Engr. Mosharraf Hossain

Engr. Mosharraf Hossain (born January 12 1943) is a Muslim Bangladeshi Politician and Freedom Fighter. He is leading Chittagong North District Awami League in the capacity of President. After his graduation from University of Engineering and Technology (Lahore) in 1966 he joined politics and was elected as a Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) of what was then East Pakistan in 1970. He was a valiant Freedom Fighter (Mukti Bahini) in the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 as a Sub-sector Commander and ran many successful operations during the war. He was also the member of Constituent Assembly of Bangladesh and one of the lawmaker of the Constitution of Bangladesh in 1972. After the independence of Bangladesh, he was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) in 1973, 1986 and 1996. After the 1996 election, he served the country as Minister of two portfolios: Ministry of Civil Aviation & Tourism; and Ministry Public Works and Housing . During his tenure as Minister he had done laudable development in housing, aviation and tourism sector. He had also taken several commendable steps against corruption in Bangladesh.

Childhood and family

Engr. Mosharraf was born in 1943 in the village of Dhoom of Mirsharai Upazila, in Chittagong, Bangladesh. His father, S. Rahman was a Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) of Pakistan (1960s) and a renowned businessman. S. Rahman started his business in Kolkata in 1944 and moved to Chittagong after the Partition of Bengal in 1947. In Chittagong he founded Orient Builders Corporation, an infrastructure development company, where he developed numerous roads, buildings and other important installations in Bangladesh. He also pioneered luxury bus services, Silver Arrow with fleet of 20 luxurious Mercedes buses for Cox’s Bazar and other areas of Bangladesh from Chittagong. S. Rahman also played a major role to jumpstart tourism business by building the first hotel resort, Hotel Sayeman in Cox's Bazar in 1964 and operated Government owned Rest House at Station Road in Chittagong. Engr. Mosharraf’s Grandfather, Fazlur Rahman was also a noble businessman and a social worker. Fazlur Rahman held a post as the President of Union Parishad in Mirsharai for about 20 years. Engr. Mosharraf’s Mother, Panjubunnesa was a social worker and a devotee to women’s education. She established the Panjubunnesa Girl’s School in Goloker Hut, which is now one of the best girl’s education centres in Mirsharai.

After his graduation from University of Engineering and Technology (Lahore), he returned to Chittagong and was married to Ayesha Sultana, daughter of Doctor Gholam Arshard, a prominent physician in Chittagong, in 1967. Engr. Mosharraf has three sons and a daughter. His sons were educated in the United States and currently engaged in their own and family businesses in Bangladesh while his daughter is currently a practising medical doctor in New York, USA.

Education and early political career

He studied at his village school in the early years. When his family moved to the Port City of Chittagong, he enrolled at Chittagong Collegiate School and completed his matriculation. Next, Engr. Mosharraf enrolled into Sir Ashutosh College and passed his Higher Secondary Certification Exam. In 1962, he enrolled in the department of Mining Engineering at University of Engineering and Technology (Lahore) and completed his BSc in 1966. During his studies in Lahore he led the East Pakistan Student Association and six point movement. He staged several processions and movement for the six point demand in Lahore. In 1965 he was appointed President of East Pakistan Student Association in light of justifying the six point demand of then East Pakistan. For the love of his country and the people he returned home and joined politics under the inspiration of MA Aziz of Awami League at age 27, leaving his lucrative Mining Engineering career in the western countries. He was elected as the Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) for the first time in 1970 from Mirsharai. After the liberation war, he was re-elected as the Member of Parliament in 1973. Successively, due to his honesty, integrity and sincere love for the people of Mirsharai he was re-elected in 1986 and in 1996 as the MP. After 1986 Election he was appointed as the opposition party Whip in the National Assembly. After the 1996 election, under the Awami League run Government, he managed the Ministry of Civil Aviation & Tourism and the Ministry of Public Works and Housing with utmost honesty and efficiency in the capacity of full cabinet Minister. In addition to his post as the President of Chittagong North District Awami League, he has been appointed as the member of Central Working Committee of AL.

