Former mayor of undivided Dhaka City Corporation and also BNP vice-chairman Sadeque Hossain Khoka has passed away while undergoing treatment at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, New York.
He was 67. Party insiders and family members confirmed the news. The prominent freedom fighter breathed his last at 1:40 pm (Bangladesh Time).
The BNP leader, who was wanted in several cases, went to the United States as a visitor in May 2014, for cancer treatment. Since then he along with his family members were staying in Queens in New York City.
Before his death, he wished that he would breathe his last on the soil of his beloved homeland.
Despite being a brave freedom fighter, the BNP leader couldn't return home as he did not have any Bangladeshi passport in his possession.
Senior BNP leaders, including BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, has expressed profound shock at the death of Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
In 1971, at the age of 19, he fought in the Bangladesh Liberation War. Khoka stepped into politics by joining Moulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani’s National Awami Party (NAP). Later, he joined BNP, and was made party’s Dhaka city unit president.
He was first elected to the Jatiyo Sangshad in 1991. In the same year, he was made State Minister of Youth and Sports. Khoka also has won from his constituency in elections in 1996 and 2001. After BNP's victory in 2001, Khoka was made Cabinet Minister of Fisheries and Livestock.
Being in the office, he fought the Dhaka City Corporation election for mayorship and won. He took office as the Mayor of Dhaka on April 25, 2002. He served as both Minister and Mayor till 2004 when he resigned from the ministry.
Khoka resigned from the mayoral duties of Dhaka on November 29, 2011, when the government passed a bill in parliament to split DCC (Dhaka City Corporation) into two parts and renamed them DCC North and DCC South.
After independence, he worked in organizing soccer, ultimately rising to the positions of General Secretary of the Dhaka Metropolitan Football Association and Joint General Secretary of the Bangladesh Football Federation.