Pakistan, Bangladesh Hold Talks in Possible Thaw

Top diplomats of Bangladesh and Pakistan held talks recently to promote bilateral relations in a possible thaw, according to official sources.

“Both sides agreed to promote bilateral relations with a forward-looking approach,” Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Dhaka Imran Ahmed Siddiqui told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Dhaka Imran Ahmed Siddiqui (2-L) meets Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen (2-R) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on July 1, 2020.

Bangladesh, which was East Pakistan until 1971 became independent following a conflict stoked by Pakistan’s arch rival India, independent observers say. Relations between the two countries, separated by large swathes of Indian territory, have since been frosty.

Referring to the talks with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on July 1, Siddiqui added: “The two sides briefed each other on the COVID-19 situation in their respective countries and precautionary and preventive measures being taken.”

Siddiqui said: “Pakistan believes there is a huge potential in bilateral economic and commercial cooperation. We must work together to realize this potential with a focus on bringing our respective private sectors closer.”

“We share common bonds of history, religion and culture,” the Pakistani envoy said.

We want stronger relations with Bangladesh in all walks of life, he added.

Analysts say the two South Asian countries face climate change as a common challenge amid shifting sands in the region’s geopolitics which could bring the two nations to look at issues in a wider spectrum.

Both countries have a Muslim-majority population and a sizable youth bulge who share the same passion as their national sport: cricket.

The Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry did not issue a statement about the meeting.