Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 12 February : Pakistan high commissioner to Bangladesh Imran Ahmed Siddiqui has said his country wanted to boost ties with Bangladesh by exploring untapped potential and reviving all the old connections saying Pakistan can benefit from Bangladesh’s development.
‘I’m fully confident to say that our leadership is fully committed. I got instructions from our leadership,’ he told UNB in an interview recently.
The high commissioner laid emphasis on frequent high-level visits between the two countries and referred to an invitation extended by Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan to prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
‘There’re more commonalities than differences. All the areas are unexplored. So, there’s a huge potential,’ Siddiqui said, mentioning that political determination ‘is very, very important on both the sides.’
‘We can achieve a number of milestones under the guidance of prime minister Imran Khan. We don’t have any problem in creating goodwill,’ said the High Commissioner.
Bangladesh has recently reiterated the importance of resolving outstanding bilateral issues with Pakistan, including an official apology from Pakistan for the genocide it committed during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.
Bangladesh has also sought completion of the repatriation of stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh and settling the issue of the division of assets. It also made it clear that it cannot forget the atrocities committed by Pakistan in 1971 and the pain will remain there forever.
Responding to a question, the high commissioner said he was very much focused on establishing, and first of all revving all those old connections such as foreign-secretary-level talks as quickly as possible. The Joint Economic Commission talks have been stalled for long and there are many projects they can discuss if it is revived, he added.
Pakistan’s bid to host the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit has failed yet again as it failed to achieve consensus for it in the south Asian region. ‘We’re committed to SAARC but all the countries have come on the stage with a positive attitude,’ said the Pakistan High Commissioner.
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He said prosperity and security cannot be exclusive and this is the lesson of the history and lesson of economic development and prosperity. ‘It has to be inclusive and participatory.’
The High Commissioner claimed that the ‘strategy of isolating one country’ never works as it has to be inclusive and comprehensive. ‘A lot depends on the attitude of member states.’
Talking about trust deficit and lack of confidence, High Commissioner Siddiqui said the most important thing is sincerity. ‘There’re issues in the region. We need to sit and deal with the problems. Those issues have to be accepted and addressed,’ he said.
Responding to a question on the Rohingya issue, the high commissioner said their role was very prominent and it was appreciated by the Bangladesh Representative at the United Nations. ‘The issue should be resolved.’