Swedish judge of Pakistani origin wants to be buried in Bangladesh
Dhaka, December 14: Syed Asif Shahkar, a Swedish national of Pakistani origin, who retired as a judge from the Swedish High Court Division in 2017, has written to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina seeking Bangladesh citizenship and expressing his desire to be buried in Bangladesh soil.
This information has been given in a report of BBC Bengal. Although the report did not mention when the letter was written, a voluntary organization named 'Amra Ekattar' said it would deliver the letter to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh this week.
According to the report, the government of Bangladesh gave Justice Shahkar the 'Friends of Liberation War' award in December 2012 for his role in the Liberation War in 1971. On March 25, 1971, Justice Shahkar was arrested while protesting against the massacre by the Pakistani army called 'Operation Searchlight'. He was released in 1972.
Justice Shahkar told the BBC that even after being released from prison, he was branded a traitor and hated in his home country of Pakistan. He went to Sweden with political asylum in 1977 after being fed up. But his life in Sweden was also difficult.
He said, "In Pakistan, I only faced hatred from Pakistanis, but when I came to Sweden, I found that the people of the Bangladeshi community there were hating me for 1971 as a resident of Pakistan and Punjab."
Then in 2000, due to his acquaintance with an official of the Bangladesh mission assigned to Sweden, he first faced the Bangladeshis there and took the initiative to break their misconceptions. That year he took the initiative to come to Bangladesh. But after the new government came in 2001 under the four-party coalition, his efforts stopped.
Justice Shahkar said, after that in 2010, he again contacted the ambassador of Bangladesh appointed in Sweden. In 2012, the Government of Bangladesh awarded him the 'Friends of Liberation War' award in recognition of his role in 1971.
He told the BBC, "Since I cannot be buried there if I am not a citizen of Bangladesh, I have written a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asking for Bangladeshi citizenship."
In the letter, he mentioned, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her speech while awarding the 'Friends of Bangladesh' said that the foreigner who supported the freedom war was also a freedom fighter.