Bangladesh asks Pakistan to apologise for war

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Bangladesh
Dhaka, Nov 20: A senior Bangladeshi official urged Pakistan to formally apologize for alleged atrocities and acts of genocide committed by the Pakistani military during the independence war in 1971. Foreign Affairs Minister Dipu Moni made the demand in a meeting with Pakistan's new envoy to Bangladesh, a statement released by the ministry said.

Aided by India, Bangladesh, then the eastern wing of Pakistan, won its independence in 1971 after a nine-month war. Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed an estimated 3 million people, raped about 200,000 women and forced millions to flee their homes. Pakistan has disputed the allegations.

According to the statement, Moni "sought Pakistan's understanding and recognition of Bangladesh's position on resolving the outstanding issues including an expression of formal apology from Pakistan for the genocide and atrocities committed by the Pakistani military in 1971." It said Moni also wanted to settle the issues of division of assets and war reparations. Moni said that resolving these long-standing issues was important to maintaining good relations with Pakistan.

"Early resolution of the outstanding issues would enable the existing friendly relations between Bangladesh and Pakistan to make a great leap forward and create a wider space for cooperation," the statement quoted Moni as saying. The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has initiated a move to try Bangladeshi collaborators who allegedly helped the Pakistani military. A special tribunal has been formed to conduct the trials.

AP

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