1971 atrocities: Pakistan rejects Dhaka’s apology demand

May 16th, 2009 - 4:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Pervez Musharraf Islamabad, May 16 (IANS) Pakistan has rejected a demand for an apology for the atrocities committed by its military in the buildup to the 1971 war of liberation that saw the creation of Bangladesh as an independent nation, saying bygones should be bygones.
“As far as Pakistan is concerned, this matter stands resolved under the April 9, 1974, tripartite agreement,” Dawn Saturday quoted Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit as saying.

Under the 1974 agreement, Pakistan had expressed its regret for the incidents but stopped short of offering a formal apology. In 2002, during a visit to Bangladesh, then president Pervez Musharraf had also expressed Pakistan’s regrets over the 1971 incidents.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, during a meeting with Pakistan High Commissioner Alamgir Bashar Khan Babar in Dhaka earlier this week had said that Pakistan should formally apologise for all the Bangladeshis killed in 1971, share assets and repatriate those Pakistanis who were stranded in Bangladesh.

“The Bangladeshi government is reported to have sought UN help for trial of what it calls the 1971 war criminals. Diplomatic sources believe the issue, if not resolved, could lead to a diplomatic row between Islamabad and Dhaka,” Dawn said.

Basit said Pakistan valued its relations with Bangladesh and preferred to move forward.

“We have conveyed this to our friends in Bangladesh,” he said, adding: “Let bygones be bygones.”

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