By F R Chowdhury    Jan. 14, 2018


As we embrace the New Year, I try to recollect some of the persons in our recent politics who, to the best of my knowledge, maintained a clean image in politics. They refrained from the lure of corruption. They neither made fortune out of politics nor allowed their family members to take advantage of their position. I discuss about a few of them:

Mr Saeedul Haq: At the time of his death, he was the minister in charge of Fisheries and Live-stocks. Bangladesh achieved lot of success in this sector during his tenure. His personal economic status never changed. He had a tin shed house before being a minister and still had the same when he died.

Mr Nurul Islam, B.Sc.: The Pakistani troops surrendered in Dhaka on 16-December-1971 but the surrender process in Chittagong concluded a day later. We heard on Shadhin Bangla Betar that Government had appointed Mr Nurul Islam, B.Sc. as the administrator of Chittagong region. We gathered at Chittagong Circuit House for his arrival. I still remember what he said on that day – “Nobody should take law in his own hands. It is not a time for revenge or to settle any score. All servants of the republic must report to their duties. Police must ensure law and order. Port and Railway employees must work hard to re-activate your respective organisations.” I admired the carefully chosen words of this politician.

Mr Islam became a minister very recently. He talks less and works more. Bangladesh achieved tremendous success in exporting man-power abroad. Irregularities have reduced. Nobody can accuse him of any corruption.

Syed Ashraful Islam: He is the son of late Syed Nazrul Islam. Syed Nazrul was the acting president of Bangladesh until arrival back of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Syed Ashraf has maintained a clean record in respect of corruption. It is heard that he refused any state assistance for medical treatment of his wife. He sold one of his properties for treatment of his beloved wife but she eventually died.

Motiur Rahman Nizami: His role during our liberation war was controversial. But as a minister he showed his knowledge, wisdom and competence. There was no chance that anybody could get near to him with any bribe offer.

Dr. Kamal Hossain: A trusted lieutenant of Late Sheikh Mujib. He headed three different ministries at three different times. He worked with equal efficiency and reputation. When he was asked to be the minister for oil, gas and mineral resources he studied the subject very extensively. He even studied the Indonesian agreements with major oil companies and became an expert of the subject. He was until recently Visiting Professor in Dundee Institute of Petro-chemical Industries. He is still an internationally renowned lawyer and kept his record clean.

Prof. Badruddoza: He was the co-founder of BNP with Late Ziaur Rahman. He served as a minister in Ziaur Rahman’s time and as president of the republic for a short period during Khaleda Zia’s BNP government. He remained well above any corruption or nepotism.

Mayeedul Islam: He belonged to an elite family. His father was the secretary-general of Pakistan Muslim League. He was brought into politics by Late Ziaur Rahman. Ershad needed him to continue in the beginning but later dropped him perhaps because Mr Islam did not belong to the give and take group. He went back to look after his business and industry. We never heard about him being involved in any corruption.

Justice Sahabuddin: He became president of the republic at a crucial time. He handled his responsibilities with utmost trust and confidence. He remained above all criticism.

Mr Sohel Taj: He is the son of late Tajuddin Ahmed who was the first prime minister of the country. It was under dynamic leadership of Mr Ahmed that Bangladesh won the liberation war. Sohel Taj was made a junior minister in cabinet. But soon he realised the corrupt system-procedure of the country. It is heard that one time he got a call from the airport if they should let a political opponent leave the country. His answer to the caller, “do your duty as per rules and procedures”. He resigned because he wanted to remain clean.

Mr M K Anwar: A former CSP officer who joined politics after retirement. In political life he was a minister for a full term. We never heard of any corruption charges against him. He did lot of good work for his own constituency. He was much loved person in his constituency.

Tarana Halim: She became a junior minister at quite young age. Within matter of days she made her presence known as she took bold decisions. She never compromised with any syndicate.

I have mentioned about some of the persons based on what I read in various newspapers. This does not mean that all others were corrupt. There may have been other honest persons in political life that I did not know about. However, I shall conclude this article with a request to all those in active politics to kindly refrain from taunting Late Ziaur Rahman about his torn vests and broken suitcase. I knew him personally. He was a 100% honest person. He never compromised his honesty and integrity.

London, 07-January-2018                                                                             <[email protected]>