Major reshuffle of ambassadors likely

Career diplomats to be sent to India, Russia

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury | Published: 00:00, Oct 29,2019


The government is set to bring about major changes at the level of ambassadors and high commissioners in Bangladesh embassies abroad along with some reshuffle of senior officials at the foreign ministry in Dhaka.

The foreign ministry has initiated the process for the reshuffle to be made in phases.

The ministry is mulling such moves after it has realised that a good number of ambassadors and mission chiefs, who were appointed on contract, have been serving abroad for over a decade and have managed to continue to hold the posts using their connections.

Ambassador Muhammad Imran in the United Arab Emirates would be made high commissioner to India.

Imran would replace Syed Muazzem Ali, a retired diplomat, in New Delhi who was appointed high commissioner on contract to India in 2014.

Ali managed to renew his contract by stopping a government move to send Imran to India last year. 

M Abu Zafar, now ambassador to Austria, would replace Imran in the UAE.

Foreign ministry secretary for bilateral and consular wing Kamrul Ahsan would be made ambassador to Russia.

He would replace SM Saiful Hoque, a businessman, who has been holding the post for last 10 years with blessings of the high-ups.

Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal in the Netherlands would be made ambassador to Japan.

He would replace Ambassador Rabab Fatima, who is set to become Bangladesh permanent representative to the UN in New Rork in November.

Ambassador Masud Bin Momen, now permanent representative to the UN in New York, would join the foreign ministry in Dhaka as a secretary.  

Ambassador Mashfi Binte Shams in Nepal would take up her next assignment as ambassador to Denmark.

Ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith in Denmark would be made ambassador to Austria.

Ambassador M Allama Siddiki in Turkey would be transferred as high commissioner to South Africa as incumbent HC Shabbir Ahmed Chowdhury would be transferred to the headquarters in Dhaka.

Ambassador Mosud Mannan in Uzbekistan would be made ambassador to Turkey.

Ambassador M Jashim Uddin in Greece would be made ambassador to Qatar, while Ashud Ahmed, now ambassador in Qatar, would replace Jashim in Greece.

Foreign ministry director general Nahida Sobhan would take up her first assignment as ambassador to Jordan, while the post was vacant after retirement of Muhammad Enayet Hossain.

Md Tauhedul Islam, now consul general in Kunming in China, would take up his first assignment as ambassador to the Netherlands. 

Chief of protocol AKM Shahidul Karim would take up her first assignment as ambassador to Bhutan.

He would replace Jishnu Roy Chowdhury, a retired administration cadre officer.

Chowdhury, who was made ambassador to Bhutan in 2014, managed to renew his contract to the same post two years ago.

Nearly 30 per cent of the 61 Bangladesh ambassadors and high commissioners in different embassies have been appointed on contract rendering the options limited for serving diplomats to become ambassador, diplomatic sources said. 

Several civil and military officers, most of whom retired from their regular services, were also appointed as ambassadors and high commissioners to Bahrain, Brunei, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Maldives, Spain and the US.

There are also some political personalities as ambassadors on contract in different capitals including Riyadh. 

A good number of senior serving foreign ministry officials have been in postings abroad for over 10 years thanks to their connections with the high-ups.

M Shahidul Islam, a retired diplomat, was made high commissioner on contract to Malaysia in 2015 and managed to renew the contract using his connections at the prime minister’s office.

The foreign ministry has recently asked Bangladesh ambassador in Lebanon Abdul Motaleb Sarker to come back to the headquarters on allegations of irregularities and non-performance, but he continued to the post by managing the high-ups, according to government officials.

Many deserving senior foreign service officers have been deprived for these long-held appointments.

It was expected that officers would be brought back to the headquarters after serving two consecutive three-year terms in two missions outside the country to create avenues for others, said several mid-level diplomats.

At least three more senior defence officials have been waiting for ambassadorial appointments as the government has placed their services at the disposal of the foreign ministry.

The government is likely to take another move to fill up the posts of ambassadors by regular foreign cadre officers as well as senior military officials whose services were placed at the foreign ministry, officials said.

More about:

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email