Pakistan has lifted all restrictions on visas for Bangladeshi residents, a transfer being seen as an ice breaker within the frosty relations between the 2 Muslim-majority nations in South Asia.
“Pakistan has already eliminated all restrictions on Pakistani visas for Bangladeshi residents,” mentioned a press release by the Pakistan Excessive Fee in Bangladesh after a gathering between Pakistani Excessive Commissioner Imran Ahmed Siddiqui and Bangladesh’s State Minister for International Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Thursday.
“The 2 sides agreed to accentuate bilateral contacts in any respect ranges,” the assertion added.
Chatting with Anadolu Company after the assembly, Siddiqui mentioned Pakistan is ready for a similar response from the Bangladeshi aspect.
“Bangladesh’s restrictions on Pakistani nationals are nonetheless in place, and that’s the reason I knowledgeable the state minister that we have now already lifted all bars from our aspect,” he mentioned.
Bangladesh, former East Pakistan, gained independence after a bloody struggle in 1971 over standard resentment in opposition to energy being concentrated in West Pakistan.
Bilateral relations between the 2 nations have remained tense since, however reached a peak in 2009 when Bangladesh established a tribunal to prosecute these accused of struggle crimes in 1971.
Through the liberation struggle, the nation’s largest Islamist occasion had sided with the Pakistani army in a bid to forestall the breakup of the nation.
India, Pakistan’s regional rival, had supported the Bangladeshi fighters for independence.
However analysts say Bangladesh started looking for nearer relations with Pakistan over India’s “partial perspective” not too long ago, together with monopoly management over shared rivers, killings of unarmed Bangladeshi civilians on the borders, and the passing of the controversial Citizenship Modification Act (CAA).
In July final yr, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan made a uncommon cellphone name to his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina as Dhaka declared pursuing a overseas coverage of “friendship to all and malice to none”.
On Thursday, the Pakistani envoy additionally referred to as on Hasina and International Minister AK Abdul Momen in Dhaka and reportedly mentioned numerous bilateral points.
In a separate assertion by the Bangladesh overseas ministry, Minister Alam was quoted as saying: “We look ahead to partaking with Pakistan.”
Either side agreed on the necessity to maintain long-pending overseas workplace consultations which had been final held in 2010, it added.
Alam additionally urged Pakistan to grant entry to extra Bangladeshi merchandise by utilising the present South Asia Free Commerce Settlement (SAFTA) provisions, stress-free the destructive checklist and eradicating commerce obstacles. “The present commerce stability tilts in direction of Pakistan,” he mentioned.
Through the assembly, the Pakistani aspect emphasised addressing all non-trade obstacles to ascertain “productive business relations”.
Apology from Pakistan
Alam additionally urged Pakistan to supply an official apology “for the genocide dedicated within the Bangladesh Liberation Conflict of 1971”.
The Pakistani envoy additionally handed over a signed copy of the Tripartite Settlement of 1974 to the Bangladeshi state minister “which had addressed all of the excellent points between the 2 nations”.
“The settlement ought to function a basis for additional strengthening of the present fraternal relations,” the assertion quoted Pakistani Excessive Commissioner Siddiqui as saying.
The April 1974 settlement signed by Bangladesh, Pakistan and India in New Delhi says: “The Prime Minister of Pakistan had declared that he would go to Bangladesh in response to the invitation of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and appealed to the folks of Bangladesh to forgive and neglect the errors of the previous, in an effort to promote reconciliation.
“Equally, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh had declared with regard to the atrocities and destruction dedicated in Bangladesh in 1971 that he needed the folks to neglect the previous and to make a recent begin, stating that the folks of Bangladesh knew how you can forgive.”
The settlement additionally mentioned Bangladesh “had determined to not proceed with the [1971 war] trials as an act of clemency” and that the prisoners of struggle “could also be repatriated to Pakistan”.
“The Ministers [the then foreign ministers of Bangladesh, Pakistan and India] expressed their conviction that the above agreements present a agency foundation for the decision of the humanitarian issues arising out of the battle of 1971,” mentioned the settlement.