Eminent journalist and columnist M Anwarul Haq passed away early yesterday. He was 63.
He suffered a massive stroke early in the morning and was rushed to Labaid Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead at 5:45am, said family sources.
He left behind his wife, two sons, a daughter and a host of relatives, friends, colleagues and well-wishers to mourn his death.
His first namaz-e-janaza was held at the city's Sobhanbag Masjid after Juma prayers, followed by a second one at Dhaka Reporters Unity at 3:00pm, which was attended by a large number of DRU members and senior journalists.
Earlier in 2016, Anwar had another severe stroke, but he improved greatly and had been undergoing regular medical check-ups since then.
According to family members, he returned home on Thursday evening after a medical check-up in New Delhi where doctors said he was in good health.
In his long and distinguished career, Anwar served as the chief reporter, city editor and diplomatic and defence correspondent of The Daily Star.
He interviewed many world leaders and heads of states, including Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter of the USA, John Major of the UK, Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, Manmohan Singh, IK Gujral, Deve Gowda and Pranab Mukherjee of India, Fidel Ramos and Corazon Aquino of the Philippines, Fuji Mori of Peru, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, Suleyman Demerial of Turkey, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Yasser Arafat of the Palestine and late UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.
He was also a director of public affairs and communications of Brac. Prior to joining the NGO in July 2007, Anwar was minister (press) at the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi.
He was elected president of Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) for two consecutive terms (2000 and 2001) and secretary general of Old Faujians Association, a platform of the former cadets of Faujdarhat Cadet College. He had spearheaded the “Keep Cadet College” campaign in 1974.
The journalist had also served several other national newspapers, including the Daily Sun, now-defunct The Morning Sun and The People in various capacities.
Anwar, a founding member of Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB), was also the publisher and editor of the Endeavour, one of the country's first magazines.
He was a bright student at Faujdarhat Cadet College. He later went on to complete his master's in International Relations from Dhaka University.
Prior to his second namaj-e-janaja at the DRU, New Age Editor Nurul Kabir, former BFUJ leader Zakaria Kazal, DRU President Elias Hossain, General Secretary Kabir Ahmed Khan, its former leaders Shakhawat Hossain Badsha, Saiful Islam, Motahar Hossainb Masum, Razu Ahmed and Mursalin Nomani, among other, briefly spoke on his life and career.
Anwar was later laid to rest at new Azimpur graveyard.
His Qulkhawani will be held at his Dhanmondi home on Tuesday after Asr prayers. Relatives, colleagues, friends and well-wishers have been requested to join the programme.
CONDOLENCES POUR IN
Different organisations, including the DRU and DCAB, expressed deep shock at the sudden death of Anwar.
The DRU president and general secretary, DCAB President Raheed Ejaz and General Secretary Nurul Islam Hasib in separate messages expressed sympathy to Anwar's bereaved family members and prayed for the salvation of his departed soul.
The reporters' platform has also announced that it will observe two days of mourning from today. It has opened a condolence book at its Shegunbagicha office.
The DRU will lower its flag to half mast while its members will wear black badges in the two days to mourn the death of its leader.