Bangladesh asks Pakistan to apologise for 1971 genocide

Bangladesh on Friday demanded a formal apology from Pakistan for the genocide committed by its troops during the 1971 liberation war, but Islamabad said it's time to carry forward ties "burying the past".

During a meeting with her Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said "Bangladesh expects an apology from Pakistan for the genocide carried out by their troops in 1971".

He said Moni also underscored the need for resolving the other outstanding issues with Pakistan, foreign secretary Mijarul Quayes quoted the minister as saying.

In response, Quayes said, the Pakistani foreign minister said since 1974 Islamabad "at different times and different manners expressed its regret for the 1971 incidents".

"She (Khar) said it is now the time to proceed forward burying the past."

Quayes's comments came as Moni told a private news agency yesterday that Pakistan must apologise for the mass killings.

Khar, the first Pakistani minister to visit Dhaka since the ruling Awami League assumed office three years ago, arrived here on a five-hour tour to invite Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to attend the Developing-8 Summit to be held in Islamabad on November 22.

Khar later called on Hasina and handed over an invitation letter from Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari at her Ganabhaban official residence.

She is also expected to meet main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief and ex-premier Khaleda Zia ahead of her departure.

Bangladesh was the eastern wing of Pakistan until 1971 when it won its independence after a nine-month long liberation war against Pakistani troops.

The incumbent government has been demanding Islamabad's official apology for the Pakistani troops' atrocities during the liberation war.

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