Professor Md Ali Ashraf, former deputy speaker and chairman of the parliamentary committee on Government Assurances, died at a hospital in the capital on Friday afternoon. He was 74.
The five-time Member of Parliament from Cumilla (Chandina-7) breathed his last at 3:30pm at Square Hospital in Dhaka on the day. He had been suffering from diabetes and other old age complications. The valiant freedom fighter was admitted to the hospital on July 2 with gallstone and later he was diagnosed with pneumonia. When his condition deteriorated, he was shifted to the ICU on July 9. He was on life support since July 21.
President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed their profound shock and sorrow at the death of Professor Md. Ali Ashraf.
In his message of condolence, President said, “Professor Ali Ashraf’s professionalism and experience has played a positive role in the practice of parliamentary democracy. His role was important in various parliamentary committees and parliamentary activities.”
“With the death of Professor Ali Ashraf, Bangladesh lost an experienced parliamentarian. His death is an irreparable loss to the country’s political arena,” he added.
In a message of condolence, the Prime Minister said, “In his death, we have lost a valiant Freedom Fighter, a veteran politician, a true soldier of the ideology of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and a patriotic people’s leader.”
Both President and Prime Minister prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul and conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved family.
Having taught in various colleges during the Liberation War in 1971, he was appointed as director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Mujibnagar Government.
Ali Ashraf contested as an independent candidate in the 1970 parliamentary elections in Pakistan. Although, he did not win the election, he ran as an independent candidate again and was elected as the youngest Member of Parliament winning in the first general election of independent Bangladesh in 1973.
In the consecutive years, he served as the president of Cumilla North District Awami League and the Finance and Planning Secretary of the Awami League’s central committee.
Ali Ashraf became a Whip in the parliament when Awami League formed government in 1996 after winning the sixth National Parliamentary Election. Later in 2001, when the then Speaker Humayun Rashid Choudhury died, deputy speaker Abdul Hamid became the Speaker and Ali Ashraf was nominated as the Deputy Speaker.
He was also elected a Member of Parliament securing victory in the 2008, 2014, and 2018 general elections as a candidate of Awami League.
First namaz-e-janaza of Professor Ali Ashraf was held at Gulshan Azad Mosque after Isha prayer on Friday. He will be taken to his village home Gallai in Cumilla’s Chandina where he will be laid to rest today with state honour following several namaz-e-janazas after Asr prayer.
Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzak, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni, Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Local Government and Rural Development Minister Tajul Islam, Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed, among others, mourned the death of Ali Ashraf.