Dhaka, May 21 (UNB) – Fifteen Bangladesh nationals who survived a boat capsize in the Mediterranean Sea on May 11 while attempting to reach Europe from Libya returned home from Tunisia early Tuesday.
A Turkish Airlines flight carrying them landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 6am, Tanvir Hossain, assistant director of Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training and in-charge of Expatriates’ Welfare Desk at the airport, told UNB over phone.
He said they are now under the custody of immigration police.
As many as 39 Bangladeshis went missing after the boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off Tunisia coast on May 11 while attempting to reach Europe from Libya.
Besides, 15 Bangladesh nationals were rescued alive from the capsized boat and the body of another was recovered from the sea.
The boat sank 40 miles off the coast of Sfax, south of the capital Tunis, and fishing boats rescued the survivors.
Two boats -- one carrying around 150 people -- set out from Libya at the same time on May 9 (night).
Around 130 of them were Bangladeshis and one of the boats reached Italy safely and another carrying 70-80 people sank in the sea.
The Bangladeshis went to Libya four months ago. They reached Tripoli via Dubai, Sharjah and Alexandria. In Tripoli, the human traffickers tortured them and extorted money from their families.
Dhaka, May 20 (UNB) – Amid the diplomatic row between the two countries, the Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad, in an apparent protest, has stopped issuing visas to Pakistanis, said an official on Monday.
The decision was taken as a visa extension application submitted by Bangladesh diplomat Muhammad Iqbal Hossain, Counsellor (Press) at Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad, remained pending for over four months.
Iqbal submitted the application to Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in January last which was sent to its Ministry of Interior later but there has been no positive response so far, the official added.
A diplomat in Islamabad said the post of visa officer remained vacant since November last and Iqbal was looking into the section in addition to his current charge.
“As a sign of protest, he (Iqbal) stopped issuing visas to Pakistanis for the last one week,” the diplomat told UNB, adding that it is not the kind of closure through any official announcement.
Officials said Iqbal is now living in Islamabad with his daughter while his wife and son are in Dhaka.
Iqbal applied for visa extension on January 9 to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan which was cleared and sent to its Ministry of Interior two days later.
On the other hand, his wife and son applied for visas in Pakistan High Commission here but they were not granted visas yet.
“So far we know, the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka called them to the mission to take visas but when they went there they told them to come later after keeping them waiting for over an hour,” another diplomatic source said, adding that it happened thrice to them.
Iqbal’s visa expired on March 30 last and he has already sent the container (his belongings) to Bangladesh on April 27 amid assurance from the Pakistan side that his visa extension application will be approved.
There have been series of meetings and exchange of letters but all efforts went in vain, said a diplomatic source.
The Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reportedly proposed Saqlain Syedah as its new High Commissioner to Bangladesh in early March last year.
But, Bangladesh neither accepted nor rejected the nomination, diplomatic sources said.
Dhaka, May 20 (UNB) - Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Hiroyasu Izumi on Monday assured Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of his country’s continued support to Bangladesh in its efforts for economic prosperity.
The Japanese envoy came up with the assurance when he met Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Ganobhaban.
PM's press secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
He said the Japanese envoy informed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that during her upcoming visit to Japan, the USD 2.5 billion 40th Official Development Assistance (ODA) agreement will be signed, which will be 35 percent higher than the last year.
He also said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is eagerly waiting to receive his Bangladeshi counterpart in Japan during her coming Japan visit.
Congratulating her on reelection in the last parliamentary elections, Hiroyasu Izumi said the next five years will be very much important for Bangladesh as the economy of the country will take off for further progress.
The Japanese Ambassador was apprised of the progress of the coal-fired 1200 MW Matarbari Power Plant project in Maheshkhali upazila of Cox's Bazar district.
Mentioning that Japan is a great friend of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said she is also eagerly waiting to meet Shinzō Abe.
She also recalled the contributions of Japan to the economic development of the country and its to construct Rupsha Bridge during Bangabandhu’s regime after Bangladesh’s independence.
Principal Secretary M Nojibur Rahman, Principal Coordinator on SDG Affairs of Prime Minister’s office Md Abul Kalam Azad and PMO Secretary Sajjadul Hassan were present during the meeting.
Dhaka, May 19 (UNB) - Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, now in Turkey, has shared the challenges being faced by Bangladesh in dealing with Rohingya crisis apart from highlighting Bangladesh’s efforts to bring an effective and sustainable solution to the crisis.
He presented the latest situation of the Rohingya crisis at a briefing session titled 'Bangladesh-Turkey: Solidarity for Humanity' organised by Bangladesh Consulate in Istanbul on Saturday.
Members of Turkish Parliament, Deputy Governor of Istanbul, Rectors of Public and Private Universities of Turkey, prominent academicians as well as top executives of Istanbul-based think-tanks and NGOs attended the event, said a media release on Sunday.
Foreign Secretary Haque will lead the Bangladesh delegation at the Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) with the Turkish side to be led by its Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Sedat Onal in Ankara on Monday.
Foreign Secretary Haque made an eloquent description on the historical evolution of the Rohingya crisis and the systematic persecution and atrocities unleashed by Myanmar over the years on this particular community.
He elaborated the root causes of the problem, articulating various dimensions and perspectives attached to it.
The Foreign Secretary pointed out the catalogue of challenges being faced by Bangladesh in bringing an effective and sustainable solution to the crisis.
He also gave a brief account of assistance and cooperation received by Bangladesh from international community in this regard.
Haque underlined the commitment, readiness, intent and actions of the government in providing every possible support to about 1.2 million forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals currently sheltering in Bangladesh.
He expressed sincere appreciation to all international friends and allies, including Turkey, that stand by Bangladesh at this critical hour.
Haque sought everyone's engagement, participation and contributions in their own way to this important issue, not only keeping it alive at the global stage but also making it loud and heard by the international actors for getting it resolved at the earliest.
Consul General of Bangladesh in Istanbul Mohammad Monirul Islam also spoke on the occasion highlighting the recent upturns in the bilateral relationship between Bangladesh and Turkey.
Dhaka, May 19 (UNB)— Bangladesh says it has observed with “deep concern” the secret drone attacks on oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.
Equally disconcerting is the news of attacks on Saudi and Emirati oil tankers in the UAE territory, said a foreign ministry statement on Sunday.
Bangladesh says it is of the view that such unprovoked acts will have an adverse impact on the overall security situation in the region.
Bangladesh renounced such unilateral act of provocation and remains steadfastly committed to maintenance of peace and security.
“Bangladesh supports any collective effort that would maintain peace and stability in the region,” the statement reads.