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Rahman, Shah Azizur


Rahman, Shah Azizur (1925-1987)  lawyer and politician. He was born on 23 November 1925 in Kushtia. He obtained BA (Hons) degree in English Language and Literature from Calcutta University and BL degree from Dhaka University.

Shah Azizur Rahman was active in politics right from his student life. Between 1945 and 1947 he had been the general secretary of All Bengal Muslim Student League and took active part in Pakistan Movement. After the partition of India in 1947 he returned to Dhaka and was made the joint secretary of East Pakistan Muslim League. Azizur Rahman was antagonist to the Language Movement of 1952. He was elected as general secretary of East Pakistan Muslim League in 1952 and continued in this position till 1958. He contested in the National Assembly election in 1962 from Kushtia under the Basic Democracies system, and was defeated.

Shah Azizur Rahman joined the National Democratic Front (NDF) led by Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy in 1962 and actively took part in the movement for the restoration of democracy. He joined Awami League in March 1964 and was elected as vice president of the All Pakistan Awami League. He was elected a member of the National Assembly in 1965 from Kushtia NE-33 constituency under the Basic Democracies system. In June 1965 he was elected as deputy leader of the Combined Opposition Party (COP) in the National Assembly which office he held till 1969. Shah Azizur Rahman was one of the defending lawyers of the Agartala Conspiracy Case. He was however expelled from Awami League in 1970 for his activities subversive of the discipline of the party.

Shah Azizur Rahman joined the Jatiya League of Ataur Rahman Khan in 1970 and was elected as general secretary of the party. He contested in the National Assembly election in 1970 from Kushtia-2 constituency and was defeated. Shah Azizur Rahman was an antagonist to the War of Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, and was a member of the delegation of military janta of Pakistan to the United Nations Organisation. After the liberation of Bangladesh, Shah Azizur Rahman was arrested under the Collaborators Act and was released in December 1973 consequent upon the declaration of general amnesty by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

With the revival of Muslim League under the leadership of Abdus Sabur Khan in August 1976, Shah Azizur Rahman was elected as general secretary of the party. In June 1978, Azizur Rahman was included in the cabinet of President Ziaur Rahman and was in charge of the Ministry of Labour and Industry. He had been the senior vice president of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) from 1978 to 1985. He was elected a member of the Jatiya Sangsad in 1979 from Kushtia-3 constituency as a candidate of BNP. Shah Azizur Rahman was made the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Leader of the House on 15 April 1979, and continued in this position till 24 March 1982. In June 1985 there was a rift in the BNP and Shah Azizur Rahman led the faction of the party as chairman. But soon he declared his solidarity with the political programme of General Hussein Mohammad Ershad and joined his National Front on 17 August 1985. But within a few months he left the Front. In August 1989, Shah Azizur Rahman returned to the mainstream of BNP led by Begum Khaleda Zia.

Shah Azizur Rahman was an eloquent orator and an efficient parliamentarian. Besides Bangla and English, he was well versed in Urdu, Persian and Arabic. He died in Dhaka on 1 September 1989. [Muazzam Hussain Khan]