Bangladesh’s former foreign secretary Muazzem Ali dies, Jaishankar expresses grief

Bangladesh's former foreign secretary Muazzem Ali dies, Jaishankar expresses grief

DHAKA: Syed Muazzem Ali, Bangladesh’s former foreign secretary and a “good friend” of India, died due to old-age complications at a hospital here on Monday. He was 75.

Ali, who served as Bangladesh’s immediate-past High Commissioner to India, passed away at the Combined Military Hospital in the capital where he was undergoing treatment, family sources were quoted as saying by the Bangladeshi newspapers.

In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar expressed grief over Ali’s demise, saying he was a “good friend” of India. “Deeply shocked to learn of the passing away of former High Commissioner Syed Muazzem Ali. He was a good friend and a strong partner for so many of us. Our thoughts are with Tuhfa and family,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.

Dean of Diplomatic Corps Hans Dannenberg Castellanos, who represents more than 150 foreign missions in India, also condoled the passing away of the former Bangladeshi envoy.

Born in 1944, Ali joined the Pakistan Foreign Service in 1968, and retired in December 2001. While serving in the Pakistan embassy in Washington in 1971, he declared his allegiance to Bangladesh, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

As a founding member of the Bangladesh mission in Washington DC, he was active in the lobbying process for political support for Bangladesh’s independence movement.

Ali also served in Bangladesh embassies in Warsaw (1975-1978), and New Delhi (1986-1988), and in the Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York (1982-1986), the report said.

He also represented Bangladesh at UNESCO.

Ali was Consul General in Jeddah (1988-1991) during the Gulf War, and later served as Bangladesh Ambassador to Bhutan (1991-1992), Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Turkmenistan (1995-1998), France and Portugal (1998-2000). As Foreign Secretary, Ali worked for the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the South Asian region and beyond. Since Bangladesh was the Chairman of the LDC group at that time, he coordinated the move that led to duty-free and quota-free access of LDC exports to the EU at the Third UN LDC Conference.

He also worked for the emergence of Bangladesh as the largest troop contributor to UN Peace keeping operations, according to his profile on Bangladesh’s embassy in New Delhi.

He is survived by wife and two sons. His wife Tuhfa Zaman obtained her MA from Dhaka University and MPhil from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. PTI