Direct Participation in Bangladesh Liberation War

In 1971 Engr. Mosharraf directly participated in the great Liberation War of Bangladesh as a valiant Freedom Fighter (Mukti Bahini). He is one of the very few Members of Parliament who participated in Liberation War as a Freedom Fighter at that time. During the Liberation War he was engaged as the commander of the sub-sector under sector No 1. On the violent night of March 25, 1971, when Pakistani soldiers of 25 Brigade marched towards Chittagong from Comilla Cantonment with tanks and artilleries committing atrocities on their way, Engr. Mosharraf, upon receiving this information took his comrades and destroyed the Shubhopur Bridge by setting it ablaze so that 25 Brigade of Pakistan could not enter Chittagong in due time to commit more atrocities. Later Engr. Mosharraf took CNC special training from India and entered the country and conducted more successful operations against Pakistani Army. He was nearly killed while on mission to destroy Eastern Refinery and while conducting some other important operations in Chittagong. After the liberation of Bangladesh, Engr. Mosharraf dedicated himself for the reconstruction of the country under the leadership of Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Engr. Mosharraf in Business Arena

Engr. Mosharraf started to look after his inherited family businesses so that financial problems do not hinder his political and social activities. At one stage in 1983, he founded GasMin Limited "GasMin Limited" an 2000 certified Construction and Engineering Firm primarily providing services in the energy sector development in Bangladesh. As an Engineer and Managing Director of GasMin he has successfully completed many major Gas Pipeline Construction and other energy sector development projects in the country. Next, he further expanded the Hotel Sayeman which was first built by his father in 1964 into a 75 room resort with swimming pool and other modern amenities. In order to develop the tourism and investment atmosphere in the port city of Chittagong, he further went into development of a long awaited Four Star Hotel, The Peninsula Chittagong, under joint venture investment from the United States on his family owned land in GEC Circle of Chittagong. While a major bank is financing the hotel project, Engr. Mosharraf’s family owns part of the share of the holding company of the hotel. The four star international standard hotel has been frequented by many foreign tourists, business travelers, diplomats and major league players from several countries and received excellent commendations from all.

His Role as a Cabinet Minister

After the general election in 1996, Engr. Mosharraf was entrusted with two important portfolios as a full Cabinet Minister: for Ministry of Civil Aviation & Tourism, and Ministry of Public Works & Housing under the Awami League regime. With his analytical and transparent mind-set as an Engineer he conducted all activities in his Ministries with transparency, efficiency and determination. Some of his notable tasks as a cabinet Minister are described below:

Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism:

• Although the lone National Airlines, Biman Bangladesh was in a very dilapidated state prior to his takeover, Engr. Mosharraf was able to turn around this loss-making organization into a customer service oriented, responsible and profitable airline under his leadership. • During his Ministry he ensured smooth services to all Hajj Pilgrims which was praised by many pilgrims. Each year all Hajj flights were managed and operated smoothly and successfully under his ministry. • He made major development at the Zia International Airport such as: expansion of the terminal hall; establishment of cargo-village; refurbishment of departure lounge; additional boarding bridge connection; construction of multistoried car parking; refurbishment and development of arrival lounge; and many other development & modernization of the international airport. • Due to his strong determination and transparency he was able to complete the construction of new Chittagong MA Hannan International Airport before the due date. This is a very rare example in Bangladesh for such a large project. • Due to his timely action and determination he was able to turn Bangladesh Biman into a 25 Billion Taka National Organization with expanded assets and fleets. • In order to protect the scenic beauty and environment of Cox’s Bazar Sea Beach area, he was holding back the allotment of the beach side government properties to public. He had a master plan with integrated project and landscaping to uphold the beauty and environment of Cox’s Bazar beach. Unfortunately, under the next Four Party Alliance government, these protected lands were allotted to their own party men.

Ministry of Housing and Public Works:

