The Pakistani High Commissioner in Dhaka must have been caught unguarded and left with red-faced when Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina bluntly told him on Thursday that the 1971 atrocities by his country cannot be “forgotten or forgiven.”
Apparently, this is the first time a Pakistani envoy has been told on his face about her mind on the 1971 genocide during the Bangladesh war and also that she had no interest on the envoy’s proposal to boost bilateral ties.
“The incidents of 1971 can’t be forgotten. The pain will remain there forever,” she told High Commissioner Imran Ahmed Siddiqui during a call at her official Ganobhaban residence aimed at boosting Dhaka-Islamabad ties.
The premier said the atrocities cannot be either forgiven, an official quoted her as saying.
A press statement issued by the prime minister’s office said Sheikh Hasina mentioned about two books, saying ‘Secret Documents of Intelligence Branch on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’ contained many historical facts of the 1948-1971 period.
The Urdu version of the book ‘Unfinished Memoirs’ by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is one of the bestsellers in Pakistan. “It’s also well-read in Pakistan apart from other countries,” she added.
Pakistan in recent months has shown its interest to boost ties with Bangladesh, but analysts have said that it was far crying unless Islamabad apologised publicly for the killing of three million Bengalis, mostly innocent men, women and children along with raping 250,000 women.
The Pakistani Army which has a strong influence on the country’s politics will never allow that to happen as it denies the internally acknowledged crimes against humanity during the Bangladesh War.
Bangladesh, former East Pakistan, and Pakistan ties are at an all-time low currently since Sheikh Hasina took a firm stand over Islamabad’s support to the war criminals when they were being executed after a long trial, accusing Islamabad of interfering in Dhaka’s internal affairs.
The killers of Bangladesh’s founder, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujbur Rahman, who is also the father of Sheikh Hasina, are widely believed to have had the patronisation of Pakistan. At least one convicted former army officer of the Bangabandhu murder case is allegedly sheltered in Pakistan.
The High Commissioner mentioned that different bilateral and regional forums have remained inactive, and sought help from the Bangladesh Prime Minister to activate Foreign Office consultations between the two countries and to boost bilateral ties, the statement added.
In reply, the Prime Minister said there is no bar here to the continuation of functioning regularly.and she believes in regional cooperation
Referring to the Bangladesh foreign policy “friendship to all malice towards none”, said Hasina adding that she believes in continuing relationships with other countries based on different perspectives.
Analysts said Sheikh Hasina’s blunt reply to the High Commissioner simply made it clear in diplomatic terms that their ties will remain as it is now.
PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus and Military Secretary Major General Naqib Ahmed Chowdhury were present, said a handout released from the Prime Minister’s Office.