Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury

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Bangladeshi journalist Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury (Bengali: মোখলেসুর রহমান চৌধুরী) popularly known as Mokhles Chowdhury, held a notable position as adviser to the Hon President of Bangladesh during the 2006 Caretaker Government.

Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury with US Congressman Joseph Crowley

Education & Awards

Mokhles had his Masters of Arts in Mass communication & Journalism from University of Dhaka. Earlier, he studied pre-university education in Jagannath Government College and Tejgaon College of Dhaka, Fenchuganj Degree College of Sylhet, Lakhai ACRC Pilot High School of Habiganj, Ghilachhera High School of Sylhet, Bhatera High School of Maulvibazar and Ashighar Government Primary School of Sylhet. He was awarded with "Panos" fellowship of UK, World Bank Institute fellowship, EU fellowship, Bangla Academy fellowship and Nawab Sir Salimullah gold medal for outstanding role and achievement in the Statecraft.

Profession, Contribution & Association

Presently working as editor of the Weekly Preskhit.

Historic role

On 13 November 2006, Professor Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed, President of Bangladesh as well as the Chief Adviser of Caretaker Government appointed M Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury as the Adviser to President with the rank and status of State Minister. From December 2006 to January 2007, when acute national political impasses arose in Bangladesh out of uncertainty about Parliamentary elections, he performed the role of President’s special envoy in the negotiation process for a peaceful solution between Begum Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, the two top leaders of rival political alliances of Bangladesh. His unprecedented role united all political parties in a fair agreement about participating in parliamentary elections until 3 January 2007. The elections were postponed on on 11 January 2007 due to a conspiracy made by a group of military bureaucrats which had created an event known as One-Eleven that subsequently led to an unconstitutional and undemocratic interim government. Notable, in the past, during 1994-1995, the country had experienced a similar political deadlock, a failed case of negotiation conducted by the then Commonwealth Secretary General's special envoy Sir Ninian Stephen. A series of dialogues between the then US Ambassador Patricia A Butenis and Mr Chowdhury during January 2007, directly saved the nation from the martial law in 11 January 2007. Due to undue occurrence of ‘One-Eleven’, Mr. Chowdhury in the greater interest of the nation, boldly spoke to media disclosing the hidden agenda of capturing the country's Presidency by the then Bangladesh Army Chief General Moeen U Ahmed in disguise of interim Caretaker Government headed by Fakhruddin Ahmed. Chowdhury's interviews were widely published, telecasted and broadcasted in different newspapers, radios and television channels including Thikana, Akhon Samoy, Probashi Voice, Bangla Patrika and Probashi barta of New York & Voice of America and Euro Bangla, Bangla Post, BBC, Channel S and Bangla TV of London. "Military coup in Bangladesh: Dateline 2007", one of his fact-finding write-ups about the One Eleven conspiracy, was published in the weekly Akhon Samoy of New York.

Previous Positions

• Press Secretary as well as spokesman of the Bangladesh President Iajuddin Ahmed from December 2004 to November 2006.

• Former diplomatic editor and special correspondent of the Daily Dinkal.

• Also worked for the Daily Ajker Kagoj and the Daily Naba Abhijan as special correspondent, the Dainik Patrika as chief reporter and the Island Upali newspapers of Sri Lanka as Bangladesh correspondent.

• Was editor of the Weekly Sarak and the Sromo magazine.

Extra-Professional Activities

In 2004 Chowdhury was elected president of Overseas Correspondents Association Bangladesh-OCAB (Foreign Journalists Association). Before that he was elected to all posts including vice president, secretary, treasurer, joint secretary and Executive committee member of the same organization since 1993. In the Diplomatic Correspondents Association of Bangladesh he served as vice president and acting president, and during 2003-04 he performed as senior joint secretary general of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, Bangladesh. In 1986 and 1991 he was elected executive committee member of Dhaka Union of Journalists– DUJ. As an environmental journalist he positioned himself as an executive committee member of the Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh. In the international arena he is a member of the International Organization of Journalists of Germany. He also served as a part time lecturer to the National Defense College, the Press Institute of Bangladesh and the University of Dhaka on journalism and civil-military relations. During 2006 he conducted the live TV program- Hello Apnake Balchi on Bangladesh Television, and in magazine programs on ATN Bangla from 2003 to 2006. He represented Bangladesh in international conferences including the United Nations golden jubilee conference in 1995, the Commonwealth meeting held in Nigeria in 2003 and the SAARC in Kathmandu in 2002.

