah after Jum’a prayers.
Zillur will be laid to eternal rest at Banani Graveyard at 4pm, according to Bangabhaban press release.
Indian President and Prime Minister, Singapore President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Malaysian Prime Minister, US Secretary of State, Canadian Foreign Minister, Japanese Chief of Protocol on behalf of Japan government, Nepalese President, Maldives President and Foreign Minister, Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka, Bhutan King and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and D-8 Secretary General Dr Seyed Ali-Mohammad Mousavi expressed their shock at President Zillur’s death. UNB