Zainul Haque Sikder, chairman of Sikder Group of Companies and a freedom fighter, passed away on Wednesday. He was 91.
He breathed his last around 2:30pm (BST) at a hospital in Dubai where he had been undergoing treatment, family sources said.Zainul Haque Sikder was also the chairman of
National Bank Limited.
Meanwhile, President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury expressed shock at the death of Zainul Haque Sikder.
Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan also expressed deep shock and sorrow at the demise of the chairman of Sikder Group, one of the country’s largest industrial conglomerates.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim, Law Minister Anisul Huq, Information Minister Hasan Mahmud, State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan and Deputy Minister for Water Resources AKM Enamul Hoque Shameem also condoled his death.
An entrepreneur of post-independence Bangladesh, Zainul Haque Sikder was born on August 12, 1930 in Assam of undivided India and he migrated to present-day Bangladesh with his family during the partition in 1947.He was one of those who contributed greatly to the development and progress of Bangladesh. He established a large number of business ventures in the fields of education, health, housing and tourism.
Apart from establishing business entities, Zainul Haque Sikder developed numerous entrepreneurs. He extended a helping hand to many leading entrepreneurs of the country during their initial days of establishing businesses.
He was well-known as a philanthropist, too. Besides founding schools, colleges and hospitals, he extended support to efforts for poverty reduction and welfare of the underprivileged and marginal people.
Zainul Haque Sikder had been with Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as one of his close and trustworthy associates since 1945.
He arranged a Qulkhawani for Bangabandhu and his family members on August 19, 1975, four days after their brutal assassination, at Rayerbazar in the capital. For that, he had to face harassment and intimidation of the military intelligence and languish in jail.
Zainul Haque Sikder left the comfort of sleeping on the cot and started sleeping on the floor out of love for his beloved ‘Mujib Bhai’ after the assassination of Bangabandhu and continued the practice until the trial of the brutal murder began.
He set up several businesses in health, education, real estate and tourism sectors, which created employment opportunities for over 20,000 people, said a press release of Sikder Group.