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Former Bangladesh foreign secretary Abul Ahsan
"In the context of the history of Bangladesh this has developed as a principle"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 12 September, 2000, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
Hasina surprised by Musharraf 'snub'
Sheikh Hasina with President Estrada of Philippines
A fresh meeting was rejected because of Sheikh Hasina's tight schedule
The Bangladesh premier, Sheikh Hasina, has expressed her surprise over an apparent snub by Pakistan's military ruler.

General Pervez Musharraf cancelled a scheduled meeting in New York with the Bangladesh prime minister after Sheikh Hasina spoke out against military takeovers.

I said what I said for the sake of democracy

Sheikh Hasina
In an address to the United Nations Millennium Summit, she called for action against regimes which grabbed power by overthrowing democratically elected governments.

But on her return to Dhaka, Sheikh Hasina said she did not target Pakistan.

"I don't know why Pakistan's self-declared Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf was so unhappy about my comments on military regimes at the United Nations," she told a crowded news conference.

"I said what I said for the sake of democracy, for the sake of the people... if anybody is hurt I have nothing to say, as it is something I have always believed in since my childhood," the prime minister added.

Following her comments in New York, General Musharraf failed to turn up at the scheduled meeting and apparently sought to have it rescheduled.

Pervez Musharraf
General Musharraf: Believed to have been offended
This was turned down by Bangladesh because of the prime minister's tight schedule in New York.

Diplomats say Sheikh Hasina's comments may have offended General Musharraf.

Personal belief

Sheikh Hasina said she could not accept a military regime taking over from a democratic government with the power of the gun.

"That is my principle and my ideal," she said.

The prime minister's father and founder of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was assassinated during a military takeover in 1975.

Sheikh Hasina was asked if she believed that Islamabad should apologise for the death of millions of Bangladeshis - believed to have been killed in the military crackdown by Pakistan that preceded Bangladesh's independence.

"I personally feel they should but let Pakistan ask their own conscience," she said in reply.

But she also said she did not believe the row would affect Bangladesh's bilateral relations with Pakistan.

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See also:

09 Sep 00 | Americas
UN sets ambitious goals for 2015
30 Aug 00 | South Asia
Bangladesh requests war report
31 Jul 00 | South Asia
Pakistan after the coup: Special report
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