1971 ‘crimes’ in focus

DHAKA: Bangladesh on Wednesday urged Pakistan to apologise formally for alleged atrocities committed by its army during Bangladesh’s bloody liberation struggle in 1971. Bangladeshi officials have said three million people were killed during the fight for independence for what was then East Pakistan, and the new government in Dhaka has vowed to try suspected war criminals. In a meeting with Pakistan’s High Commissioner on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni raised the issue of “seeking formal apologies by Pakistan for the genocide in 1971,” a written statement said. A Pakistani envoy told Bangladesh in February to let “bygones be bygones” and rejected plans to try those accused of murder, rape and arson. But his Bangladeshi counterpart rejected the offer. — AFP

Asian summit in peril

BANGKOK: Thailand, which was forced to cancel a key Asian summit in April amid chaotic anti-government protests, has failed to reconvene the meeting next month, the foreign minister admitted on Wednesday. The government had hoped the regional meeting would be finally held in mid-June but Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said it was now likely to be pushed back to October — 10 months later than the original. The last month’s summit ran into fierce protests from supporters of deposed Thai premier. The Red Shirts, as they are popularly called, disrupted the meet, leading the authorities to evacuate guests by chopper from the hotel’s rooftop. — AFP