12:00 AM, November 13, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 13, 2012

D-8 Summit

PM cancels Pak tour

No official announcement yet

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Diplomatic Correspondent

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has cancelled her planned visit to Pakistan to attend the 8th D-8 Summit scheduled for November 22, a highly placed source said yesterday.
However, there was no official announcement to this effect.
The decision came three days after Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar had come on a short to Dhaka on Friday and formally invited Hasina to attend the summit.
According to sources, the prime minister had decided to call off the visit after a meeting with some high-ups, including Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) yesterday afternoon.
The reason for her not attending the summit could not be known immediately.
A high official at the PMO conveyed the premier's decision to the foreign ministry. The foreign ministry is expected to formally convey the decision to host Pakistan today.
Dipu Moni may represent Dhaka in the summit, the official, on condition of anonymity, told The Daily Star.
Concerned officials at the foreign ministry and Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka expressed their ignorance about the cancellation decision as Hasina had accepted the invitation of Pakistan president during Khar's visit in Dhaka.
On Friday, Abul Kalam Azad, press secretary to the premier, confirmed that Hasina would pay a three-day official visit to Pakistan from November 21.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, another highly placed source said the premier had called off the visit to Islamabad due to her eye-ailment.
But party sources said the top leaders and policymakers of Awami League advised Hasina not to go to Islamabad on security grounds as the absconding convicted killers of Bangabandhu might be there.
Besides, different militant and terrorist groups were highly annoyed with Hasina due to her government's anti-terrorist and anti-militant initiatives, said the party sources.
The bigwigs also told their party chief that it would be unwise to visit Pakistan unless Islamabad offered formal and unconditional apology to Dhaka for the genocide the Pakistan occupation forces had committed in Bangladesh during the Liberation War in 1971.
Hina Rabbani Khar while meeting Dipu Moni on Friday reiterated that Pakistan had regretted its actions of 1971 on different occasions since 1974. She called for the two countries to move ahead together by turning back to the past.
The D-8 (Developing 8) consists of Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia and Malaysia. The second summit of the group was held in Bangladesh in March, 1999.

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