The entire nation was shocked on Thursday night when news broke that Mayor Annisul Huq died at only 65. While the accomplished businessman had a prolific portfolio, the once hugely popular TV anchor and orator was undoubtedly defined by his work as the mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation.
Many think that his towering popularity as an anchor helped him to be elected the DNCC mayor in 2015.
Hailing from Noakhali, he was a regular host on Bangladesh Television (BTV) in the early 1980s.
He had hosted interviews with politically significant personalities.
He anchored programmes Anandamela and Antarale in state-run BTV. The programmes got huge popularity owing to his charismatic anchoring.
He also worked in the live programme on the state-run television announcing the results of the 1991 general elections.
However, Anisul turned into a successful businessman and founded the Mohammadi Group. The group has concerns in various areas, including power generation, readymade garments, ICT and real estate.
He started off with a business in the apparel sector and faced difficulties at the outset. But he overcame the barriers with hard work and perseverance. He achieved ‘CIP’ status from the government for his outstanding entrepreneurship quality.
He was the president of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturer and Exporter’s Association (BGMEA) for two terms. He was also the president of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI). Later he became the first mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation after the capital was split into two city corporations.
Huq was the president of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Independent Power Producers Association.
His brother General Abu Belal Mohammad Shafiul Huq is the current chief of Bangladesh Army, another brother Iqbal Huq is a doctor living in the United States, brother Helal Huq is a US Navy captain.
His wife Rubana is Managing Director of the Mohammadi Group while his daughter Tanisha Fariaman Huq is a director of the company.
With no apparent political ties, Annisul was a surprise pick by the ruling Awami League to contesting the mayoral election in 2015. But the huge popularity of Anisul as a TV anchor help him elected the mayor.
After being elected the DNCC mayor, he took many landmark steps, including evicting illegal structures from the public places and grounds.
A section of transport owners kept occupying the public places and a portion of roads for vehicle parking, causing traffic congestion and public sufferings. It was very difficult to stand against the vested quarter, but Anisul was the first mayor to have launched such eviction drives.