April 18 Foreign Ministry Day
The government is to observe the April 18 as the Foreign Ministry Day from next year commemorating the historic flag hoisting at Bangladesh Mission in Kolkata.
On this day in 1971, the then deputy high commissioner in Kolkata M Hossain Ali along with 65 officials and staff of the mission declared their allegiance to the Mujibnagar government by hoisting its red-green national flag atop the mission.
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni announced this at a function yesterday to honour the former diplomats who made outstanding contribution to achieve independence in 1971.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, State Minister for Liberation War Affairs Capt (Retd) AB Tajul Islam, Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes also spoke at the function wit Dipu Moni in the chair.
Former Secretary and Ambassador Mohiuddin Ahmed, ex-ambassadors KM Shihabuddin, Waliur Rahman, Kazi Nazrul Islam, former diplomats Mostafizur Rahman, Kazi Sekndar Ali, Akbar Lutful Matin and Anwar Hossain Chowdhury reminisced their role in the War of Liberation.
Paying deep gratitude to the diplomats, who made contribution to the War of Liberation, Muhith said the diplomats' war against Pakistan was also a people's war.
“They played a useful role in the War of Liberation by risking their life and livelihood,” said Muhit, who was the economic counsellor at Pakistan embassy in Washington in 1971. He later defected from Pakistan government and declared his allegiance to the Mujibnagar government.
Dipu Moni said the day is very important in the history of Bangladesh as the defection of the diplomats inspired the freedom fighters to fight against the Pakistani occupation forces side by side with creating world public opinion in favour of Bangladesh's independence.
“We have decided to observe the April 18 as the Foreign Ministry Day to inspire the present and future generations with patriotism side by side with remembering the brave diplomats for their role in the War of Liberation,” she said.
She said the government has taken many initiatives, including trial of the war criminals to uphold the spirit of the War of Liberation and free the nation from the 40 years' stigma.
“The observance of the Foreign Ministry Day is one of the parts of the present government's steps for upholding the spirit of the War of Liberation,” she said.
Later, Dipu Moni handed over crests to the freedom fighters diplomats -- Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, KM Shehabuddin, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Anwar Hossain Chowdhury, Syed Moazzem Ali, Mohiuddin Ahmed, Mostafizur Rahman, Anwar Hossain Chowdhury, Waliur Rahman, QMA Rahim and Anwarul Karim.
Habibullah Habib, a nephew of late Hossain Ali, took the crest from the foreign minister on behalf of Hossain Ali.