Pakistan’s new High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi’s first visit to Bangladesh was not as pleasant as anticipated. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was taken by surprise when upon arrival, they were read the Riot Act and approached for a formal apology for the atrocities and genocide committed by the Pakistani army during the 1971 war. Bangladesh claims that Pakistani forces killed 3 million people, raped 200,000 women and left millions homeless. Pakistan has disputed the allegations though admitting to abuses but terming the figures as far-fetched and sensational. Adding further, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni demanded that Pakistan recognize the outstanding political issues of stranded Pakistanis, war repatriation and division of assets and reach a formal resolution on the pressing matters.
President Pervez Musharraf, who became the first Pakistani Army ruler to visit Bangladesh, had described the events of 1971 as unfortunate and had advocated a move to greater cooperation with respect and dignity accorded to the past. He had pressed that the two countries would not be able to move forward until they didn’t move beyond their troubled history and look towards a prosperous interlinked future.
On the issue of waiver from Bangladesh for Pakistani exports to the EU, Moni stated that while the Bangladesh government sympathized with a flood ravaged country like Pakistan, according “trade preference to a country based solely on account of natural disasters was unprecedented.”