Bangladesh PM turns down Pakistan summit invitation pending 'genocide' apology
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has turned down an invitation to a summit to be held in Pakistan next week, officials have said.
"The prime minister is not going to attend the summit," said Syed Masud Khundoker, a director-general in Bangladesh's foreign ministry.
The Prime Minister's Office has confirmed that Foreign Minister Dipu Moni would represent Bangladesh instead of Hasina at the eight-nation summit on November 22, reports The Express Tribune.
Neither official explained Hasina's decision not to attend.
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani had issued the invitation to Hasina in person last Friday on a visit to Bangladesh.
Relations between the two sides remain extremely delicate with Moni asking Rabbani last week for Pakistan to apologise for war crimes committed by the army. Hasina's government has said that up to three million people were killed in the conflict.
A Bangladeshi newspaper said that policy advisers had told Hasina that it would be unwise to visit Pakistan unless Islamabad offered a formal apology to Dhaka for what it regards as a 'genocide'.
Ties have been particularly strained since Hasina's Awami League party came to power in 2009. Hasina, however, did visit Pakistan in 1999 in her first stint in office, in a bid to ease escalating tensions between India and Pakistan.
The summit of the D-8 group of developing nations in Islamabad is due to include representatives from six other nations, including Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria and Turkey.
The meeting will begin on November 19 with leaders due to attend its finale on November 22.