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All in the family
Enmities and animosities aside, relationships in political, business and other circles make an interesting socio-political network that turns the
wheels of the nation
by ANWAR PARVEZ HALIM
Love conquers all and this was proven recently by the young couple Barrister Fazle Nayeem and Sarah Hasin Mahmud when they tied the knot of matrimony despite all odds. In a replay of the Romeo-Juliet dilemma, Fazle Nayeem is the son of Awami League presidium member Sheikh Selim. Sarah Hasin Mahmud, on the other hand, is the daughter of BNP leader Iqbal Hasan Tuku. And the bitter rivalry between the two opposing political parties is not secret. But that posed as no bar and on July 15 they married. They had a grand wedding with the who's who of the political arena and other big names of the social spectrum in attendance. This ceremony came as a breath of fresh air in the otherwise suffocating atmosphere of political hostilities.
For about three decades now Awami League and BNP have been locked in bitter enmity. The leaders have been engaged in vitriolic exchanges in parliament, in public meetings and wherever they get the chance. In fact, their animosity has created a Great Divide in the society as a whole.
However, there is always a silver lining to any dark cloud and even amidst this animosity, family ties and social bonds exist. In fact, political observers point to many instances where political rival attack each other during the day, but sit at the same adda after dark.
Like Nayeem and Sarah, there are many relationships within the political arenas as well as in business and other elite circles, resembling the social phenomenon -- six degrees of separation, where everyone seems related! It's all in the family and that is what this week's cover story is all about.
The Sheikh family
Sheikh Kamal, the eldest son of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and brother of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, married sportswoman Sultana Khuki, daughter of the Chief Engineer of Dhaka University. Khuki's brothers Rafiq and Khokan both live in Dhaka presently.
Sheikh Jamal, the second son of Sheikh Mujib, married his cousin Parveen Rosy, daughter of Joint Secretary Syed ATM Mohammed Hossain. Syed ATM Mohammed Hossain was the brother-in-law of Sheikh Mujib.
Sheikh Rehana, sister of Sheikh Hasina, is married to Dr. Shafiq Siddiqui. Her husband's younger brothers are Rafiq Siddiqui and Maj. Gen. (retd) Tareq Siddiqui. Tareq Siddiqui is presently the Defense Advisor. Sheikh Rehana's father-in-law was Siddique Master. He had owned vast stretches of land in what is now known as Banani before it was acquired by the Pakistan government to build up the present residential area. Ivy Rahman, the late wife of President Zillur Rahman, is the sister-in-law of Siddique Master. So, in essence, President Zillur Rahman is an uncle of Sheikh Rehana, through marriage.
Sheikh Helal, son of Sheikh Mujib's younger brother Sheikh Naser, is presently a member of parliament. His daughter has married Barrister Andaleeb Partho, son of the late JP leader Naziur Rahman Manzur. Partho is now the President of Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP) and MP from Bhola.
The late Sheikh Fazlul Huq Moni (better known as Sheikh Moni), Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim (better known as Sheikh Selim) and Sheikh Maruf are the sons of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's elder sister. In other words, they are the cousins of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Sheikh Moni has two sons. Barrister Taposh and Porosh. Barrister Taposh was elected MP from the Dhanmondi constituency this time.
Former Health Minister Sheikh Selim is presently an MP. He was Chairman of Jubo League. Among her relations, it is said that Hasina finds Sheikh Selim the most reliable and trustworthy. Sheikh Selim's daughter is married to the son of the self-declared Prince Musa Bin Shamsher. The ukil baap (godfather) at the wedding was former President Hussain Muhammed Ershad. Musa Bin Shamsher was a manpower businessman, the owner of Gatco. Sheikh Selim's son Fazle Nayeem recently married Sarah, daughter of BNP leader Tuku.
Sheikh Selim's sister was married to the late Bangladesh Jatiya Party leader and former minister Naziur Rahman Manzur. Politics had created a gap between the two families. Upon Naziur's death, his son Partho took over as the party Chairman and also became MP from Bhola. He has married Sheikh Helal's daughter.
Abul Hasnat Abdullah is the son of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's sister. His father Abdur Rab Serniabat was the Water Resources Minister of the Mujib government.
Former Chief Whip Abul Hasnat Abdullah has three sons. Of them, Ashiq Abdullah and Sadek Abdullah face criminal charges. Ashiq Abdullah married the sister of Imon, known to be a top criminal of Dhaka city. Ashiq's mother-in-law is Dr. Sultana Jahan.
Sheikh Shaheedul Islam (better known as Sheikh Shaheed) is Sheikh Hasina's cousin, the son of her mother's sister. Former President of Chhatra League, Sheikh Shaheed was Education Minister of the Ershad government. His relations with the Sheikh family deteriorated after he left Awami League to join Jatiya Party. Sheikh Shaheed married the daughter of Janata Bank's former MD Salehin. Salehin is the cousin of Dr. Fakhruddin, former Chief Advisor of the caretaker government.
