Pak should apologise for 1971 atrocities: Bangladesh Minister

Last Updated: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 22:54

Dhaka: A top Bangladeshi minister on Thursday
asked Islamabad to formally apologise for the atrocities
committed by the Pakistan Army during the 1971 `Liberation
war` so as to strengthen bilateral ties.

"Pakistan has to take measures after correctly
evaluating the incidents in 1971 if it wants to further
strengthen the existing relations between the two countries,"
the state-run BSS quoted commerce minister Faruk Khan as
saying after a meeting with Pakistan High Commissioner Ashraf
Khan said Pakistan should formally apologise to
Bangladesh for the atrocities.

The minister also expected Islamabad to take a
"democratic attitude" to the issue as Bangladesh moves to try
the Bengali-speaking 1971 ?war criminals? for crimes against

According to official figures, Pakistani troops, aided
by local collaborators, killed an estimated 3 million people,
raped about 200,000 women and forced millions more to leave
their homes during the bloody nine-month guerrilla war.

On March 26, 1971, Bangladesh - then East Pakistan -
declared its independence from West Pakistan.

The government last month set up a three-member
special tribunal for the trial of "war criminals" accused of
genocide and those who sided with the Pakistani military.

Talking to newsmen after the meeting, the envoy said
that the question of seeking formal apology from Pakistan for
its role in 1971 has to be decided through discussion between
the two countries.

Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf and ex-
Premier Nawaj Sharif earlier "regretted" the 1971 role of the
Pakistani troops.

Earlier this week, Qureshi had said Pakistan "will
not interfere" in the controversial trial, saying it was an
"internal affair" of Bangladesh
"It is absolutely the internal affairs of the
Bangladesh... Bangladesh is a sovereign country. Pakistan
believes in its sovereignty. So, it will not interfere into
these internal affairs of Bangladesh," the Pakistani High
Commissioner said, adding Islamabad will not launch any
campaign against the legal initiative.

Pakistan has argued that a tripartite treaty between
Dhaka, New Delhi and Islamabad had resolved the 1971 "war
crime" issue.

Talking to a visiting German delegation, Foreign
Minister Dipu Moni said today that Bangladesh would try only
its own citizens found guilty of war crimes.


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First Published: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 22:54

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