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Bangladesh demands apology from Pakistan over ‘ill-motivated’ video post of Mujibur Rahman

A 14-minute video was initially posted on a Facebook page called Pakistan Affairs. The Pakistani mission in Dhaka shared the video on its Facebook page.

world Updated: Oct 31, 2017 23:05 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Dhaka
Bangladesh,Pakistan,Bangladesh-Pakistan animosity
Agreement between India and Bangladesh being signed by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Indira Gandhi.(HT File Photo)

Bangladesh on Tuesday demanded an apology from Pakistan, summoning Islamabad’s envoy here over a “misleading” video posted on its high commission’s Facebook page that claimed the country’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was not the one who declared its independence in 1971.

Secretary (Bilateral) Kamrul Ahsan summoned Pakistani high commissioner Rafiuzzaman Siddiqui this afternoon and handed him a “strongly worded protest note” warning that repeated breach of diplomatic norms by Pakistan would only stand to harm bilateral relations, a Foreign Office statement said.

“The Government of Bangladesh seeks a formal note of apology for this ill-motivated and misleading video post and calls for an immediate withdrawal of the footage from the Facebook page reportedly maintained by the Pakistan high commission in Dhaka,” it said.

The statement said Ahsan told the envoy that Dhaka deeply regretted that notwithstanding Bangladesh’s repeated overtures “the malicious campaign by Pakistan and its various agencies against Bangladesh has not come to a halt”.

The nearly 14-minute video had initially been posted on a Facebook page called Pakistan Affairs. It said Bangladesh’s military ruler and subsequent president “Ziaur Rahman, not Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, announced Bangladesh’s independence”.

The Pakistani mission in Dhaka shared the video on its Facebook page, sparking a controversy that prompted it to remove the post.

Ahsan said the Pakistani envoy “apologised” saying the incident was “unintentional”.

“We told him (envoy) that if this continues it will harm relations between the two countries. History is history. One cannot divert it by spreading propaganda,” the Bangladeshi official said.

The diplomatic protest note said the message conveyed in the video that it was not Mujib who declared the independence of Bangladesh “is a blatant lie and sheer fabrication of historical facts”.

“Nothing can be farthest from the truth than claiming that the architect of independent Bangladesh and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman did not want Bangladesh’s independence or that Bangladesh’s independence was declared by anybody other than the great leader himself,” the note said.

Bangladesh emerged as an independent nation, breaking away from Pakistan after its victory in the 1971 liberation war aided by India.

Bilateral relations have suffered in recent years over the 1971 war crimes trial in Bangladesh and executions of former Bengali war criminals who colluded with the invading Pakistani troops.

A rankled Dhaka repeatedly summoned Islamabad’s envoy here during the past three years following protests by Pakistani leaders over the trial and executions.

First Published: Oct 31, 2017 23:05 IST