In yet another attempt by Pakistan to raise human rights issues involving Bangladesh at the recent Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group's (CMAG) meeting held in London has been scuttled by India and other Commonwealth members.
Pakistan has failed in its recent attempts to raise Bangladesh situation, including concerns over opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, after other members of the grouping objected to discuss the issue. A Pakistani top official said Bangladesh government had filed "33 politically motivated" cases against Khaleda, and insisted that the ministerial meet include the issues in a statement.
Meanwhile State Mini-ster for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said unfortunately Bangladesh was not present at that CMAG meeting, "but we found the authenticity (of the news) from the other participating countries". The state minister said the time had come "to put all that evidence (of conspiracies) together to decide whether the BNP has any right to do politics in Bangladesh".
Pakistani Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz attempted to raise an issue of "current political situation in Bangladesh" in London. But the proposal to discuss the issue was immediately shut down by other member states of the grouping. Aziz wanted a discussion on the Bangladesh issue at the Commonwealth meeting and even went to the extent of demanding statement from the grouping of the former-British colonies.
India was successful in keeping action against Bangladesh off the agenda against Pakistan's concerted efforts at the CMAG meeting, where India is being represented by Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar. The issue of Bangladesh subsequently did not find mention at the statement issued by CMAG.
Earlier in May 2014 Sartaz Aziz alleged at the London meeting that political space is "shrinking" in Bangladesh and the Hasina government had lodged several cases against Zia, the former PM. In 2012 allegations had surfaced that sections of the Pakistani establishment have funded Zia during past elections in her country.
The decision at the Commonwealth meeting came ahead of Islamabad raising objections with Dhaka over the decision to execute war criminal Motiur Rahman Nizami, chief of Jamaat-e-Islami. Sheikh Hasina's government shot back and served 'note verbale' to the Pakistani envoy in Bangladesh capital.
The Bangladesh-Pakistan relations have been lukewarm ever since Dhaka began war crimes tribunals indicting pro-Pakistani Islamist parry Jamaat-e-Islami leaders for their role in genocide and rape during bloody War of Bangladesh Independence in 1971.
CMAG deals with "serious and persistent" violations of fundamental political values of the 53 Commonwealth member states. There are currently eight grounds on which the Commonwealth can take action against a member country, including violation of democratic values and good governance.
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