General Mustafizur Rahman was an uncle of Sheikh Hasina. He was married to Sheikh Mujib's cousin. After forming the government in 1996, Sheikh Hasina recalled him from LPR and made him the Army Chief. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General. Later during the rule of Dr. Fakhruddin's caretaker government, he was stripped of this rank. He died during the tenure of the caretaker government.
President Zillur Rahman married Ivy Rahman, daughter Dhaka College lecturer and renowned educationist Jalauddin. They had two daughters, Tania and Moina, and a son Najmul Hasan Papon. Papon has been elected MP from Bhairab in the by-election. He is presently managing Director of Beximco. His father-in-law is established businessman Abdul Hashem.
Linking Hasina and Khaleda!
Arch rivals though they may be, there are family links between Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia. Khaleda's son Tareq Rahman is married to Dr. Zubeida, daughter of former Naval Chief MA Khan. MA Khan is related to Sheikh Hasina's family and so, in that way, albeit far-fetched, Hasina and Khaleda are related.
The brother brigade
The late Abdul Jabbar, Speaker of the Pakistan National Assembly, is the father of the late Obaidullah Khan, former secretary, former minister and renowned poet; journalist Sadeq Khan; late AZM Enayetullah Khan, journalist and diplomat; politician Rashed Khan Menon, President of Workers Party; businessman Shahidullah Khan Badal, publisher of New Age; Monon, who lives abroad; Bablu and Lablu, who live in Australia; former minister Selima Rahman; Shireen; Cherry and Mimi, both whom has passed away.
Of these siblings, Rashed Khan Menon and Selima Rahman are active in politics. Menon is an MP. Selima Rahman was minister for the four-party alliance government.
Journalist Enayetullah Khan Mintoo first married Leena Khan, sister of internationally renowned architect FR Khan and political scientist Dr. Zillur Rahman. Dr. Zillur Rahman, who resides in the US, is married to Tanzina Rahman Loton, elder sister of Tasmima Hossain. Tasmima Hossain is the wife of Manik Miah's younger son former minister Anwar Hossain Manju. While Ambassador to Myanmar, Enayetullah Khan married a Burmese woman. He later married Najma Chowdhury, TV personality and daughter of former Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University Abdul Matin Chowdhury. She had previously been married to Maj. Gen. Abdur Rahman. She was also married to actor Utpal.
Shahidullah Khan Badal is married to Dr. Naila Khan, daughter of Col. Kazi Nuruzzaman, Sector Commander of the Liberation War. Dr. Naila Khan's sister is dancer Lubna Mariam. Lubna Mariam's daughter Anushey is a popular singer married to musician Buno, son of Imran Ahmed, formerly MP of Sylhet-4.
A President and a doctor
Former President and renowned physician Prof. Dr. Badruddoza Chowdhury is the son of Kafiluddin Chowdhury, MP of East Pakistan. He entered politics as a direct associate of Ziaur Rahman. He was BNP Secretary General, became an MP, a minister and then went on to become the President of Bangladesh. However, having gone against party interests, he was impeached and beat an exit from BNP. He then formed a fresh party, Bikalpadhara, then LDP and then back to Bikalpadhara again.
B Chowdhury's wife Maya is the sister of Panna Kaiser. That makes actress Shomi Kaiser and young politician Mahi B Chowdhury cousins. Panna Kaiser's husband was the martyred journalist Shahidullah Kaiser. His younger brother was Zahir Raihan. Zahir Raihan's cousin is journalist Shahriar Kabir, writer and head of the Nirmul Committee. Shahriar Kabir married Dana, sister of Shahadat Chowdhury, the late Editor of Bichitra. Shahadat Chowdhury and Shahriar Kabir had set up Dana Printers, the printing press near Mohakhali railway gate.
Mashiur Rahman Jadu Miah
Veteran politician late Mashiur Rahman Jadu Miah's son Shafiqul Ghani Swapan was State Minister for Youth and Sports in Ershad's cabinet. Jadu Miah's daughter Mukti Rahman married Ershad's brother-in-law diplomat Mohiuddin Ahmed. Another daughter journalist Rieta Rahman married Maj. (retd) Khairuzzaman. Khairuzzaman had initially been accused of complicity in the Mujib killing, but the charges against him were later dropped. Until recently he had been Bangladesh's High Commissioner to Malaysia. The present government recalled him. He handed over his authority but has not returned home.
Renowned fashion designer Bibi Russell is the daughter of Mashiur Rahman Jadu Mian's, brother Shidu Miah.
