Former Bangladesh home minister Sahara Khatun MP dies at Bangkok aged 77

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-07-10 00:31:24 BdST

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Senior Awami League leader and former home minister Sahara Khatun has died at a Bangkok hospital at the age of 77.

The MP from Dhaka-18 breathed her last at 11:25pm BdST on Thursday, said her aide and relative Anisur Rahman, who was accompanying her there.

Party chief Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has mourned her longtime confidante Sahara.

President Md Abdul Hamid said in a condolence message that Bangladesh has lost a dedicated politician through the death of Sahara Khatun.

Sahara Khatun was admitted to a hospital in Dhaka on Jun 2 with a fever, allergy and other preexisting conditions and later moved to the intensive care unit when her condition deteriorated.

She was flown to Thailand and admitted to Bumrungrad Hospital last Monday.   

A member of the Awami League's presidium, Sahara Khatun is a three-time MP from the Dhaka seat.

She was made the home minister in 2009 and later served as the post and telecommunication minister.

It came as a surprise when Hasina picked Sahara, a Supreme Court lawyer by profession, as the home minister after returning to power.

Sahara was one of the Awami League leaders who proved their loyalty to Hasina during the 2007-08 emergency.

Besides representing Hasina in court at the time, Sahara earned praise for fighting cases against party leaders and activists for free.

Two months after taking charge as home minister, Sahara had faced the BDR mutiny.

She was criticised for the deaths of army personnel in the mutiny as well as hailed for her courage after she talked to the mutineers in person in efforts to start negotiations.

Sahara also faced criticisms for the failure to arrest the killers of journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi after vowing to solve the mystery within 48 hours. It is still a mystery after around a decade.

Sahara was born on Mar 1, 1943 in Dhaka to Abdul Aziz Master and Turjan Nesa.

After passing LLB, she joined the legal profession in 1981 as a junior lawyer to late president Zillur Rahman.

The founding president of Bangladesh Awami Ainjibi Parishad, she had worked as the chairperson of Bangladesh Bar Council’s finance committee.

She would often be met with disproportionate police brutality and intimidation in street agitations when the Awami League was in the opposition.

Sahara was one of the Awami League leaders and activists injured in the deadly grenade attack of Aug 21, 2004.

The Awami League fielded her as the candidate for Dhaka-5 against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in the 1991 election after Sahara had played a courageous role in the movement to topple military dictator HM Ershad.

She lost the election and the party chose not to nominate her in the polls of 1996 and 2001.

Sahara got Awami League the seat after winning the party ticket back in the 2008 elections.