Pakistani envoy summoned in Bangladesh in tit-for-tat move (Roundup)

Dhaka/Islamabad, May 12 (IANS) In an apparent tit-for-tat move, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh Shuja Alam was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka once again on Thursday, hours after Islamabad summoned Dhaka’s envoy.

Islamabad summoned Bangladesh’s acting High Commissioner Nazmul Huda and handed over its resolution expressing “serious concerns” over the execution of Motiur Rahman Nizami, ameer (president) of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party.

Pakistan’s parliament on Wednesday passed a unanimous resolution condemning Nizami’s execution in protest of which Turkey on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Bangladesh.

Nizami, who served as agriculture and industries minister in ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s 2001-2006 cabinet, was hanged late on Tuesday for war crimes.

Mizanur Rahman, secretary (bilateral) at Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, summoned Shuja Alam at his office at 5.00 p.m.

Later, a foreign ministry statement said Bangladesh strongly protested the Pakistani parliamentary resolution condemning Nizami’s execution for 1971 crimes against humanity, and summoned Islamabad’s envoy to the foreign office in Dhaka.

After a 20-minute meeting, Alam told journalists that there was no possibility of breaking off diplomatic relations between the two brotherly countries.

“Recent incidents won’t affect relations of brotherly countries,” he said while leaving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a smile on his face.

Earlier, on May 9, the ministry summoned Alam to lodge a formal protest over the statement issued by his country regarding the apex court verdict that paved the way for Nizami’s execution.

Nizami was indicted in 2012 on 16 charges of crimes against humanity, including looting, mass killings, arson, rape and forcefully converting people to Islam during the 1971 war.

The indictment order said Nizami was a key organiser of the Al-Badr, an auxiliary force of then Pakistani army which planned and executed the killing of Bangali intellectuals at the end of the war.

Relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh have been tense since 2013 over the execution of opposition politicians, of whom Nizami was the latest and the fifth.

Pakistan, in January this year, ordered a senior Bangladeshi diplomat to leave the country in what appears to a tit-for-tat move nearly two weeks after Bangladesh asked Pakistan to withdraw a diplomat.

After returning to power in January 2009, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina established an International Crimes Tribunal in March 2010, almost 40 years after the 1971 battle for independence from Pakistan.

–IANS

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