Renowned politician and zemindar of Faridpur, Mohan Miah, is the father of Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf and Akmal Ibne Yusuf. Both the brothers are involved in BNP politics. Kamal Ibne Yusuf was the Minister for Health during the four-party alliance government's tenure. After 1/11 he was part of the BNP reformist group. Upon Begum Zia's release, he rejoined her camp, that is mainstream BNP. He is somewhat inactive in politics at present.
Who has married whom?
Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf's daughter married Shafiur Rahman Babu, son of former Finance Minister M Saifur Rahman.
Alamgir Mohammed Adel married Mohan Miah's daughter. He was the brother of Jahangir Mohammed Adel, Dhaka's Mayor during Ershad's regime. Jahangir Mohammed Adel's father-in-law was Governor of East Pakistan during the 1971 war, Monaem Khan.
Shyama, the daughter of veteran BNP leader late Obaidur Rahman, married the brother of Chayan Islam, an Awami League MP of Sirajganj. So the late Dr. Mazharul Islam is Shyama's father-in-law.
Former President Abdur Rahman Biswas's wife is a cousin of Rashed Khan Menon.
Political scientist Talukdar Maniruzzaman's daughter has married the son of Dr. SA Malek, former Advisor of Sheikh Hasina
BNP MP Mokammel Hossain Kaikobad's brother is married into the Sheikh family.
Salman F Rahman
Fazlur Rahman had been Home Minister and Education Minister of Pakistan. His two sons are Salman F Rahman and Sohel F Rahman, proprietors of the Beximco Group. Though Salman Rahman is of the Awami League ilk, he has not directly joined Awami League politics. He did contest from the party in 2001 from the Dhaka-1 (Dohar) seat, but lost to Barrister Nazmul Huda. Salman Rahman is an uncle of Nazmul Huda.
During the rule of the four-party alliance, Beximco had its troubles. Things got worse after 1/11 when Salman Rahman was arrested and business fell. But things have looked up since the present government came to power. Salman Rahman's daughter Samantha died young while studying in London. His son Shayan Rahman is married to the daughter of BNP leader Morshed Khan.
Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan
And things looked up for left-leaning politician Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan when he joined BNP. Under Khaleda Zia's leadership, he became the party's Secretary General and then a minister. After 1/11, he led the "reformist" faction of BNP and initiated a split in the party. He is inactive at present, though there are speculations that he may form a new party. His son has married Sheikh Kabir's daughter. The couple lives abroad. During the rule of Awami League, Sheikh Kabir was the Chairman of Red Crescent. He is the cousin of Sheikh Mujib, that is uncle of Sheikh Hasina.
Abdullah Al Mamhud
Abdullah Al Mahmud was Industries Minister of Ayub Khan's government. He hails from Sirajganj. His son BNP leader Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku was State Minister for Power during the four-party alliance government rule. Tuku's sister Dr. Tasmima married Dr. Matin, a minister of the Ershad cabinet. He is now Chairman of BJP (Matin), a faction of the fractured Jatiya Party.
After 1/11, Tuku, his wife, son and daughter were incarcerated on corruption charges. Recently Tuku has been in the news on two counts -- one for filing a 100 crore taka case against former Army Chief General Moeen U Ahmed, and the other for his daughter marrying Sheikh Selim's son.
Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed
Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed is the son of Dr. Mohiuddin Ahmed of Vikrampur. Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed was a World Bank official. Former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia called him back to the country to appoint him as Governor of Bangladesh Bank. His fate changed with the onset of 1/11 and he was Chief Advisor of the caretaker government for a two-year stint. Facing a storm of criticism for extra-constitutional actions, he has silently left the country.
Dr. Fakhruddin has married into a famous Chowdhury family of Sylhet. His wife is the sister of Ambassador Faruk Ahmed Chowdhury, Advisor to BNP Chairperson and former Secretary Enam Ahmed Chowdhury and Permanent Representative to the UN Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury. Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed appointed his brother-in-law Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury and his wife's cousin Geetiara Safia Chowdhury as advisors to his caretaker government. In fact, many referred to it as the Fakhruddin family government.
Geetiara's husband Nazim Kamran Chowdhury was elected BNP MP from Sylhet-4 in 1979.
Ambassador Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury is a cousin of Ambassador Faruk Chowdhury. He is presently Advisor to Begum Khaleda Zia.
Nazmul Huda-Sigma Huda
Humayun Kabir, Alamgir Kabir, Akbar Kabir and Firoz Kabir were the famous Kabir brothers of Faridpur.
Humayun Kabir was a minister of the Nehru cabinet and Editor of the journal Chaturanga. Alamgir Kabir was IGP and former caretaker government advisor. Firoz Kabir married into Rangamati royalty, becoming an uncle of Raja Debashish. Firoz Kabir's first wife was Rokeya Rahman, Professor of History at Dhaka University, also the founder of Saptagram, an NGO for women's self-reliance.
