In Satyajit Ray movie Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen the ghost king (   ভুতের রাজা ) gave three ” বর” (Boon) to Gupi and Bahga. With these three boons Gupi and Bagha conquered the kingdom and his two daughters and did a lot of good things. Although the Ghost king only had three boons to give away, he ghost kings that has been running our Ghost kingdom apparently have a never ending supply of boons. And their boons usually are in one single form, i.e. ambassadorship to foreign kingdoms.


Three recent ambassador posting reminded me of the ghost king.  Some of these postings definitely raise concern about their appropriateness and justification. Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya was given the most vital post of the permanent rep at Geneva UN mission. This very important diplomatic job usually went to brightest of the foreign service officials. And this job needs diplomatic depth, experience and insight. And for sure this is definitely not a job where you need expertise in conspiracy. Dr Bhattacharya’s activities of last five years are laudable. But with change of government, his sudden silence, sudden collapse of his good candidate movement, his sudden blindness on what is going on in the election commission made people wonder about the real intentions of his last five years activities. Now his reward job tend to clear up many confusions.
Then comes two other top missions in Canada and Australia. This government has decided to award one Syed Fahim Munaem as ambassador to Canada. First it’s worth mention that with increasing number of Bangladeshi migrants in Canada and as a country with huge potential for a labor/manpower market as well as an importer of our RMG products, the Ottawa mission needed an experienced and dynamic diplomat. This Syed Fahim Munaem was a disaster as CA’s press secretary.  I can’t believe his abject failure is a reason for his reward. So there must be something else that won him the boon. And it does not need too much wisdom to guess that his managing skill as managing editor of the Daily Star helped pave 1/11 and the benefactors of 1/11 owe someone some payback.
Australia is another vital mission and another hot spot of Bangladeshi immigrants as well as regional and trade collaborations. But traditionally this mission has been used as all paid, golfing retirement retreat of our military Generals. The outpost in Canberra has seen the golfing skills of Generals Shafiullah, Latif, Mannaf, Moinul, Harun Ur Rashid etc and now Bangladesh is paying an all paid three years golfing tour for Lt General Z Alam. Nobody knows what splendid thing Lt Gen Z Alam did for the nation so that a foreign secretary need to be bypassed for this job.
We need to remember that Bangladesh foreign service attracts the brightest young men and women of Bangladesh. They spend their lifetime, painstakingly climbing up the foreign service ladders. They spend a nomad life sometimes in Senegal, sometimes in Philippines and intermittently in Bangladesh. Their dream is to someday become an ambassador in a attractive places like Canada, Australia, UK etc. But almost all the time their dream is shattered by a renegade army general or a fortune seeking managing editor or NGO man who somehow manages to grab the grand slam.

It has been learnt that in par with Pakistan tradition, Bangladesh Foreign Service also had an understanding of allocating 30% of diplomat jobs to non cadre persons, meant for political postings. However since independence the 30% cutoff probably was never maintained as at any moment 40-60% top diplomat jobs went to persons who are not career diplomats. Since independence, the most wanted foreign mission jobs went to military discards. And discards include murderers of national leaders, coup mongering outlaws in the military. This tradition continued till to date. Our dear general Moeen U Ahmed became army chief bypassing 4 seniors generals. So all four had to go into retirement and they had to become ambassadors to 4 vital Bangladesh missions. Some senior officers are not liked by the army chief, again go open up some more top diplomat posts in foreign missions. Even foreign missions have turned into dumping ground blacksheeps in Bangladesh armed forces. A strong rumor goes around that an officer was sent to a foreign mission top diplomat job after internal inquiry found him guilty of raping a tribal girl.

As this government is a non political neutral caretaker government, it was expected that they will avoid snatching top foreign mission posts away from foreign service officers. However, looks like this government is in a competition with all other political government to distribute these jobs to their near and dear ones. Otherwise how would you explain these three new postings in Canada, Australi, UN-Geneva? How do they deserve these jobs of tremedous value? And what is the fault of foreign service official who worked all his life from mission to mission with the hope of becoming an ambassador to those countries one day. What hope they will be left with?

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