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Pakistani diplomat expelled from Dhaka

Updated February 04, 2015

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Relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh have recently been at a low point. -AFP/File
Relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh have recently been at a low point. -AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: In a fresh diplomatic row between Pakistan and Bangladesh, a Pakistani High Commission official based in Dhaka was declared persona non grata by the Bangladeshi government and was asked to leave the country.

"Diplomatic official Mazhar Khan was charged by Bangladesh's foreign ministry of running an illegal Indian currency business in Dhaka beside alleged links with militants," a diplomatic source told Dawn.com.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasneem Aslam also confirmed the incident and said the official has reached Islamabad.

"Allegations against him are baseless and the incident is unfortunate," she told Dawn.com.

The Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka sent Mazhar Khan immediately home after getting orders from Bangladesh's ministry of foreign affairs.

Sources also said the high commission in Dhaka has not only been under pressure due to the incident but is also being closely watched by Bangladeshi secret services.

Relations between the two countries have recently been at a low point.

In January, Bangladeshi police arrested four suspected members of Islamic State in Dhaka including a regional coordinator for the militant group who told police they had been trained in Pakistan.

Read more: Arrested IS suspects in Bangladesh claim training in Pakistan

Tensions have also risen between the two countries over executions carried out by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina against alleged war criminals from the 1971 war, when the former East Pakistan became Bangladesh.

In December 2013, Pakistan’s envoy in Dhaka had been summoned by the govt regarding a resolution adopted by the Pakistani parliament condemning the execution of Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla for his involvement in alleged war crimes of 1971.

Read more:Bangladesh grills Pakistan envoy over Molla resolution

Bangladesh's foreign ministry had said that Molla’s trial and punishment was the country’s internal affair and that the resolution adopted by Pakistan’s National Assembly was uncalled for.

Pakistan’s high commissioner in Dhaka, Mian Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi Qureshi had been summoned to explain the matter.

Pakistan’s armed forces are alleged to have carried out war crimes in 1971 and the Bangladesh government has been seeking a public apology from Pakistan which is yet to abide by the demand of its South Asian neighbour officially.