Akbar Kabir was Information Advisor of the Zia government. His daughters are Alpha, Sigma and Khushi and son Babar Kabir. Sigma Huda is an Advocate and is married to Barrister Nazmul Huda. Khushi Kabir runs the NGO Nijera Kari.
The Chittagong Connection
The port city of Chittagong has a significant populace of political personalities and businessmen.
The Khans and the Chowdhurys
There were three families in Chittagong known for their political prowess. These were the families of Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, Nabi Mahmud Chowdhury and MA Aziz. Fazlul Quader Chowdhury and Nabi Mahmud Chowdhury were Muslim Leaguers, while MA Aziz was of Awami League. MA Aziz, Vice President of Chittagong Awami League, was an MNA during the Pakistan period here.
Nabi Mahmud Chowdhury was minister of the Pakistan government three times. His son Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury was Commerce Minister of the Khaleda government.
Fazlul Quader Chowdhury
Fazlul Quader Chowdhury was a minister of the Pakistan government. Of his sons, two are actively involved in politics -- Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Gisauddin Quader Chowdhury. Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury is an MP at present. He married Alamgir Mohammed Adel's daughter. His brother Giasuddin Quader Chowdhury is married to Meena, daughter of former Cabinet Secretary Mujibul Haque.
Awami League leader and Mayor of Chittagong ABM Mohiuddin is Fazlul Quader Chowdhury's cousin. ABM Fazle Karim Chowdhury, a cousin of Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, was elected Awami League MP in the 2008 election. Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury's son is married to the daughter of businessman Raunak Khandkar.
Hedayet Rashid Chowdhury, founder of the HRC Group, married the sister of Fazlul Quader Chowdhury. His sons are Saber Hossain Chowdhury and Sayeed Hossain Chowdhury, meaning they are cousins of SQ Chowdhury.
Haris Chowdhury, former Political Secretary of Khaleda Zia, is cousin of Saber Hossain Chowdhury. Saber's cousin is also former Army Chief Maj. Gen. (retd.) Nasim. Nasim was the leader of the failed coup of May 20, 1995.
Abdullah Al Haroun, brother of BNP leader of Chittagong, Abdullah Al Noman, is one of the main founders of Chittagong Awami League. Noman was involved in Chhatra Union politics as a student, but later joined BNP. Noman's brother Abdullah Al Hasan married Awami League leader Malek Ukil's daughter. Mayor Mohiuddin is a distant maternal uncle of Noman.
Agricultural Minister Matia Chowdhury reportedly is also related to Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Salman.
The AK Khan family
The AK Khans are a renowned business family of Chittagong. AK Khan was a minister of Pakistan. Many member of this family were famous, some going on to become MPs and ministers. AK Khan's niece Durrani married BNP leader and former Finance Minister M Saifur Rahman. Two other nieces of AK Khan married Col. Faruk and Col. Rashed, the killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Zeenat, another niece of AK Khan, was quite in the limelight during Ershad's rule and was wife of former BCIC Chairman and Secretary Musharraf Hossain. Zeenat was said to be involved in an affair with Ershad for which Musharraf Hossain divorced her. Musharraf Hossain was State Minister for Mineral Resources during the four-party alliance government. Zeenat and Morshed Khan are cousins.
Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud was Water Resources Ministry of the Ershad government and MP. He is presently Executive Chairman of Jatiya Party. His wife is Parveen, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF. Her mother is Shamsun Nahar Paran, founder of NGO Ghashphool and woman leader of Chittagong. Paran's brother is Maj. Gen. (retd) Sayeed. She is also niece of Jatiya Party leader Kazi Zafar. Kazi Zafar's uncle Kazi Zahirul Qayyum was the founder of Comilla Awami League. He was an MNA in 1971.
Anisul Islam's daughter married Barrister Mainul Husein's son Javed Husein. Anisul Islam Mahmud is the present Chairman of Javed's firm Energy Power Corporation Limited.
Sheikh Kamal's friends
Sheikh Kamal, eldest son of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was killed with other members of the family on August 15, 1975. His school and college friends today are established in various fields and professions. His close friends and associates include:
1. Tanveer Mazhar Tanna is the Bangladesh representative of a foreign oil company.
2. Sakhawat Mobin Chowdhury Shahan, younger brother of Ambassador Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, presently works for Beximco.
3. Waliur Rahman Bhuiyan OBE was Managing Director of Bangladesh Oxygen.
4. Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, BNP leader and former State Minister for Power and Mineral Resources, would not admit his close friendship with Sheikh Kamal during the rule of the four-party alliance government.
5. Pijush Bandhyapadhaya is an actor.
6. Maj. (retd.) Ashfaq Ahmed is a businessman.
7. Baby, proprietor of Corolla Corporation.