Pakistan, Bangladesh hope to 'strengthen' ties after Islamabad envoy's meeting with Hasina

Pakistani High Commissioner Imran Ahmed Siddiqui meets Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence in Dhaka on December 3, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Pakistani High Commission)
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Updated 04 December 2020

Pakistan, Bangladesh hope to 'strengthen' ties after Islamabad envoy's meeting with Hasina

  • Pakistani High Commissioner Imran Ahmed Siddiqui met Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence on Thursday
  • A number of recent diplomatic developments have hinted at a thaw in the long-troubled Pakistan-Bangladesh equation

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s envoy to Bangladesh said on Thursday that the two countries wanted to ‘strengthen’ bilateral ties, following a meeting between Pakistani High Commissioner Imran Ahmed Siddiqui and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence.
“The two sides agreed to further strengthen the existing fraternal relations between the two countries,” Siddiqui was quoted as saying in a statement from the High Commission.
As India’s relations with its neighbors in the South Asian region deteriorate, old foes Pakistan and Bangladesh are making a push to build diplomatic, economic and cultural ties that could upend decades of historic configurations in the region, officials and experts in Islamabad and Dhaka have said. 
Indeed, a number of recent diplomatic developments have hinted at a thaw in the long-troubled Pakistan-Bangladesh equation.
Prime Minister Imran Khan invited his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina to visit Islamabad in a rare call in July that came just weeks after a ‘quiet’ meeting between Pakistan’s high commissioner to Dhaka, Imran Ahmed Siddiqui, and Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A. K. Abdul Momen. 
Relations between the two countries have never recovered from the 1971 war when Bengali nationalists, backed by India, broke away from what was then West Pakistan to form a new country.
Ties reached a new low in 2016 when Bangladesh executed several leaders of its Jamaat-e-Islami party on charges of committing war crimes in 1971. Pakistan called the executions and trials “politically motivated,” arguing that they were related to the pro-Pakistan stance of the convicts during the war.
But now, officials on both sides say it’s time for a reset. 
“We look forward to having a sustained dialogue with the government of Bangladesh on how best our bilateral relations can move forward on a positive trajectory,” Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui told Arab News earlier this year. “We hope to work and take forward our relations, whether its trade, culture and all other mutual areas.”
In July, ambassador Siddiqui told Arab News the aim of his meeting with the Bangladeshi foreign minister had been “to further promote bilateral relations with a forward-looking approach” given a desire from both sides to strengthen ties, particularly through private sector partnerships.
“The younger generation is especially keen to forge meaningful ties. There is a huge potential in bilateral economic and commercial cooperation,” he said. “The two sides may work together to realize this potential with a focus on bringing our respective private sectors closer.”


Pakistan’s national flag carrier to bring back impounded plane by approaching Malaysian court

Updated 15 January 2021

Pakistan’s national flag carrier to bring back impounded plane by approaching Malaysian court

  • A Pakistan International Airlines plane was ‘held back’ by Malaysian authorities after a local court issued a verdict against the airlines in a payment dispute
  • The national flag career called the situation ‘unacceptable,’ announced to send its legal team to the court to present its case

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines announced on Friday its legal team would approach a court in Malaysia that ordered to impound one of its planes that was scheduled to fly out of Kuala Lumpur earlier in the day and bring back passengers to Pakistan. 

“PIA was facing a payment dispute with another company and the matter was being heard by a court in the United Kingdom for the last six months,” said the airlines spokesman, Abdullah Khan, in a video message. “The same company also took a stay order against us in another country [Malaysia] and a local court issued an ex-party decision against the airlines without serving it a notice or hearing its stance.” 

Khan added that the PIA legal team would pursue the matter with Pakistan's official and diplomatic assistance. 

“It is important to mention here that this incident was timed to somewhat mitigate our response since it happened ahead of the weekend,” he maintained. “However, our legal team will take up the matter in the Malaysian court immediately after the weekend and we are hopeful to resolve this issue as soon as possible.” 

Pakistan’s foreign office also issued a statement on Friday, saying its diplomatic mission in Malaysia was in close contact with relevant authorities over the detained plane and its stranded passengers. 

“The passengers are being properly looked after and alternate arrangements for their travel have also been finalized,” the foreign office spokesperson, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, said while responding to a media query. 

“They will be departing Kuala Lumpur by EK 343 later tonight,” he added. 

The PIA plane was held back by Malaysian authorities over a British court case, PIA said in an earlier statement, adding it would pursue the matter through diplomatic channels. 

“A PIA aircraft has been held back by a local court in Malaysia taking a one-sided decision pertaining to a legal dispute between PIA and another party pending in a UK court,” a PIA spokesman said in a statement. 

The national carrier’s statement said the situation was “unacceptable” and that it had asked for support from Pakistan’s government to raise the matter diplomatically. Malaysian authorities did not immediately respond to request for comment.