Sayed Ashraful Islam

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Syed Ashraful Islam
সৈয়দ আশরাফুল ইসলাম
Sayed Ashraful Islam.jpg
Minister of Public Administration
In office
22 July 2015 – 3 January 2019
Succeeded bySheikh Hasina
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and Co-operative
In office
6 January 2009 – 9 July 2015
Succeeded byKhandaker Mosharraf Hossain
State Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism
In office
23 June 1996 – 15 July 2001[1]
Preceded byMuhiuddin Khan Alamgir
Succeeded byMir Mohammad Nasiruddin
Member of Parliament
In office
2008 – 3 January 2019
Preceded byAlauddin Ahammad
Succeeded bySyeda Zakia Noor Lipi
General Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League
In office
2009 – 23 October 2016
Preceded byAbdul Jalil
Succeeded byObaidul Quader
Personal details
Bornc. 1952
Mymensingh, East Bengal, Dominion of Pakistan
Died3 January 2019(2019-01-03) (aged 66–67)
Bangkok, Thailand
Political partyBangladesh Awami League
SpouseSheila Thakur

Sayed Ashraful Islam (c. 1952 – 3 January 2019) was a Bangladesh Awami League politician. He was the General Secretary of the Bangladesh Awami League party. He served as a member of parliament and minister of public administration of the Government of Bangladesh.[2] Islam also served for a time as Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.[3][4][5]

Early life[edit]

Syed Ashraful Islam was the eldest son of Syed Nazrul Islam, acting president of the Mujibnagar government in 1971.[6] Islam was a Mukti Bahini member during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. He was involved in politics from the student life. He became the General Secretary of greater Mymensingh District Chhatra League and assistant publicity secretary of the central unit. He also worked as the Acting General Secretary of Awami League after the arrest of its general secretary, Abdul Jalil. He was also working as the spokesman of Bangladesh Awami League Party before serving as General Secretary of the Awami League.[7]

Political career[edit]

In 1975, following the killing of Islam's father in prison along with three other national leaders, he immigrated to the United Kingdom and lived in London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Whilst living in Tower Hamlets, he was involved in Bangladeshi community activism and played an important role in formation of Bangladesh Youth League (BYL). He was elected as an Education Secretary of Federation of Bangladeshi Youth Organisation (FBYO) and worked at an education project based at Montefiore Centre in Tower Hamlets. Before immigrating to the United Kingdom, he completed Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) in 1973 from Mymensingh Zillah School. He returned to Bangladesh in 1996 and was elected Member of Parliament (MP) from his home constituency, Kishoreganj Sadar, in the 7th national elections of Bangladesh. He was elected an MP in the 2001 election as well. He worked as a member of the parliamentary standing committee on foreign ministry. His electoral pledges include building up developed road and rail link from Dhaka to his home town, Kishoreganj. He was part of a committee to study the judicial pay scale.[8] Ashraful was re-elected from Kishoreganj-1 constituency in the 11th parliamentary election which was held on 30 December 2018.[9]


Islam questioned the role of Bangladesh in the Saudi-led military alliance against terror.[10] He has criticised Bangladesh Bank and the Finance Ministry for the high rate of interest.[11]

Criticism of Muhammad Yunus[edit]

Islam is known for his attacks on Nobel laureate and Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus. In 2012, while addressing a program for farmers of cooperatives, he said:[12]

His (Yunus's) basic subject is economics and he introduced microcredit programme, but did not get Nobel Prize in economics, ... He (Yunus) got Nobel Prize for Peace. But which war has he stopped with his activities and in which continent has he established peace through his microcredit program?

These days many of us know how one gets Nobel Prize. There are some countries in the world and a person's popularity increases once one has chips, cheese sandwiches and white wine in those countries.[13]

Criticism of American diplomats[edit]

Islam also criticised American diplomats. In the same gathering where he criticised Muhammad Yunus, he criticised Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a TV program on ATN Bangla, alleging that she and the moderator, Munni Saha, were "attempting to undermine Bangladesh."[12][13]

In 2014, in a meeting in Khulna, Islam called the US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal, who was on an official visit to Bangladesh, "a minister of two pennies," and added that said she "cannot change the power in Bangladesh."[14] On the same occasion, he belittled the US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan Mozena, calling him "maid Marzina."[15]


In November 2018, Islam was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer.[16][17] He died on 3 January 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.[18]


  1. ^ "Syed Ashraful Islam- Universally respected". Dhaka Tribune. 4 January 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Parliamentary body summons BB's audit report". Prothom Alo. Archived from the original on 19 October 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Awami League Central Working Committee". Bangladesh Awami League. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Ashraf calls upon BNP to do peaceful politics". The Daily Star. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Syed Ashraful Islam declines comment after losing LGRD ministry". Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Bangabandhu remembered on Homecoming Day". Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  7. ^ "PSC, EC to get equal status". The Daily Star. BSS. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Cabinet committee to work on judiciary pay scale". Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  9. ^ "The death of a radiant star". The Daily Star. 4 January 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Ashraf questions joining Saudi alliance". The Daily Star. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Syed Ashraf flays finance minister, Bangladesh Bank for 'high' interest rate on loans". Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Ashraf snipes at Yunus". The Daily Star. The Daily Star. 11 May 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Syed Ashraf swipes at Yunus, Hillary Clinton". Financial Express. Financial Express. 11 May 2012. Archived from the original on 18 October 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  14. ^ "Nisha Desai is a minister of two pennies: Syed Ashraful". 29 November 2014. Archived from the original on 18 October 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  15. ^ Ferdous, Hasan (4 December 2014). "Ashraf remarks may hurt US relations". Prothom Alo. Prothom Alo. Archived from the original on 26 November 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Ashraf seriously ill with cancer". The Daily Star. 4 November 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Syed Ashraf diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer". Dhaka Tribune. 4 November 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Minister Syed Ashraful Islam dies in Bangkok". Retrieved 5 January 2019.