Bangladesh has decided not to attend a conference of a regional grouping of eight South Asian nations slated to be held in the Pakistani capital Islamabad in November, as regional tensions disrupt the gathering further.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam revealed the decision on Wednesday, a day after India pulled out of the 19th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
Tensions between India and Pakistan were heightened this month by a deadly attack on an Indian army base in the disputed Kashmir region, which Delhi blamed on Pakistan.
Head of the governments or states from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were scheduled to meet in the two-day summit for November 9-10 in Islamabad.
“We have conveyed our decision to SAARC chair Nepal that we are not attending the 19th SAARC summit,” the junior minister told reporters.
“We have cited that repeated interference on Bangladesh’s domestic affairs by a country had vitiated the atmosphere of holding such a conference,” the minister said referring to the Pakistan’s remarks after the recent executions of 1971 war crimes convicts in Dhaka.
Bangladesh, the then eastern part of Pakistan, became independent through the bloody 1971 war against Pakistan, and the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010 set up the special tribunal to prosecute the local collaborators of Pakistani army.
Alam said Bangladesh’s decision not to join the summit had no relation with any other country’s decision.
“Bangladesh will join the SAARC summit once the situation improves,” he added.