Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has written a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, congratulating her on 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence and Mujib Borsho, seeking to fortify the existing bonds between the two countries and to build new ones for the succeeding generations.
“We would like to fortify our existing bonds with brotherly Bangladesh and build new ones for our succeeding generations, as we believe the destinies of our two peoples are intertwined,” he said in the letter sent to media by the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka this evening.
The letter comes as Bangladesh celebrates tomorrow the golden jubilee of its independence from the occupation forces of Pakistan in 1971.
Bangladesh declared independence on March 26, 1971, a day after Pakistan military began Operation Searchlight, killing innocent, unarmed civilians, teachers and students of Dhaka University. In the subsequent months until December 16, according to Bangladesh government, Pakistani forces killed three million Bengalis. Millions took shelter in India, while hundreds of thousands of Bengali women were raped.
Bangladesh has been demanding that Pakistan officially offer apology for the genocide during the Liberation War that was a culmination of decades of economic and political deprivation following the partition of India and Pakistan based on religion.
Bangladesh’s relations with Pakistan deteriorated further after the latter’s parliament adopted resolutions against the war crimes trial of Bangladesh, which hanged some major criminals who committed crimes against humanity in 1971. Pakistan’s application for appointing its envoy was not accepted for nearly two years until November 2019.
In recent months, Pakistan’s bid to improve relations with Bangladesh has been visible. Dhaka asked Islamabad to resolve outstanding issues, which include receiving an official apology from Pakistan for the genocide in 1971, repatriation of Pakistanis stranded in Bangladesh, and the division of assets.
Imran Khan, who tested COVID-19 positive last week, in the letter wrote: “On this occasion, let us renew our resolve to jointly work for a better future for our peoples and even closer ties between our two countries.”
Khan did not mention anything regarding the Liberation War or the atrocities by the Pakistani junta.
He wrote, “I have great pleasure in extending our felicitations on the 50th anniversary of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.”
“The centenary events to commemorate the late Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman are reflective of the deep affection and esteem in which he is held by yourself and the people of Bangladesh,” he wrote.
The cricket player-turned politician said Pakistan deeply values its fraternal ties with Bangladesh, which are based on “shared history, common faith, and convergent interests in promoting lasting peace and security as well as sustainable prosperity in our region and beyond.”
The centenary and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh remind of the “far-sighted vision of reconciliation and friendship between our two peoples, so dearly cherished by the leaders of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Pakistan remains a sincere partner in the fullest realization of this vision” he wrote.
Imran Khan also invited Prime Minister Hasina to visit Pakistan at the earliest convenience, saying he was confident that this would open a new chapter in fraternal relations.
He wished Prime Minister Hasina long life, health and happiness and continued peace, progress and prosperity of Bangladeshis.
“Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration,” he wrote.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday said Prime Minister Hasina wrote a message to Imran Khan, wishing his quick recovery from COVID-19.
On the occasion of Pakistan Day, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also wrote to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying India desires “cordial relations” with its neighbour in an environment “devoid of terror”.