Pakistan is awaiting a similar response from Bangladesh, says Pakistan envoy Imran Ahmed Siddiqui
Pakistan has removed all restrictions on visas for citizens of Bangladesh.
The matter was confirmed in a statement by the Pakistan High Commission in Bangladesh, reports Al Jazeera.
“Pakistan has already removed all restrictions on Pakistani visas for Bangladeshi citizens,” said the statement issued after a meeting between State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and Pakistani High Commissioner Imran Ahmed Siddiqui on Thursday.
“The two sides agreed to intensify bilateral contact at all levels,” it added.
Now, Pakistan is awaiting a similar response from Bangladesh, Siddiqui told Anadolu Agency after the meeting.
“Bangladesh’s restrictions on Pakistan nationals are still in place, and that is why I informed the state minister that we have already lifted all bars from our side,” he said.
Bangladesh — formerly East Pakistan — gained independence after the nine-month-long Liberation War in 1971. Bilateral relations between the two South Asian countries have remained cold since Pakistan forces based in West Pakistan launched a planned military operation to restrain the Bangali nationalist movement.
In 2009, a tribunal was established by Bangladesh to prosecute people accused of war crimes during the Liberation War.
Notably, Bangladesh had India’s support in its war for independence.
Due to India’s recent “partial attitude” regarding control over shared rivers, border killings of Bangladeshi civilians and the passing of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, Bangladesh began seeking closer ties with Pakistan, according to analysts.
In a rare event, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan made a phone call to Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina last July, as Dhaka had declared that it would pursue a foreign policy of “friendship to all and malice to none”.
On Thursday, the Pakistani ambassador called on PM Hasina and Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen in Dhaka and reportedly discussed numerous issues of mutual interest.
State Minister Shahriar Alam, in a separate statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was quoted as saying: “We look forward to engaging with Pakistan.”
Both Dhaka and Islamabad agreed that they need to hold long-pending foreign office consultations which were last held in 2010, the statement added.
The state minister also requested Pakistan to allow access to more Bangladeshi products by employing the provisions of the South Asia Free Trade Agreement.
“The current trade balance tilts towards Pakistan,” he said.
The Pakistan side put emphasis on addressing all non-trade barriers to establish “productive commercial relations” during the meeting.