Hasina to visit Pakistan: Official
Last Updated: Saturday, November 10, 2012, 20:35
  
Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will pay a three-day official visit to Pakistan to join an international summit later this month, a spokesman of her office said Saturday.

Dhaka has also asked Islamabad to apologise for the atrocities committed by its troops during the 1971 Liberation War.

"She (Hasina) has decided to visit Pakistan to join the D-8 summit" at the invitation of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, premier's press secretary Abul Kalam Azad said.

The conformation came a day after Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar handed her over the invitation letter for the summit of the Development-8, a grouping of eight nations with Muslim majority population.

The summit in Islamabad is scheduled for November 22 and Hasina is expected to reach Pakistan on November 21, which would be her first tour to the Pakistani capital since her ruling Awami League was elected to power in December 2008 general elections.

Foreign ministry officials earlier said foreign minister Dipu Moni might represent the premier at the summit.

The visit appears significant as Dhaka-Islamabad ties in the past four years were limited to a visit of Bangladesh's Education and Commerce Ministers and Speaker to Islamabad and Foreign Secretary-level official consultations in November 2010.

The incumbent government has been demanding Islamabad's official apology for the Pakistani troops' atrocities during the 1971 war.

Repatriation of several million Urdu-speaking people who claim to be stranded Pakistanis and sharing of wealth of pre-1971 undivided Pakistan remain outstanding issues in bilateral ties.

The Bangladesh foreign minister yesterday reiterated demands for the formal apology in talks with Khar, who arrived here in her maiden one-day tour to hand over the D-8 summit's invitation letter to Hasina.

"(Bangladesh) Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said Bangladesh expects an apology from Pakistan for the genocides carried out by their troops in 1971" in talks with Khar, foreign secretary Mijarul Quayes told newsmen after the meeting.

Khar said since 1974 Islamabad "at different times and different manners expressed its regret for the 1971 incidents" while its the time to proceed forward burying the bitter past.

PTI


First Published: Saturday, November 10, 2012, 20:35


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