Choudhury, Justice Abu Sayeed

Justice Abu Sayeed Choudhury

Choudhury, Justice Abu Sayeed (1921-1987) jurist, President of Bangladesh. Abu Sayeed Choudhury was born on 31 January 1921 in a landed family of Nagbari in Tangail district. His father Abdul Hamid Choudhury was the speaker of the East Pakistan Provincial Assembly.

Abu Sayeed Choudhury did his graduation in 1940 from the Presidency College in Calcutta, obtained his Masters (1942) and Law degrees from Calcutta University and Bar-at-Law from Lincoln’s Inn in London. He joined the Calcutta High Court Bar in 1947. After partition of India (1947) he came over to Dhaka and joined the Dhaka High Court Bar in 1948.

In 1960,  Abu Sayeed Choudhury was appointed Advocate General of East Pakistan,  and was made a judge of the High Court in July 1961. He had been a member of the Constitution Commission of Pakistan (1960-61) and chairman of the Bengali Development Board (1963-1968).Justice Choudhury was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University in 1969. In 1971, while in Geneva, he resigned from his post as Vice-Chancellor in protest against the Genocide committed in East Pakistan by the Pakistan army.

From Geneva he went to London to work as special envoy of the Mujibnagar Government and achieved considerable success in mobilising world opinion in favour of Bangladesh war of liberation.

After liberation, Justice Choudhury returned to Dhaka and was made the President of Bangladesh on 12 January 1972. On 10 April 1973, he was again elected the President of Bangladesh, and in December of the same year he resigned to become special envoy for external relations with the rank of a minister. On 8 August 1975, he was included in the cabinet of Bangabandhu sheikh mujibur rahman as minister of Ports and Shipping. After Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was assassinated on 15 August 1975 Justice Choudhury became the minister for Foreign Affairs in the cabinet of President khondakar mostaq ahmad, a position he held till 7 November 1975.

In 1978, Justice Choudhury was elected a member of the United Nations Sub-committee on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. In 1985, he was elected chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission. He was honoured with the insignia of 'Deshikottam' by the Visvabharati University. Calcutta University awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. His book Probasey Muktijuddher Dingooli (1990) is a valuable contribution to the understanding of Bangladesh War of Liberation. He died in London on 2 August 1987. [Enamul Haq]