Islamabad/Dhaka: In a tit-for-tat, Pakistan and Bangladesh both summoned each other’s envoys today, as the row over execution of Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami for 1971 war crimes escalated. “A strong protest was lodged at the unfortunate hanging of Mr Motiur Rahman Nizami on the alleged crimes committed before December 1971 through a flawed judicial process,” Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement.
Bangladeshi envoy Nazmul Huda was today summoned to the Foreign Office a day after Pakistan issued a statement expressing sadness over the “unfortunate hanging” and National Assembly passed a resolution condemning the execution.
The Foreign Office said the attempts by the government of Bangladesh to malign Pakistan, “despite our keen desire to develop brotherly relations with it, are regrettable.” FO further said that the 1974 Tripartite Agreement is the cornerstone of relations between the two countries.
It needs to be emphasised that, as part of the Agreement, the Government of Bangladesh “decided not to proceed with the trials as an act of clemency.”
Pakistan reiterates its desire for friendly relations with Bangladesh, it added.
Hours later in Dhaka, Pakistan’s High Commissioner Shuja Alam was called at the Foreign Office where he was handed over a strong note verbale. “Pakistan’s High Commissioner Shuja Alam was called at the foreign office where our secretary for bilateral affairs Mizanur Rahman handed him over a strong note verbale,” a Bangladesh foreign office spokesman said.
73-year-old Nizami’s execution is linked with Pakistan as he was convicted for supporting Pakistan army in 1971 crackdown on dissidents in then East Pakistan.
Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry later in a statement said it conveyed a strong protest against a press release issued by Pakistani foreign office and consequent adoption of a resolution in parliament condemning Nizami’s execution.
“Bangladesh has conveyed its strong protest against the (Pakistan foreign office) press release…subsequent passing of a resolution at the National Assembly of Pakistan on the execution,” the statement said.
It said that by taking side of “those Bangladesh nationals who are convicted of crimes against humanity and genocide, Pakistan has once again acknowledged its direct involvement and complicity with the mass atrocity crimes committed during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971”.
“So doing, it is also relentlessly opposing Bangladesh’s efforts to ensure justice and break the culture of impunity for the crimes committed 45 years ago,” it said.