Language movement veteran, an expatriate organiser of the War of Liberation and former adviser to government of Bangladesh poet Zakaria Chowdhury passed away on Thursday.
He breathed his last at 11:10am while undergoing treatment at Green Life Hospital in Dhaka. He was the chief editor and publisher of newspaper Daily Manobkantha.
Zakaria Chowdhury, from Sujatpur union in Baniachang upazila of Habiganj, had a long and remarkable professional career.
His father Yahya Chowdhury was the first Bengali district magistrate of Kushtia and Dhaka in 1957 and was a Member of National Assembly (MNA).
Zakaria was born on 18 November 1933 in Assam of India, where his father was posted at the time.
He became involved in the anti-British movement while studying in Karimganj. He did his bachelor with honours in Economics from the University of Dhaka in 1955.
While studying in DU, Zakaria was arrested from a procession during language movement in 1952. Later in 1957, he had enrolled for Bar-at-Law in Lincoln's Inn in London.
The following year while still in London, he joined the movement against the military rule in Pakistan. He formed a secret political organisation called “Purboshuri” in 1960 as part of a plan to liberate East Bengal.
During Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s visit to London in 1963, Zakaria Chowdhury presented his organisation's aim for the liberation of the then East Pakistan to Bangabandhu who agreed to their views. From then on, Zakaria Chowdhury had close communication with Bangabandhu, says a press release.
Zakaria Chowdhury led the siege of Pakistan high commission in London in 1968 in protest of Agartala Conspiracy Case and also sent renowned lawyer Sir Thomas Williams QC to East Pakistan to represent Bangabanghu at the court.
He returned to the country in 1970 following the fall of Ayub Khan but went back to London in 1971 when the War of Liberation broke out. There he played a key role in mobilising the public opinion and assistance in support of Bangladesh’s independence.
Zakaria Chowdhury returned to Bangladesh in 1972 and was made adviser to the government of president Ziaur Rahman in 1977.
He was instrumental in forming the Haor Development Board by president Zia in 1977.
Zakaria Chowdhury became the lawmaker for Habiganj-2 constituency in the general election in 1996.