Jatiya Party Secretary General Ziauddin Bablu dies at 66

Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu
Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu, the secretary general of Jatiya Party, has died from complications related to COVID-19 at the age of 66.

He passed away on Saturday morning while receiving treatment at the Bangladesh Specialized Hospital in Dhaka’s Shyamoli, party press aide Khandaker Delwar Jalali told bdnews24.com.

The Jatiya Party secretary general was admitted to Labaid Hospital in Dhaka on Sept 7 after contracting COVID-19, according to Mahmud Alam, Jatiya Party's joint office secretary. He was later transferred to the Specialized Hospital.

“He contracted the coronavirus and was unable to leave the hospital afterwards due to ensuing complications,” Alam said.

The party announced that his funeral prayers will be held at Gulshan's Azad Mosque on Saturday, following the Isha prayers. Bablu will then be laid to rest at the Martyred Intellectuals Graveyard in Mirpur.

President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have expressed their condolences at his passing.

Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader also presented his condolences in a statement.

“Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu was a leader of the common people. From his student days until his death, he worked for the people’s welfare. His incomparable leadership was apparent from his time as a student, when he was elected as the GS of DUCSU by a huge margin," he said.

"Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu was uncompromising in his efforts to preserve human rights and was a vocal opponent of injustice his entire life.”

Quader also reminisced about Bablu’s role in the formation of the Jatiya Party.

The Jatiya Party has announced three days of mourning following their secretary general’s passing. A memorial is scheduled at the party headquarters on Sunday.

Former MP Bablu was born in Chattogram in 1954 and was serving his second term as Jatiya Party secretary general. He had also served as a deputy minister, state minister and minister during the HM Ershad government.

A student at the Dhaka University’s Department of English, Bablu was, at one time, the general secretary for the Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal Chhatra League. While serving as the DUCSU GS in the 1980s, Bablu made waves when he joined the ruling party of HM Ershad.

The military dictator first appointed him as advisor of educational affairs to the Dhaka University chancellor, then as deputy minister for education. He later became the state minister for finance and the minister for civil aviation and tourism.

Bablu was elected to parliament from Chattogram in 1988. He was re-elected to parliament in 2014. He had wanted to run again for the Eleventh National Parliamentary Elections, but was dissuaded by Ershad.

In 2014, Bablu held the position of Jatiya Party general secretary for two years. He was appointed to the post once again in 2020.

Bablu’s first wife, Prof Farida Akhtar, died of cancer in 2005. The couple had a son and a daughter. He later married Ershad’s niece Mehzabunnesa Rahman Tumpa.