Publications

1. Protokoler Nigor (Bindings in Protocol) 2. Samakalin Sangbadikata (Contemporary Journalism). 3. Hundred Years of Bangabhaban and Bangabhabaner Shatabarsha were published from Bangabhaban where Mukhles was the publisher as the head of press wing of President's Office.

As Columnist

Mokhles wrote hundreds of columns for newspapers & magazines in Bangladesh and abroad. He wrote unique columns under the headings Bangabhabaner sei Dingulo in Janatar Chokh magazine of the Manabzamin He also wrote for the weekly Thikana and the Bangla Patrika of New York, the Sunday Express, Weekly Economic Times, Dhaka Courier, the Japan Times, Usha, Nipun, Kagaj Barta, Dainik Jonopad, Dainik Desh, Dainik Kishan, Weekly Holiday, Agami, Tarokalok, Jagrata Janata, Jiboner Alo, Jalalabadi, Arthokatha, Sandwip, Khoborer Kagaj and Muktibani.

Association activities

Mukhles was associated with different organizations including the following:

President of governing body of Bamai Muktijoddha Zia College in Habiganj. Assistant Secretary General of Commonwealth Society of Bangladesh. Member of "Society for International Development-SID", Rome, Italy. Permanent Member of Jatiya Press Club. Alumni & registered graduate of Dhaka University. Alumni of World Bank Institute. President of Lakhai Upazila Association, Dhaka. President of "Green Valley Association", Moghbazar, Dhaka. Vice President of Jalalabad Association, Dhaka. Member of Dhaka Reporters Unity. Ex Press & Publication Secretary of Anti Drug and Anti Smoking Society- ADAASS, Member of Bangladesh Parliament Journalists Association- BPJA.

Memorable events

During his professional tasks Chowdhury had been in touch with many international leaders including President Bill Clinton & Hillary Clinton, President Jimmy Carter, UN Secretaries General Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, President Chandrika Kumaratunga, President Ranasinghe Premadasa & Speaker M H Mohammed of Sri Lanka, President Parvez Musharraf, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto & Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, I K Gujral & Chandra Shekhar of India, President François Mitterrand of France and experienced memorable events. He was noted for questioning President Bill Clinton during his Dhaka visit on 20 March 2000 defying the Bangladesh government's instructions not to ask anything beyond designated questions. After that incident he was harassed by Bangladesh government intelligence agencies until the intervention of the US Embassy, Dhaka. He refused to accept an offer of asylum and citizenship from the US Embassy. Earlier he was also interrogated by the Bangladesh intelligence agency for reporting on the mysterious death of Brigadier General Shabab Ashfaq of the Bangladesh Army.

Foreign visits

Widely traveled to USA, UK, France, Italy, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Vatican City, Myanmar as State delegate as well as attended conferences.

Personal life

In line with descend to late Abdul Qadir Chowdhury and Zarad Ali Chowdhury (known as Taka Miah Chowdhury), zamindar of Bamai 24 & 25 parganas of Habiganj, Mokhles was born in maternal grand father’s house at Kulikunda of Nasirnagar Upazila under Brahmanbaria District of Chittagong Division. He took notice of the various towns and tea estates features of Sylhet and Chittagong as his family traveled with his father Alhaj Azizur Rahman Chowdhury’s managerial job who was also the first chief editor of Weekly Prekkhit. These experiences of boyhood had a great impact on his life and made him interested about people of the land. A road and foundation of Habiganj were named after his late father where Ratnagarva Begum Sharifa Aziz Chowdhury is his mother.

Mukhles is married to Begum Sufia Chowdhury, blessed with two sons Monsoor & Masroor.

References


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