Annisul Huq: An enlightened soul
For his honesty, candour and integrity, Annisul Huq was not only an icon in politics but also an idol among Bangladeshi youth. He is known for his multifarious interests in culture, business and literature. He passed away on 30 November, 2017, in a London hospital, leaving his family, friends and well-wishers in great sorrow. He was only 65.
He was born on October 27, 1952, in Kabirhat, Noakhali. He was an entrepreneur, television show host, and the mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation. He passed SSC from Dinajpur Zilla School in 1970. He completed his bachelor degree from University of Rajshahi and had a master's degree in Economics from University of Chittagong. He was a regular host on Bangladesh Television in the early 1980s. He had hosted many cultural programmes and interviewed significant political personalities while working with the BTV. Before the election in 1991, he interviewed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chief Khaleda Zia.
Annisul Huq had diverse interests in many other fields. He was a successful businessman in his decades-long business career. In 1986, he established his own business, Mohammadi Group. He was the Chairperson of the company until his death. As of 2007, the group had 7,000 employees in the textile and garments sector. The conglomerate is also involved in real estate, IT and a power generation company that directly contributes to the national grid and a distribution company that represents multiple foreign television channels. The group has an independent TV Channel named Nagorik.
He earned reputation for his impressive leadership. He is the former president of several apex bodies including the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Federation of the Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and Independent Power Producers Association. While holding offices of these key organizations, he worked for the grassroots and helped implement government policies.
He was elected the mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation on ticket of Bangladesh Awami League in the City Corporation election of 2015. According to the affidavits submitted to the Election Commission in March 2015, he had amassed a net worth of US 3.25 million dollars. Though his nomination was a little surprise for many, he promised to build Dhaka a clean, green and safe city, and he kept his promises after his electoral win. There have been so many innovations of Dhaka city during his mayoral stint. He made it clear that he will not put up with resistance from vested interests in his clean-up efforts. He also promised to reduce corruption among governmental employees.
Annisul Huq's brother General Abu Belal Mohammad Shafiul Huq is the current chief of Bangladesh Army. He was married to Rubana Huq, who is equally famous in the literary circle in Bangladesh. His premature death is an irreparable loss for our country. The nation will mourn for such an enlightened and valiant soul for a long time.