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A ten member media delegation representing print and electronic media of Bangladesh, presently visiting Pakistan, called on the Foreign Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier today. The media delegation’s visit has been arranged by the Government of Pakistan under the Special Assistance Programme for South Asia.

The Foreign Secretary stated that the people of Pakistan and Bangladesh are bound by the ties of shared history, faith and culture. There was a need to improve relations, particularly people-to-people exchanges, student scholarships and sporting contacts.

The Foreign Secretary shared with the media delegation the deep concern and anguish over the execution of several opposition leaders in Bangladesh convicted for alleged crimes committed before December, 1971. He further said that ever since the trials began, several international organizations, human rights groups and international legal figures have raised objections on the court proceedings, especially regarding their fairness and transparency, as well as reported harassment of lawyers and witnesses representing the accused.

Under the 1974 Tripartite Agreement, which remains a fundamental reference for the relations between the two countries post 16 December 1971, the Government of Bangladesh had “decided not to proceed with the trials as an act of clemency,” he emphasized. It was time for the two countries to pursue a forward looking approach in the spirit of “forget and forgive” as enunciated in the 1974 Agreement.

In the end, the Foreign Secretary stated that bilateral relations should not be kept hostage to a single issue as it is much broader in terms of trade, culture and people to people contact, and should, therefore, be expanded.

13 May, 2016

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