Bangladesh PM scraps plan to visit Pakistan: Official

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Sheikh Hasina
Dhaka, Nov 14: In an apparent snub to Pakistan, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has scrapped her planned visit to Islamabad to attend an international summit later this month, without citing any specific reason. Hasina was expected to attend the summit of the Development-8, a grouping of eight nations with Muslim majority population, on Nov 22, but now Foreign Minister Dipu Moni is likely to represent the premier.

"We have just been informed (by the PMO) that she (Hasina) is not going... she could not make it this time," a senior foreign ministry official familiar with the situation told PTI on Tuesday preferring anonymity. The official though could not elaborate further about the changed plan.

The development came just days after the Prime Minister's press secretary Abul Kalam Azad told media that she would go to Islamabad on a three-day tour. It is notable that Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar had visited Bangladesh briefly to personally hand over an invitation to Hasina from President Asif Ali Zardari.

However, Bangladesh's relations with Pakistan have remained frosty. Coinciding with Khar's five-hour visit to Dhaka, Bangladesh had reiterated its call for a formal Pakistani apology for the atrocities committed by Pakistani troops during Bangladesh's 1971 Liberation War. This would have been Hasina's first tour to Islamabad since her ruling Awami League was elected to power in December 2008 general elections. Hasina had earlier visited Islamabad as premier during her previous 1996-2001 tenure.

PTI

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