Bangladesh on Friday demanded an apology from Pakistan for the genocide committed by its troops during the 1971 liberation war, but Islamabad said it's time to carry forward ties "burying the past".
During a meeting with her Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said, "Bangladesh expects an apology from Pakistan for the genocide carried out by their troops in 1971".
She also underscored the need for resolving the other outstanding issues with Pakistan, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes quoted Moni as saying.
According to Quayes, Khar said since 1974 Islamabad "at different times and different manners expressed its regret for the 1971 incidents" and it is "now the time to proceed forward burying the past".
Quayes's comments came as Moni told a private news agency yesterday that Pakistan must apologise for the mass killings.
Khar, the first Pakistani minister to visit Dhaka since the ruling Awami League assumed office three years ago, arrived here on a five-hour-long tour to invite Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to attend the Developing-8 Summit to be held in Islamabad on November 22.
Khar later called on Hasina at her Ganabhaban official residence and handed over an invitation letter from Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.
She also met main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief and ex-premier Khaleda Zia.
Bangladesh was the eastern wing of Pakistan until 1971 when it won its independence after a nine-month long liberation war against Pakistani troops.
The incumbent government has been demanding Islamabad's official apology for the Pakistani troops' atrocities during the liberation war.
Moni and Khar also discussed multi-lateral issues that encompass SAARC, Quayes said.
During the meeting, Bangladesh also raised issues like sharing of pre-1971 period resources and repatriation of "stranded" Urdu speaking Pakistan nationals, he said.
The bilateral engagement between the two nations in the last four years was limited to a visit of Bangladeshi Education and Commerce Ministers and Speaker to Islamabad and foreign Secretary-level official consultations in November 2010.
The two countries, however, currently have a vibrant economic relation with a Pakistani investment worth $1 billion employing some 10,000 people. Pakistan recently bought a ship built in Bangladesh and had shown interest to procure more.