In an Attempt to Establish Closer Ties with Bangladesh, Pakistan Lifts Visa Restrictions

Pakistan has already lifted all restrictions on Pakistani visas for Bangladeshi citizens,” said a statement issued by the Pakistan High Commission in Bangladesh.

“The two sides agreed to intensify bilateral contacts at all levels,” the statement added.

Bangladesh’s restrictions on Pakistani nationals are, however, still in place.

The move is being seen as an ice breaker in the frosty relations between the two South Asian countries.

Bangladesh seemed interested in maintaining closer relations with China and Pakistan due to India’s years-long partial attitude, including monopoly control over common rivers, flouting international rules and norms, killings of unarmed Bangladeshi civilians on borders and the more recent enactment of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The Pakistani envoy called on Premier Hasina and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen in Dhaka and reportedly discussed various bilateral issues in a cordial environment…

The envoy also urged Pakistan to grant access to more Bangladeshi products by utilizing the existing South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) provisions, relaxing the negative list and removing trade barriers.

During the meeting, the Pakistani side emphasized addressing all non-trade barriers in order to establish “productive commercial relations.”

The envoy also urged Pakistan to offer an official apology “for the genocide committed in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.”

The Pakistani envoy also handed over a signed copy of the Tripartite Agreement of 1974 to the Bangladeshi state minister “which had addressed all the outstanding issues between the two countries.”

The April 1974 agreement signed by Bangladesh, Pakistan and India in New Delhi says: “The Prime Minister of Pakistan had declared that he would visit Bangladesh in response to the invitation of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and appealed to the people of Bangladesh to forgive and forget the mistakes of the past, in order to promote reconciliation.

Similarly, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh had declared with regard to the atrocities and destruction committed in Bangladesh in 1971 that he wanted the people to forget the past and to make a fresh start, stating that the people of Bangladesh knew how to forgive.”

The agreement also says: “The Foreign Minister of Bangladesh stated that the Government of Bangladesh had decided not to proceed with the [1971 War] trials as an act of clemency. It was agreed that the 195 prisoners of war may be repatriated to Pakistan along with the other prisoners of war now in the process of repatriation under the Delhi Agreement.”

“The Ministers [the then foreign ministers of Bangladesh, Pakistan and India] expressed their conviction that the above agreements provide a firm basis for the resolution of the humanitarian problems arising out of the conflict of 1971,” said the agreement.