Islamabad reacts to Bangladesh’s protest against Pakistani attitude

Pakistan summoned the Acting High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Islamabad on Monday, a week after Dhaka protested its “brazen interference” in the war crimes trials.

Published : 30 Nov 2015, 02:57 PM
Updated : 30 Nov 2015, 03:41 PM

Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan in 1971 and, in 2010, started trying those who committed crimes against humanity in the act of collaborating with the Pakistani occupation forces.

Pakistani politicians previously reacted to the tribunal’s verdicts. The latest official reaction came after the execution of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid.

Following Islamabad’s protest, Dhaka summoned the Pakistan High Commissioner and handed over a strongly worded protest note.

The Pakistan foreign ministry on Monday said in a statement it summoned Bangladesh’s acting high commissioner and informed that “the government of Pakistan rejected the baseless and unfounded assertions of the Bangladesh Government conveyed vide its Note of 23 November 2015”.

Salauddin Quader was the son of Pakistan’s national assembly speaker Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, who supported the military action against Bengalees.

A six-time MP from Chittagong, Salauddin served as a minister under military dictator HM Ershad. He later joined the BNP and served as an advisor to Khaleda Zia.

Mujahid led the notorious Al-Badr militia, which abducted and executed intellectuals during the war.

He became a minister during the BNP-Jamaat coalition government.

Immediately after their execution on Nov 22, Islamabad in a statement said it was “deeply disturbed” at this development.

Pakistan also said the trials were “flawed”.

Following this reaction, Pakistani rights activist Asma Jahangir said Islamabad’s reaction over their executions in Bangladesh only proved that the two were Pakistan’s political agents.

Dhaka, in its protest note, said that by expressing concern about the war criminals Islamabad had “again acknowledged its direct involvement” in mass atrocities during the war by “openly taking the side” of the war criminals.

Following this note, the acting high commissioner of Bangladesh has been summoned by the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Director General for South Asia and SAARC.

Through the summoning, “Pakistan also rejected insinuation of complicity in committing crimes or war atrocities. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“It is regrettable that attempts have been made by the Government of Bangladesh to malign Pakistan, despite our ardent desire to develop brotherly relations with Bangladesh,” Islamabad said in the statement.

“Pakistan believes that the peoples of both countries not only want to maintain but also further strengthen the bonds of friendship and brotherhood.

“However, sadly, the Government of Bangladesh does not seem to respect these sentiments. The 1974 tripartite Agreement is the bedrock of relations between the two countries.

“As regards the Bangladesh Government's contention that Pakistan presents a misleading interpretation of the Agreement of 1974, it needs to be emphasized that, as part of the Agreement, the Government of Bangladesh had "decided not to proceed with the trials as an act of clemency."

“Pakistan reiterates its desire for further enhancing relations with Bangladesh, because we believe that the hearts of the people of Pakistan beat in unison with the people of Bangladesh.

“It is important for the two countries not to forget the role played by their people in the struggle for the establishment of a separate homeland for the Muslims of the South Asian sub-continent.

“It is, therefore, imperative to move forward in the spirit of goodwill, friendship and harmony for the collective good of the peoples of Pakistan and Bangladesh”, read the statement.