Bangladesh has demanded an apology from Pakistan after its envoy posted a “misleading” video claiming that the country’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was not the one who declared its independence in 1971.
The nearly 14-minute video was initially posted on a Facebook page called Pakistan Affairs. It said Bangladesh’s military ruler and subsequent president “Ziaur Rahman, not Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, announced Bangladesh’s independence”. The Pakistani mission in Dhaka shared the video on its Facebook page, sparking a controversy that prompted it to remove the post.
Secretary (Bilateral) Kamrul Ahsan summoned Pakistani High Commissioner Rafiuzzaman Siddiqui and handed him a “strongly worded protest note” warning that repeated breach of diplomatic norms by Pakistan would only stand to harm bilateral relations, a Foreign Office statement said.
“The Government of Bangladesh seeks a formal note of apology for this ill-motivated and misleading video post and calls for an immediate withdrawal of the footage from the Facebook page reportedly maintained by the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka,” it said.
The statement said Ahsan told the envoy that Dhaka deeply regretted that notwithstanding Bangladesh’s repeated overtures “the malicious campaign by Pakistan and its various agencies against Bangladesh has not come to a halt”.
Ahsan said the Pakistani envoy “apologised” saying the incident was “unintentional”.
“We told the envoy that if this continues it will harm relations between the two countries. History is history. One cannot divert it by spreading propaganda,” the Bangladeshi official is reported to have said. The diplomatic protest note said the message conveyed in the video that it was not Mujibur who declared the independence of Bangladesh “is a blatant lie and sheer fabrication of historical facts”. “Nothing can be farthest from the truth than claiming that the architect of independent Bangladesh and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman did not want Bangladesh’s independence or that Bangladesh’s independence was declared by anybody other than the great leader himself,” the note said.