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Say sorry for 1971 atrocities: Bangladesh tells Pakistan

November 09, 2012 15:43 IST

Bangladesh on Friday demanded a formal apology from Pakistan for the genocide committed by its troops during the 1971 liberation war, but Islamabad said it is time to carry forward bilateral ties after "burying the past".

During a meeting with her Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said, "Bangladesh expects an apology from Pakistan for the genocide carried out by their troops in 1971".

Moni also underscored the need for resolvingĀ other outstanding issues with Pakistan, Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes quoted the minister as saying.

In response, the Pakistani foreign minister said since 1974 Islamabad has "at different times and different manners expressed its regret for the 1971 incidents".

"She (Khar) said it is now the time to proceed forward and bury the past."

Quayes's comments came after Moni told a private news agency on Thursday that Pakistan must apologise for the mass killings.

Khar, the first Pakistani minister to visit Dhaka since the ruling Awami League assumed office three years ago, arrived on a five-hour tour to invite Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to attend the Developing-8 Summit to be held in Islamabad on November 22.

Khar later called on Hasina and handed over an invitation letter from Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari at her official residence.

She is also expected to meet main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief and former premier Khaleda Zia.

Bangladesh used to be a part of Pakistan until 1971, when it won its independence after a nine-month long liberation war against Pakistani troops.

The incumbent government has been demanding Islamabad's official apology for the atrocities committed by Pakistani troops during the liberation war.

Anisur Rahman
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