Pakistan-origin Swedish judge Asif Shahkar gets Bangladesh citizenship

Muktijoddha Maitri Awardee Pakistani origin Swedish judge Syed Asif Shahkar has got Bangladesh citizenship as he wished to be buried in Bangladesh.

It was said in a letter of the Ministry of Home Affairs signed by Md Saiful Islam, Additional Secretary that Asif Shahkar has been provided the citizenship certificate on Wednesday.

Earlier, Shahkar wrote a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina seeking Bangladeshi citizenship and expressing his desire to be buried in Bangladesh soil.

As per the Article four of the Bangladesh Citizenship (Temporary Provisions) Order, 1972 (P.O. No. 149 of 1972) and under the said order, he got the citizenship.

He said: “Today I have been reborn as a citizen of Bangladesh. Today I have been reborn as a citizen of the country and its people that I have loved since 1971.”

“I am very happy today because I can breathe my last among the martyred and valiant freedom fighters of Bangladesh,” he added.

Expressing his firm determination to follow the footsteps of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he saluted the greatest Bangalee of the nation as well as the great leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Asif Shahkar was born in Panjab and in 1971 he was 22 years old.

Young Shahkar protested, held rallies, wrote poems and distributed leaflets in support of Bangladesh Liberation War and as a result, he faced hatred from his family, society and the people of Pakistan.

He was general secretary of Punjab Students’ Union and a section of people of West Pakistan protested the ruthless and brutal genocide of the Pakistani regime called ‘Operation Search Light’ on the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on the dark night of March 25, 1971.

He was imprisoned as a ‘traitor’ then and during the nine months of Liberation War, he endured mental and physical tortures in Pakistan prison. But young Shahkar did not go against Bangladesh. He was released from captivity after December 16, 1971 with the victory of Bangladesh.

Later, he worked as a producer in Pakistan Television for some times in Lahore but he could not stay in Pakistan for long with the recognition of ‘Kulangar’ (black sheep) in his own country. In 1977, he went to Sweden for political asylum. He started his new struggle for living. Later, he was appointed as a judge of the High Court Division of Sweden.

After 41 years of independence, Justice Shahkar came to Bangladesh to receive the Liberation War Friendship Award in 2012 at an invitation of the Bangladesh government. Late President Md Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presented the award to him on December 15, 2012.


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