By our correspondent in Dhaka
Bangladesh on Thursday told Pakistan to “officially” apologise for the genocide its army carried out during the 1971 Independence War, almost a month after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina categorical said Dhaka will never “forget or forgive” for the atrocities.
State Minister for Foreign affairs Shahriar Alam told the Pakistani High Commissioner Imran Ahmed Siddiqui that Islamabad should “officially apologise” for the 1971 genocide, the worst after the Nazi killings, besides settling the issue of assets and liabilities. Bangladesh is the former East Pakistan.
He also told Siddiqui that the Biharis or the “stranded Pakistanis” camped in Bangladesh for the past 50 years should be repatriated to his country.
The Biharis collaborated with the Pakistani Army in carrying out the genocide that killed three million unarmed people and left at least 250,000 women raped.
Analysts say Pakistan’s efforts to warm up ties with Bangladesh is next to impossible, but can be eased if Islamabad “officially apologised” for the 1971 genocide.
On 3 December 20, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the envoy “The incidents of 1971 cannot be forgotten of forgiven. The pain will remain forever.”
This was the first such blunt comment by any Bangladeshi leader to a Pakistani envoy and she clearly drew the line of ties in future with Islamabad, which also interfered during trial and execution of the Bengali collaborators for war crimes.
The High Commissioner remained silent on both the occasions.
Former military strongman Parvez Musharraf, during a visit to Dhaka, “regretted the incidents” of 1971, but Dhaka refused to accept that as an apology.