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ISLAMABAD: Bangladesh is withdrawing a senior diplomat posted in Islamabad after the host government (Pakistan) asked for her recall. The diplomat, Moushumi Rahman, served at Bangladesh’s High Commission in Islamabad as a political counsellor and head of chancery.

The demand for her recall was conveyed by the Foreign Office to Bangladesh High Commissioner Suhrab Hossain on Tuesday and she was then given 48 hours to leave.

A Bangladeshi source said that no charge had been levelled against Ms Rahman.

The Foreign Office, meanwhile, was quiet over the development that came amid an escalating diplomatic row between the two countries, which started with the execution of senior Bangla­desh Nationalist Party leader Salah­uddin Quader Chowd­hury and Jamaat-i-Islami Secretary Gen­e­ral Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid. The two Bengali leaders were convicted of genocide and rape by a domestic `war crimes tribunal’ set up to prosecute people, who were believed to have opposed the 1971 events that had led to dismemberment of Pakistan. Queries sent to the FO spokesman went un-responded.

Ms Rahman’s withdrawal follows the recall of Farina Arshad, a second secretary at the Pakistan’s High Commission in Bangladesh, after Dhaka asked Islamabad to take her back over her alleged militant links.

Besides Ms Arshad, another Pakis­tani official Mazhar Khan was also expelled by Bangladesh last year.

Relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh have been deteriorating since 2009 when Prime Minister Hasina Wajid’s government resumed the trial of 1971 war crimes that had been suspended after a 1974 tripartite agreement between Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. The accord contained a promise by Dhaka about “not proceeding with the trials as an act of clemency”.

Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2016