Pakistan may not send its delegation for the sixth South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) in Dhaka. This three-day ministerial conference expected to be inaugurated by President Md Abdul Hamid on Monday.
The spokesperson of the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka, Ambreen Jan, said “A 13-member delegation was approved by Islamabad for the conference with the officials of all provinces. But not a single one was issued a visa. The Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad kept their passports for 10 days. So, no one is coming from Islamabad.”
Md Khairul Islam, a deputy secretary of Bangladesh, related with the conference, said, Dhaka invited a 60-member delegation and Islamabad provided them initially. Then they changed its delegation list again and again, and it is not sending its minister. Our Secretary (LGRD) signed those invitation letters. “Due to the changes, they could not apply for visas in proper time. Their participation in the ministerial meeting has become uncertain”, he added.
Bangladesh, however, still looks forward to what the state minister for foreign affairs calls “maintaining bilateral relations”. “But we are also observing the situation closely. We’ll not compromise our national interests,” Md Shahriar Alam said on Wednesday.
SACOSAN is a government-led biennial convention held on a rotational basis in each SAARC country. Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka will be present with their relevant ministers in the SACOSAN themed: ‘better sanitation, better life’. The first conference was held in Bangladesh in 2003, the second in Pakistan in 2006, the third in India in 2008, the fourth in Sri Lanka in 2011 and the fifth in Nepal in 2013.
Bangladesh-Pakistan bilateral relations have recently reached a low over Islamabad’s comments on Dhaka’s war crimes trial, and after its diplomat was found linked with banned militant outfit JMB, according to bdnews24.com. -Mithun