Unresolved Issues with Pakistan: Dhaka seeks to settle those | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 08, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:48 AM, January 08, 2021

Unresolved Issues with Pakistan: Dhaka seeks to settle those

Asks for Islamabad’s formal apology for 1971 genocide

Dhaka seeks to resolve outstanding issues with Islamabad as the latter shows eagerness to improve bilateral relations with Bangladesh.

The unresolved issues include receiving an official apology from Pakistan for the genocide in 1971, repatriation of Pakistanis stranded in Bangladesh, and the division of assets.

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State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam spoke about the issues when Pakistan High Commissioner to Bangladesh Imran Ahmed Siddiqui paid him a courtesy call at the foreign ministry yesterday.

The foreign ministry in a statement yesterday said State Minister Shahriar cordially welcomed the high commissioner and said enhancing relations with neighbouring countries was a policy of Bangladesh.

Shahriar then reiterated the importance of resolving the outstanding bilateral issues.

The Pakistan High Commission in another statement said High Commissioner Imran handed the state minister a signed copy of the Tripartite Agreement of 1974 which addresses the issues between the countries.

He said the agreement should serve as a foundation to further strengthen the fraternal relations and underlined that in order to establish productive commercial relations, there was a need to address all non-trade barriers and efforts needed to be made to facilitate frequent interactions between the business sectors of the two countries.

The high commissioner also informed the state minister that Pakistan had removed all restrictions on Pakistani visa for Bangladeshis.

Imran joined the Pakistan High Commission early last year. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen had earlier talked to him about the gruesome killings of Bangladeshis by the Pakistani army in 1971 and said Pakistan should apologise for the genocide.

Experts also say improvement of relations with Pakistan should depend on whether it apologises for the past crimes. Trade and regional cooperation, however, can continue as usual.

The state minister yesterday also urged Pakistan to grant access to more Bangladeshi products by utilising the existing South Asia Free Trade Agreement provisions, and to remove the trade barriers as the current trade balance tilts towards Pakistan.

The high commissioner conveyed the very best wishes of the people and the government of Pakistan to Shahriar and said he would diligently work to advance bilateral relations in every possible area of cooperation.

Both sides agreed on the need to hold the long-pending Foreign Office Consultations, which was held the last time in 2010.


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