• As a Minister of Housing and Public Works he established the National Housing Authority, and National Housing authority Act 2000 in order to solve the enormous housing problem of the country, particularly for the poor, the low and the middle-income group of people. • After taking charge of the Ministry Engr. Mosharraf has successfully stopped many unethical and corrupt practices in the Ministry of Public Works such as grabbing of land by certain corrupt and influential people with the help of unscrupulous government officials with fraudulent land document. He even had to face court charges and appeared personally before court in order to save government owned lands from the land grabbers. • In his own initiative he “Jaladhara Act (Lowland Act) 2000” to protect the environment as some land grabbers were illegally filling low lands such as lakes, creeks, rivers and ponds and causing enormous environmental damage. • In order to keep the process simple, transparent and free from party influence Engr. Mosharraf handed over the land allotment authority to a committee headed by the Secretary of Public Works. • In order to keep government land safe from Land Pirates, he made some changes in the system to close legal loop holes. • By developing 1000 flats for the NAM village under tender through RAJUK & PWD he tried to ease the housing problems in Dhaka. • He recovered many illegally occupied government lands by eviction drive in Dhaka city. • Notably, he took stern measures against the infamous Rangs Bhaban near Airport Road as they violated the height restrictions of six stories by adding 8 additional floors above the existing six storied building. Unfortunately, due to intervention from High Court the measures could not be taken against the owners of Rangs Bhaban. • He evicted the slum dwellers from Dhanmondi Lake and restored the lake with walkways and resting areas. Similarly he took steps to recover lake areas in Gulshan and Banani and restore the lake areas for public recreation, however, the government tenure ended before he could complete it. • He initiated the development of amphitheatre at the DC Hill in Chittagong along with a walkway and park for cultural activities and recreation.

Social Work of Engr. Mosharraf

Engr. Mosharraf’s father, Late S. Rahman was a responsible and caring citizen with keen interest for education for mass. In order to put the neglected village education on the right track, S. Rahman built the first School, Falzlur Rahman High School, near his village in 1960 with his private funding. Further, he founded and donated for the historic and renowned Nizampur College, which was built in 1964 in Mirsharai Thana. Engr. Mosharraf kept his father’s legacy alive and continued to develop and expanded more educational institutes in order to educate the people of Mirsharai, as he believes that Education is the only key to success. In the meantime, with own funding he expanded his father’s established Fazlur Rahman High School, built new school buildings and introduced information technology with computers. Thus he managed to turn F Rahman High School as one of the best high school in Mirsharai. As Engr. Mosharraf’s mother was a promoter of female education in Mirsharai, he took extra initiative to develop female education in Mirsharai and helped establishing Panjebunnesa Girls High School (named after his mother), Mirsharai Girls High School, Jafrabad Girls’ High School, Jorergonj Girls High School, Fatema Polli Girls’ High School and Baroyer Hut Girls High School.

For last 36 years he developed many primary and secondary educational institutes in his electoral area for the overall development of the education for the people of Mirsharai. For the higher education of the poor village students he too initial steps to establish Mirsharai College, Baroyer Hut College, Jorargonj Girls College. For the development of religious studies he helped upgrade Latifa Madrasa situated in Mirsharai Sadar into Kamil Madrasa. Besides, the S. Rahman Trust, named after his education aficionado father Late S. Rahman, has been working in the development and expansion of the educational institutes in the area. Besides development of educational institutes, he helped in the development of Mosques and Madrasas in the area. During his tenure as a Minister and Member of Parliament he developed road communications, bridges, culverts, sluice gates, excavation of irrigation channels, development of mahamaya chara (fountain), educational institutes, religious facilities and other infrastructure.

His Arbitrary Detention under Military Backed Caretaker Government

On 25th of February, Engr. Mosharraf Hossain, was arrested arbitrarily by the Joint Forces under the Special Power Act of Emergency Rule of the Military backed Care Taker Government of Bangladesh (CTG) in front of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) in Dhaka. Engr. Mosharraf went to ACC to submit his wealth statement on that day to support the drive against corruption.

Minutes before his arrest by undercover Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) members, he expressed to the print & TV reporters that he appreciated the drive against corruption and asked everyone not just the suspected “corrupt” politicians to submit their wealth statement. As a valiant Freedom Fighter of the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh , Engr. Mosharraf has always fought against oppression and corruption all throughout his life. He staged movements against the immediate past 4 Party Alliance led government that was plagued with corruption, nepotism, terrorism and oppression. Due to his stance for democracy and fight against corruption he was implicated in false charges by the past BNP & Jamat led government. Throughout his 40 years of political career Engr. Mosharraf Hossain upheld democracy, integrity and transparency. It is unfortunate that a clean politician like Engr. Mosharraf was arrested and still under detention without any charges. After two months of hearing, on 30th of May 2007, the High Court gave an order to free Engr. Mosharraf Hossain declaring his detention illegal, however, the Attorney General immediately filed an appeal to Supreme Court and received a stay order on the ruling till 26th of July 2007.


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