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Who is Omar Faruk?

  • Published at 12:51 am October 21st, 2019
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File photo of expelled Jubo League chairman Omar Faruk Chowdhury Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina on Sunday expelled Omar Faruk from the youth front's chairman post, for his involvement in corrupt practices

At 71 years old, Jubo League Chairman Omar Faruk Chowdhury has been the oldest chairman in the 47 year history of Jubo League. He secured the post at the age of 64 in 2012.

Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina on Sunday expelled Omar Faruk from the youth front's chairman post, for his involvement in corrupt practices.

The decision was taken at a meeting between the Awami League chief and central leaders of Jubo League at Ganabhaban, according to a Jubo League leader who attended the meeting. Omar Faruk was not invited.

From Biri Sramik League leader to Jubo League chief

Born in 1948, Omar Faruk’s political career began with the Biri Sramik League as he was an importer of tendu leaves from Myanmar. He was the general secretary of Chittagong’s Biri Sramik League in the late 70s and began an RMG business in Raujan, Chittagong, in 1998.

Omar Faruk joined Jubo Sanghati, youth wing of the Jatiya Party, after the late HM Ershad assumed power and late Najiur Rahman Manju became a minister in the 80s. Manju was Faruk’s brother-in-law.

After HM Ershad’s fall from power, Faruk joined Awami League in 1992 and was elected treasurer of its Chittagong North unit in 1997. He became a presidium member of Jubo League at its congress in 2003, acting chairman of Jubo League in 2009, and eventually chairman in 2012.

A name marred by controversy

Amid controversy over allegations of corruption, Omar Faruk Chowdhury has been out of the public eye for about two weeks.

He has not attended office or responded to phone calls from Jubo League activists since facing severe criticism sparked by crackdowns on illegal casinos in Dhaka by law enforcement agencies that began on September 18.

A number of Jubo League leaders, including expelled Dhaka South Jubo League president Ismail Chowdhury Samrat, expelled organizing secretary of the same unit, Khalid Mahmud, self-proclaimed member and businessman GK Shamim, and Jubo League Dhaka North unit Joint Secretary General Tarequzzaman Rajib, have been arrested for their links to illegal casinos.

On October 3, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit sought details of all bank accounts held by Omar Faruk. He has not been attending any political programs since October 6, when a travel ban was issued against him.

On October 10, Omar Faruk did not attend a Jubo League presidium meeting, held at its central office on Bangabandhu Avenue in Dhaka.

Jubo League disappointed with chairman

During the meeting at Ganabhaban, a number of Jubo League leaders expressed disappointment with Omar Faruk, and claimed that he has long been involved in corruption.

They alleged that the chairman did not approve any committee unless he was paid a sum of money, and that he also amended the youth front’s constitution to serve his own interests.

Although Jubo League was formed to alleviate poverty and establish the rights of the country’s youth, the youth front had deviated from these objectives as top leaders became involved in corruption ranging from tender grabbing to illegal casino businesses, the leaders said.