Islamabad: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Tuesday denied reports that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had refused to attend the D-8 Summit over Bangladesh’s demand for an apology for the events of 1971, saying she was unable to travel due to an ailment.
Khar said Bangladeshi authorities had not demanded any apology when she visited Dhaka on November 9 to personally invite the premier to the D-8 Summit beginning on Thursday.
Khar said she was warmly welcomed by the Bangladeshi leadership and all reports about the demand for an apology from Pakistan were "absolutely wrong".
She contended that the Bangladeshi premier had been advised by her doctors not to travel "due to some eye ailment".
Reports in the Pakistani media had said that Hasina?s refusal to attend the summit was due to Islamabad’s refusal to offer an apology for crimes committed by the Pakistani civil and military leadership in 1971 before the erstwhile East Pakistan broke away to form Bangladesh.
Khar said Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan would attend the summit.’-
Malaysia is likely to be represented by its deputy premier while a special representative from Bangladesh will attend the meet.’
Pakistan will take over the chairmanship of Developing Eight for the next two years at the summit, which will be inaugurated and chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari.
Khar said Pakistan will push for the implementation of a preferential trade agreement and a visa facilitation pact for businessmen during the meet.
Both pacts have been ratified by six of the eight members of D-8.
There will also be a major focus on enhancing economic and trade cooperation among the member states, she said.
The summit, which coincides with the 15th anniversary of the founding of D-8, will focus on the theme "Democratic partnership for peace and prosperity".
"The Islamabad summit is a major international event being hosted by Pakistan, which will enhance its image and standing," Khar said.
The summit will also adopt D-8’s charter, which will be signed by the Foreign Ministers.
The D-8 leaders will also adopt an Islamabad Declaration 2012 to reaffirm their joint resolve for concerted efforts to confront common challenges.
President Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will hold bilateral meetings on the margins of the summit.
Prime Minister Ashraf today inaugurated the D-8 Trade Exhibition and h will open the D-8 Business Forum tomorrow.
The Business Forum will focus on infrastructure, value-addition in textiles, joint ventures in alternate energy, engineering and agro-based industries.
The summit will mark the first visit of an Egyptian President to Pakistan after four decades and that of a Nigerian leader after 28 years.