ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday refused to tender an apology to Bangladesh over the controversial video shared on the Pakistani High Commission’s Facebook page that claimed that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was not the one who declared independence in 1971.
The video prompted the Bangladesh foreign ministry to summon Pakistan’s High Commissioner Rafiuzzaman Siddiqui to register protest and demand a formal apology from Pakistan.
In an apparent tit for tat move, Pakistan summoned the Bangladesh High Commissioner to inform him that sharing a video by a third party could not be attributed to the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka.
Distancing itself from the video, the Foreign Office questioned the origin of the controversial clip and lodged a strong protest with the Bangladeshi envoy for using what it called ‘undiplomatic language in a Note Verbale’.
In a statement, the Foreign Office said Pakistan had been pursuing a policy of maintaining friendly and cordial ties with Bangladesh.
“Pakistan desires to move forward in accordance with the Tripartite Agreement of 1974.”
At a news conference, the newly appointed spokesperson of the Foreign Office Dr Muhammad Faisal, who summoned the Bangladeshi envoy, the video was uploaded on the high commission’s Facebook page by someone else and was immediately deleted.
“We sincerely hope that the bilateral relationship between Pakistan and Bangladesh will continue to move in the letter and spirit of the Tripartite Agreement of 1974,” Faisal added.
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When asked whether Pakistan would tender any apology, the spokesperson without directly responding to the query insisted that the 1974 Tripartite Agreement between Pakistan, Bangladesh and India was the cornerstone for taking the relations forward.
“We expect our Bangladeshi brethren to adhere to it,” he hoped.
Replying to a question, the spokesperson said the US had repeatedly stated in both private and public interactions that it wants to see de-escalation of tension between Pakistan and India.
“We have welcomed these statements by the US officials since Pakistan has also been making consistent efforts to reach out to India with a view to lowering the temperatures,” Faisal said.
He said India, however, had repeatedly refused to engage bilaterally.
“It has resisted third country mediation, which indicates India’s defiance to the peaceful means to resolve disputes, as envisaged in the UN Charter.”
He made it clear that the Jammu & Kashmir dispute could only be resolved through the implementation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, which to date, have remained unimplemented.
“The people of occupied Kashmir have been struggling for the just right to self-determination, as envisaged in the UNSC Resolutions, for the past 70 years.”
He maintained that the Jammu & Kashmir dispute has three parties, namely Pakistan, India, and Kashmir. “All three parties must hold a dialogue under the ambit of UNSC Resolutions to resolve the dispute in an amicable manner.”
Responding to another question, the spokesperson said the myth of Indian democracy was fully exposed to the world in the wake of ever-rising human rights violations and hate crimes against minorities in that country.
“The religious intolerance and extremism in India is no secret to the world as is evident from the reports by the international human rights organisations and media,” he stated.
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