Diplomatic loggerheads

Courier Report
Thursday, January 7th, 2016
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State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam has said Pakistan’s ‘request’ to withdraw Bangladesh’s diplomat without showing any reason will not be ‘supportive’ for relations between the two countries.


“There’s been no explanation (from Pakistan). They couldn’t cite any valid reason. Such acts never help the relationship,” he said mentioning that Bangladesh is closely observing and monitoring the situation.


Shahriar said they could ‘foresee’ that there might be an act of ‘retaliation’. “We were prepared and that helped us take a quick decision giving her a fresh diplomatic assignment to another country upholding the country’s image.”


He said it is ‘incomprehensible’ to Bangladesh what they (Pakistan) did without showing any reason. “We knew that something was being cooked.”


On Tuesday, Pakistan urged Bangladesh authorities to withdraw its diplomat Maushumi Rahman within 48 hours. Pakistan Foreign Ministry summoned the Bangladesh High Commissioner to Pakistan Suhrab Hossain in the afternoon and conveyed the message.


Maushumi Rahman (Counselor Political) worked as acting High Commissioner to Pakistan and handled recent developments when Suhrab Hossain was in Bangladesh. Appreciating Maushumi’s role, Shahriar said, “She has done a great job.”


Responding to a question, the State Minister said Maushumi will be joining there (Bangladesh Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal) at the earliest.


Earlier, Pakistani diplomat and Second Secretary (Political) at the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka Fareena Arshad who was reportedly involved in financing militancy, left here for Islamabad on December 23 following her withdrawal.


Asked whether Bangladesh is going to downgrade its relations with Pakistan, the State Minister said there is no such plan at the moment but did not rule out any possibilities. “I don’t want to make any premature comment.”


He, however, said Bangladesh will spare nobody who will get involved in tarnishing Bangladesh’s image and creating trouble in Bangladesh using diplomatic immunity. “We didn’t spare anybody in the past, too.”


Responding to another question, the State Minister said there could be a discussion on Bangladesh-Pakistan current relations in Parliament if it wants.


Shahriar said there are common interests between the two countries on various fronts – bilateral, trade and multilateral forums.


He also said Bangladesh will have patience to maintain the bilateral relations.


The State Minister said the tenure of High Commissioner Suhrab Hossain will expire in April and his contact will not be renewed further. “We’ve decided to appoint a new High Commissioner.”

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