A startling goof-up
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen yesterday spoke of a goof-up involving the passport department that let down Bangladeshi expatriates in Uzbekistan.
The minister said that when he visited Uzbekistan in 2019, the Bangladeshi expatriates there requested that a machine-readable passport (MRP) machine be installed at Bangladesh embassy in Tashkent.
The expatriates said they had to contact Bangladesh High Commission in Delhi for renewing passports as there was no MRP machine at the embassy in Tashkent.
"I had asked the officials concerned to immediately send an MRP machine to Uzbekistan the same year," Momen told reporters yesterday at his residence upon his return from a five-day official visit to Uzbekistan.
Later that year, the MRP machine was sent to Tashkent and a group of eight to 10 officials from the passport department also visited Uzbekistan.
During his recent visit to Tashkent, Momen asked Md Zahangir Alam, Bangladesh ambassador to Uzbekistan, whether the MRP machine was working properly.
What the ambassador said in reply was very disappointing for him.
"The machine was still in the box … It could not be made operational as the technician, who had the secret passcode, was not in the team of eight to 10 officials of the passport department that had visited Uzbekistan," the foreign minister said.
In the last one and a half years, the technician could not be flown to Uzbekistan to put the machine into service.
"They [passport officials] are now considering another trip. What a sad news!
"I am going to take up the issue with the passport department," added Momen.