By Nazrul Islam;
Dhaka – Atiqul Islam, a would be successor of trend-setter Annisul Huq whose tireless efforts had slightly comforted the dwellers in one of the world’s most densely populated cities, will have nothing but to follow footsteps of his predecessor.
An untimely and sad demise of Huq, a popular television host and successful businessman, later an elected mayor of northern Dhaka city, had apparently dashed the hopes of bringing order in a city of cacophony as the mayoral office remained vacant for more than a year over legal complexities.
With the legal complexities resolved, the election commission set February 28 for fresh voting (by-election) in Dhaka North City Corporation to allow electors to choose a fitting mayor to serve them.
And the ruling Awami League, which won a landslide parliamentary majority in the December 30 general election amid incidents of violence, has chosen a yet another successful businessman aiming at bettering the condition in the city unit.
Atiqul Islam, if voted to the office, will have to face a daunting challenge to keep up pace with the dream of his predecessor, Huq, who promised to build Dhaka into a clean, green and safe city.
The challenge is huge, especially when most of the city dwellers still live in their primitive mindsets on one hand and the service delivery is thorny in a constituency of more than five million populations on the other.
Huq was criticized, but he did not give up. He tried his level best making his efforts gallant, visible and result-oriented, and the upcoming mayor will have to be ruthless to thwart all city nuisances under his jurisdictions.
Thugs are there, and they will try to put up resistances, but the office of the mayor will have to be uncompromising to the vested interest groups. The efforts mayor Annisul had taken are seemed to be forgotten in his absence now.
And for that, it is for sure, the new mayor will get every possible supports from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has set vision to see Bangladesh as a prosperous nation by 2041 eliminating hunger, poverty, disparity and the vices of corruption.
Person like Atiqul Islam with a splendid family background is worthy to join the endeavor of bettering Dhaka, where he was brought up and nurstured his dreams for nearly six decades.
Born on July 1 of 1961 in Daudkandi of Cumilla district, Islam’s schooling was in BAF Dhaka Shaheen and then he graduated from prestigious Dhaka University before joining his business in garment sector in the mid 1980s.
He is younger among eleven siblings. His elder brother Md. Tafazzul Islam was the 17th chief justice of Bangladesh Supreme Court. Tafazzul Islam headed the five-member special bench of the Appellate Division that pronounced the landmark verdict in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman assassination case on November 19, 2009.
Another brother Mainul Islam was a lieutenant general of the Bangladesh Army. Another of his elders, Shariful Islam, is the chairman of Islam group, one of the pioneering companies in Bangladesh’s garment manufacturing.
His father Momtajuddin Ahmed was a senior officer in police department and mother Mazeda Ahmed was housewife.
Atiqul Islam served Bangladesh’s apparel sector, which adds nearly 80 per cent of the country’s export earnings, as a president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in 2013-2014.
His nomination as Awami League candidate for DNCC was announced when the election commission declared the polls in early 2018. But, the by-election, which initially scheduled for February 26, 2018, was postponed because of a High court order on two separate writ petitions that sought stay on holding of the polls.
As the election commission announced fresh date for the by-polls, the ruling Awami League at a joint meeting of the party’s Local Government Election Nomination Board and Parliamentary Board on Saturday came up with unanimous decision to nominate Islam for contesting as Dhaka’s north city mayor.
Awami League chief Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting.
A total of 10 party aspirants collected nomination forms to contest the by-polls to the DNCC.