Pakistan FM Bilawal Bhutto makes brief stopover in Bangladesh on way to Cambodia

Bilawal Bhutto was on his way to Cambodia

Published : 3 August 2022, 05:17 PM
Updated : 3 August 2022, 05:17 PM

Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has made a short stopover at Shah Amanat International Airport in Bangladesh’s Chattogram on his way to Cambodia.

The High Commission of Pakistan in Bangladesh posted several photos of Bilawal’s 40-minute stay at the airport on Wednesday afternoon on its Facebook page, saying Information Minister Hasan Mahmud received him.

It said Bilawal was travelling to Cambodia to join the 29th Ministerial Meeting of ASEAN Regional Forum.

It also said Bilawal and Hasan exchanged gifts of books from each other’s country.

Hasan’s comments were not immediately available.

The Pakistani foreign minister conveyed his compliments and message of goodwill to his Bangladeshi counterpart AK Abdul Momen and the people of Bangladesh.

“While flying over Bangladesh, I wish to convey my personal best wishes for Your Excellency's good health and happiness and for ever increasing progress and prosperity of the brotherly people of Bangladesh,” the high commission quoted Bilawal as saying.

Bangladesh’s relations with Pakistan have been restrained since Bangladesh secured independence from Pakistan through a bloody Liberation War in 1971 following two decades of suppression.

The ties had remained fraught for the last 10 years over myriad matters, including trials of Bangladeshis who collaborated with the Pakistani forces during the war, and the expulsion of diplomats on accusation of espionage.

Recently, the Pakistani high commission removed the image of a combination of Bangladesh and Pakistan’s national flags from its Facebook page after protests. Activists and netizens alleged Pakistan belittled and distorted Bangladesh’s flag.

Last month, Foreign Minister Momen said Pakistan's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar would travel to Dhaka to attend the ministerial conference of the D-8 alliance. Hina Rabbani finally cancelled the visit.

Her visit to Dhaka would have been the first by a Pakistani minister to Bangladesh in a decade. She was the last Pakistan cabinet member who visited Dhaka in an official capacity in 2012.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher