Azad, Abdus Samad

Azad, Abdus Samad (1926-2005) politician. He was born on 15 January 1926 at village Bhurakhali in Jagannathpur thana of Sunamganj district. His father was Mohammad Shariatullah. He passed matriculation examination in 1943 from Sunamganj Government High School and obtained his graduation from Sylhet Murarichand College in 1948.

Abdus Samad Azad

Abdus Samad joined politics as early as 1940 as the president of Sunamganj Sub-division all bengal muslim students’ association. He was detained a number of times because of his active role played in political movements. As the president of Sylhet District Chhatra Federation between 1944 and 1948 he organized support for Pakistan movement. He suffered imprisonment for his participation in the language movement of 1952. As a left wing politician, he worked in disguise first as a school teacher and then as an executive in an insurance company in the early 1950s, when left politics was banned. He was the acting president of East Pakistan Youth League in 1953. As a candidate of the united front, Azad was elected to the provincial assembly in 1954.    

In 1955, he joined the Awami League and had been its Labour Secretary till 1957. He was again imprisoned in 1956 because of his involvement with the police strikes in East Pakistan.

Abdus Samad Azad left the Awami League along with many other leftist leaders led by Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani in July 1957, when the party split on ideological grounds. He was once more put behind the bars following the imposition of martial law in Pakistan by ayub khan in 1958. He was released in 1962, but was again arrested in 1964 while actively resisting the communal riot.

Abdus Samad Azad returned to the Awami League in 1969 and was elected as president of Sylhet district unit of the party. He was elected a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1970. During the War of Liberation he was one of the organisers of the Bangladesh Government-in-Exile in Mujibnagar. Azad was a political adviser to the Mujibnagar Government and also worked as its visiting ambassador. He became Minister for Foreign Affairs in December 1971. After the liberation, Abdus Samad Azad was made the Minister for Agriculture in the cabinet of Bangabandhu sheikh mujibur rahman in 1972.

Abdus Samad Azad was elected a member of the Jatiya Sangsad as a nominee of Awami League in 1973 from two constituencies. He was again elected to the Jatiya Sangsad from Sunamganj-3 constituency in 1991, 1996 and 2001. Azad was arrested after the 1975 military coup and was behind the bar till 1978.

Azad was the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the cabinet of sheikh hasina (1996 to 2001). He was a member in the parliamentary standing committees on expatriate welfare, foreign employment and the water resources (2001-2006) in the eighth Jatiya Sangsad.

Abdus Samad Azad died in Dhaka on 27 April 2005. [Helal Uddin Ahmed]