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ISLAMABAD: The For­eign Office on Wednesday denied that the Pakistani ambassador to Bangladesh had posted a controversial video that fuelled tensions between the two countries.

“This was not done by our high commissioner, it was shared by someone else,” FO spokesman Nafees Zakaria said.

Meanwhile, in a Twitter posting, the spokesman said: “Sharing of a video by a third party cannot be attributed to Pakistan High Commission Dhaka.”

An official in Islamabad told Dawn that the Facebook page concerned was neither the official page of the high commission nor was it operated by any of the mission staff.

The row, which started with the posting of video on Facebook, has added acrimony to the already tense ties between Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Relations between Islamabad and Dhaka have been deteriorating since 2009, when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government resumed the trial of 1971 ‘war crimes’ that had been suspended after a 1974 tripartite ‘clemency’ accord between Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.

Pakistan envoy summoned by Bangladesh foreign ministry over incident; Islamabad denies allegation

The video, which has already been removed from the Facebook page, contended that Sheikh Mujeebur Rehman had wanted autonomy for people in East Pakistan and not independence. Rather, it suggested that it was former Bangladesh president Gen Ziaur Rehman who had declared independence.

The video contained an interview of Mr Mujeeb in which he could be heard saying he was not seeking separation, but autonomy.

Bangladesh had strongly protested over the posting of the video, which it said was misleading and distorted history.

Pakistan’s High Commis­sioner in Dhaka Rafiuz­zaman Siddiqui was summoned to Bangladesh’s foreign ministry for receiving protest over the incident.

“This is an instance of purposeful abuse of social media by the High Commission of Pakistan in Dhaka. Such breach of diplomatic norms and practices and deliberate propaganda to spread shameless lies shall not only jeopardise bilateral relations, but would render a great disservice to succeeding generations of historians, intelligentsia as well as common people who champion the cause of truth and justice,” Bangladesh’s foreign ministry said in a press statement.

The Bangladesh government sought a “formal apology” for the posting of the video and asked the high commissioner and the Pakistan government to “act responsibly” and “refrain from any such uncalled-for and provocative activities” in future. Bangladeshi officials claimed that the Pakistani envoy had tendered apology over the posting.

A Pakistani official, meanwhile, denied that the high commissioner had apologised. The official said he [envoy] explained that he or his mission had got nothing to do with the controversial posting and he would convey the host government’s protest to his headquarters in Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2017