Pakistan asks Bangladesh to withdraw senior diplomat

AP News
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Posted: Jan 07, 2016 2:21 AM

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan asked Bangladesh to withdraw its senior diplomat, Moushumi Rahman, in an apparent tit-for-tat move after Dhaka asked Islamabad to withdraw a Pakistani diplomat last month, officials from the two nations said Thursday.

A senior Pakistani Foreign Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case, gave no further details. However, he said the decision had been delivered to the high commissioner of Bangladesh in Islamabad and that Rahman should be leaving Pakistan soon.

The move comes about two weeks after Bangladesh asked Pakistan to withdraw its diplomat, Fareena Arshad, over her alleged involvement in financing militant groups.

In Dhaka, Foreign Ministry official Shahriar Alam confirmed that Rahman has been asked to leave Pakistan in the next 48 hours.

He said Rahman was expected to join the Bangladeshi embassy in Lisbon, Portugal.

Alam said Pakistan's "request" to withdraw Bangladesh's diplomat without providing a reason was not "supportive" for relations between the two countries. "There's been no explanation. They couldn't give us any valid reason. Such acts never help the relationship," he said.

Alam said his government had expected the move.

"We knew that something was being cooked up," he said. "We were prepared and that helped us take a quick decision giving (Rahman) a fresh diplomatic assignment to another country upholding the country's image."

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Associated Press writer Julhas Alam in Dhaka, Bangladesh contributed to this report.