Major changes in foreign office
The government has brought several changes in major Bangladesh missions abroad and also at the foreign ministry through calling back its envoys, transfers and fresh appointments, aiming to bring dynamism in diplomatic activities.
It has also appointed ambassadors and high commissioners in different countries where the posts remained vacant for long.
Moreover, the government has opened a number of full-fledged missions and deputy missions in other countries.
This is the biggest ever shake-up in the foreign ministry during the last three and a half years' rule of Awami League-led grand alliance.
A highly placed source told The Daily Star the decision has been taken to change the incumbent Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes as he has already completed his three-year tenure of service.
But the process was delayed as Quayes had recently suffered serious illness and went abroad for long term treatment.
Officials said that a summary report regarding the appointment of Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes as high commissioner in London has been sent to Prime Minister's Office for approval.
Sources said the government has decided not to extend the contract of the incumbent High Commissioner in London M Sayeedur Rahman Khan and he is expected to return home in September.
Quayes has been looking for an important foreign mission but most of the “A-grade” missions like Washington DC, New York and New Delhi are already occupied by the high-profile political appointees.
Meanwhile, hectic lobbying is going on inside the government administration for the post of foreign secretary.
Ms Ismat Jahan, ambassador and head of mission to the European Union in Brussels, Md Abdul Hannan, ambassador and permanent representative in Geneva, and Mosud Mannan, ambassador in Germany, are in the race for the foreign secretary post.
Foreign ministry sources said that changes have already been made in some 16 countries and different important wings at the ministry. As part of the move, seven ambassadors and high commissioners have been transferred to other countries.
The government has called back Majeda Rafiqun Nessa, ambassador in Manila, Philippines, for her alleged involvement in corruption, mismanagement, nepotism and irregularities. No decision has been taken yet to appoint new ambassador in Manila.
Besides, the government has also decided not to extend the service contract of Bangladesh Ambassador in Nepal Neem Chandra Bhowmik, a political appointee.
Bhowmik, who had been serving since November 23, 2009, is expected to return home soon.
The contract of Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Bangladesh ambassador in China, has also expired, and the government has decided not to extend his service.
Meantime, the government has opened full-fledged embassies in Brazil and Mauritius and another deputy high commission in Mumbai, India.
The government has already appointed Md Touhid Hossain, former foreign secretary and also the principal of Bangladesh Foreign Service Academy, as high commissioner in South Africa. The post in Pretoria remained vacant for long.
According to official sources, the government has transferred Mahbub-Uz-Zaman, high commissioner in Sri Lanka, to Singapore while Kamrul Ahsan, high commissioner in Singapore, has been transferred to Canada.
Bangladesh Ambassador in Italy and PR to FAO, IFAD and WFP Masud Bin Momen has been transferred as ambassador in Japan while Shahdat Hossain, ambassador in Qatar, has been transferred to Italy. The post of ambassador in Japan was lying vacant for about months.
Bangladesh Ambassador in Indonesia Golam Mohammad has been appointed as ambassador in Greece while the Ambassador in Greece Azizul Haq was transferred to China.
Shameem Ahsan, high commissioner in Brunei, has been transferred to Bangladesh's new mission in Brazil as ambassador.
Consul General of Bangladesh Mission in Los Angeles Enayet Hossain and Consul General in New York Sabbir Ahmed Chowdhury have been promoted to the position of ambassador and were appointed as ambassador of Qatar and Mauritius, a newly opened mission.
Meanwhile, the government has appointed five important director generals of the foreign ministry to different countries on various capacities.
Of them, Director General (Economic Affairs Wing) Md Sufiur Rahman has been appointed as new high commissioner in Colombo, Director General (UNCLOS) Md Abdul Hye appointed as high commissioner in Brunei and Director General (South Asia) Mashfee Binte Shams as ambassador in Nepal.
While Director General (Americas Wing) Muhammad Abdul Muhith has been appointed as deputy chief of mission in Bangladesh embassy in Washington DC, and Director General (East Asia & Pacific Wing) Monirul Islam appointed as consul general of Bangladesh in New York.