Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina tears into Pakistan, calls it a 'defeated force'

Nepal on Sunday regretted that the regional environment was "not conducive" to host the next SAARC summit.

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina tears into Pakistan, calls it a 'defeated force'
File photo

Dhaka: Evan as Nepal on Sunday regretted that the regional environment was "not conducive" to host the next SAARC summit (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today termed Pakistan a "defeated force".

She also said that Islamabad's protests over recent execution of a 1971 war crimes convict had prompted Bangladesh to pull out of the SAARC summit.

"Pakistan is a defeated force. We defeated them in our Liberation War (in 1971), as a defeated force they can tell many things which matters little to us... Pakistan's view is nothing but the aspersion of a defeated party, which people of Bangladesh should consider in that manner," she said.

Pakistan's protests over recent executions of a 1971 war crimes' convict prompted Bangladesh to take the decision not to join the 19th SAARC summit to be held in Islamabad, Hasina said at a press meet here, a day after returning from New York where she attended the UN General Assembly.

"The diplomatic ties will be there... We will face them (Pakistan) diplomatically," Hasina said, as per PTI.

She asked Bangladeshis to think about the relationship of "cohorts and patrons" of perpetrators of 1971 war crimes against humanity who carried out genocides siding with Pakistani troops during the Liberation war, in an oblique reference to main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by former pm Khaleda Zia.

"BNP's founder General Ziaur Rahman rehabilitated them (war criminals) after 1975... She (Zia) rewarded the (now executed) war criminals making them ministers in her Cabinet. Before severing diplomatic relation with Pakistan, people of Bangladesh should consider cutting off links with their local cohorts and boycott them in the social and political arena," Hasina said.

Asked what is her government's stand on the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan, Hasina said the situation "concerns us".

"We do not want any tension, war-like situation... In that case we will also be affected and our development of the region will be disrupted. What we sincerely expect is the two countries will settle their issues through dialogue bilaterally," she said.

Ties between Bangladesh and Pakistan witnessed strain after Dhaka initiated the trial of Bangladeshi perpetrators of 1971 war crimes in 2010 in line with Hasina's electoral pledges, with Islamabad repeatedly condemning the trials.

In the latest such incident, Pakistan reacted to execution of a business tycoon and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali last month saying "the act of suppressing the opposition, through 'flawed trials', is completely against the spirit of democracy", angering Dhaka.

Bangladesh so far carried out judicial execution of six condemned war criminals, five being leaders of Jamaat which was opposed to the 1971 independence.

On the other hand, current Chair of the SAARC grouping Nepal today said that member states must ensure their territories are not used for cross-border terrorism.

Days after India and four other countries pulled out of the 19th SAARC summit indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an atmosphere which was not right for successfully holding the event, Nepal said it strongly believes that "an environment of peace and stability is essential for a meaningful regional cooperation".

Nepal "unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations" and expresses its solidarity in the global fight against terrorism," Nepal's Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement, adding the country has always condemned all acts of terrorism in the region.

"Most recently, Nepal has condemned the terrorist attack on Indian Army base in Uri, Kashmir on September 18, that resulted in the loss of life of Indian soldiers," it noted.

It further said that to achieve peace and stability in the region, "SAARC member states must, among others, ensure that their respective territories are not used by terrorists for cross-border terrorism".

Nepal "regrets that regional environment is not conducive" to host the next Summit, earlier scheduled for November 9-10 in Islamabad, it said, adding that host Pakistan has informed it about the postponement of the meet.

It said it will initiate "necessary consultation" for holding the next summit.

"As the current Chair of SAARC, Nepal underscores the need for creating a conducive regional environment for the SAARC summit. Nepal will initiate necessary consultation on successfully holding the 19th Summit with the participation of all member states," the statement said.

Earlier, Minister for Foreign Affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat, who returned yesterday after leading the Nepali delegation to the 71st United National General Assembly (UNGA), told reporters here that Nepal will take "necessary steps and hold discussions with member states to press for holding the summit.

The summit was postponed on Friday following the pull-out by India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan. Later, Sri Lanka also pulled out of the summit.

Citing continuous cross-border terrorism by Pakistan, India had said last week that in the prevailing circumstances, India was unable to participate in the proposed summit in Islamabad.

SAARC members include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 

(With PTI inputs)

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