Bangladesh has recalled its High Commissioner in Pakistan amid the diplomatic spat between the two countries over the 1971 war crimes trial and Islamabad's withdrawal of a "terror-linked" diplomat from Dhaka.
"Yes, the High Commissioner has been asked to return home in quickest possible time," a Foreign Ministry official here told PTI on anonymity.
The official, however, said that the contract of High Commissioner Suhrab Hossain was about to expire. A career diplomat and liberation war veteran, Hossain was on retirement when he was first appointed Bangladesh's envoy to Pakistan on a contractual basis in 2010 for two years and the contract was extended twice subsequently.
The development came a week after Islamabad withdrew a female diplomat posted in Dhaka amid an uproar over her suspected links to Islamist militants, nearly 12 months after Bangladesh expelled another Pakistani on identical charges.
According to reports, Second Secretary in the Pakistan High Commission Fareena Arshad left Dhaka two days after Bangladesh sought her withdrawal in the light of confession of a detained operative of Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh who claimed that she maintained links with the outlawed outfit.
Pakistan withdrew the diplomat but denied that she had links with any terrorist outfit in Bangladesh. Dhaka-Islamabad ties currently appeared to have been exposed to a bitter state over Islamabad's "audacious" reactions following executions of two major 1971 war crimes convicts, who were found guilty of carrying out atrocities during the Liberation War siding with the Pakistani troops.
The prestigious Dhaka University last week scraped its ties with all Pakistani universities amid continued outrage over Islamabad's reactions following execution of BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Jamaat-e-Islami's secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed for committing war crimes.
Pakistan foreign ministry had voiced "deep concern and anguish" over the executions", saying "Pakistan is deeply disturbed at this development (executions)". The reaction prompted Dhaka to summon Islamabad's envoy and strongly protest the comments. In tit-for-tat, Islamabad also summoned Bangladesh acting High Commissioner there.
A foreign ministry official said Bangladesh was uncomfortable with Hossain as he was staying in Dhaka, forcing a junior female diplomat to shoulder the task of the envoy during the "crisis period" and he went back to Islamabad "when all the major difficulties were over".