February 17, 2009 - 12:24am
Pakistan President's Special Envoy Zia Ispahani said here yesterday that this is not the right moment to take up the issue of holding trial of the 1971 war criminals as there are so many other issues where Pakistan likes to cooperate with Bangladesh.
"We should not go into this issue at the moment. Because, there are so many other issues we like to cooperate with Bangladesh. I think we should move forward," he said responding to a question after his meeting with Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni at the Foreign Ministry.
A correspondent wanted to know Pak position as the present government of Bangladesh has election pledge to hold the trial of the war criminals and some 215 Pakistani army-men were charged with the war crimes. "I don't give any comment on it," the envoy said when asked whether they support the holding of the trial of those who committed heinous crimes during the war of liberation from the Pakistani rule.
Asked whether the issue came up for discussion on Monday, he said, "We've not discussed this issue."
Asked about Pakistan's apology for atrocities on innocent Bangladeshis during the Bangladesh Liberation War, Ispahani said, "I think we have already apologized. Former President Gen Musharraf came here, went to the Memorial and apologized. I think our Prime Minister has also done the same."
On Bangladesh's proposal for forming joint anti-terrorism taskforce in South Asia, he appreciated the proposal as a "good idea" as he said Pakistan is suffering from terrorist attacks. And "it's a very serious problem we're facing".
He said since the idea is very new, "we'll have to work together. We' ll have to meet with relevant people and we hope to move it forward."
Ispahani, who came yesterday to congratulate the new government of Bangladesh as the Special Envoy from Islamabad, said Pakistan wants to improve relations with Bangladesh as "we've now democratically elected governments in Pakistan and Bangladesh." The Pak emissary said the Pakistan President and the Prime Minister are keen to improve the relations and happy to work together.
Asked about the Indian accusation of Pakistan for Mumbai terror attacks, Ispahani said, "I don't know whether we have been made accused. We're saying to give us more evidence. At the moment the process is still going on, and they have not come to any conclusion."