In an effort to mend its frosty relationship with Bangladesh, Pakistan has lifted all restrictions on visas for citizens from Bangladesh, which has gained independence from Pakistan after a bloody war in 1971.
“Pakistan has already removed all restrictions on Pakistani visa for Bangladeshi citizens,” said a statement issued by the Pakistan High Commission in Bangladesh after a meeting between its high commissioner Imran Ahmed Siddiqui and Bangladesh’s state minister for foreign affairs Md. Shahriar Alam.
“The two sides agreed to intensify bilateral contacts at all levels,” the statement added.
The move to lift visa restrictions comes after a rare phone call last July by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina.
In a separate statement issued by the Bangladesh foreign ministry, Alam was quoted as saying, “We look forward to engaging with Pakistan.”
Alam urged Pakistan to offer an official apology “for the genocide committed in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.”
Bilateral relations between the two countries turned sour in 2016 over Bangladesh’s trial for crimes against humanity in 1971 in a newly formed tribunal.
The Bangladesh government formed the domestic tribunal, called the International Crimes Tribunal, in 2009 for the trial of crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971 between the then East Pakistan and Pakistan.