ISLAMABAD - The government circles are downplaying the inability of prime ministers of Bangladesh and Malaysia to attend the upcoming Developing-Eight Conference scheduled in Islamabad on November 22, but it would definitely off-shine the political aspect of the moot if not having any adverse effect on the economic side.

Sources in the Foreign Office confirmed to TheNation that Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina Wajid has formally announced to participate in the conference and in this connection the foreign ministry of Bangladesh has intimated to the Pakistani officials. Sources further informed that the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister had sought an apology from Pakistan for war crimes allegedly committed during the 1971 war but as Pakistan Government had politely declined by saying that it was not right time to take up such issues which led to the Ms Hasina Wajid’s refusal to attend the moot despite the fact that she had confirmed her participation in the event earlier.

Sources said that it was not clear whether Bangladesh would be represented in the conference at any level or not. But it is expected that some ministerial level representation would be made by Bangladesh, as it would not afford to completely stay away from the Developing-8 forum where besides Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Iran and Turkey would be participating.

On the other hand, the Malaysian Prime Minister would also not attending the event due to some pressing engagements back home and Malaysia would be represented by its foreign or commerce minister.

Political analysts were of the view that the absence of Bangladesh would definitely have political implications for Pakistan, as PPP-led coalition government would not gain the political mileage they otherwise wanted to due to absence of two members of the alliance of developing Islamic states.

They further said that the backing-out of Sheikh Hasina Wajid from participation in the moot at the eleventh hour would be because of her tilt toward India and the move was just aimed at embarrassing Pakistan by asking for open apology from Islamabad for alleged war crimes in 1971 war.

Sources further said that this move on part of Bangladesh would do have some impact on the impact on the existing trade relations between the two countries but it would be negligible as according to the statistics the trade volume between the two states in fiscal 2010-2011 was merely 757 million US dollars with Pakistan’s exports to Bangladesh $ 671 million and imports $ 86 millions.

Economic experts said that overall the trade relations between the two countries have no marked bearing on the Pakistan’s economy but this step on part of Bangladesh Prime Minister would definitely have adverse affect on the trade relations between the two Islamic states, at least the expected boost in trade relations being expected by the traders community of both the countries would slow down.

Political and economic experts saw the case of Malaysia otherwise as Pakistan was having vibrant and promising trade relations with Malaysia and the prospects of growth in these relations are bright.

The Malaysian Prime Minister was not attending the event due to some unavoidable engagements back home and the country would be represented either by their foreign trade minister.

A formal communication and regret was already made by the Malaysian government to government of Pakistan for inability of Prime Minister to attend the conference.

Political and economic experts said that the trade relations between Pakistan and Malaysia were growing at satisfactory pace and both the countries are planning to expand the existing trade relations.

The trade volume between the two states in fiscal 2010-2011 stood at US $ 2.8 billion and it would grow at quite fast pace keeping in view the MoUs singed between the two states and the growing private sector interaction.

Sources in the government when contacted that the absence of these two states would not belittle the significance of the event as the Egyptian President, Turkish Prime Minister and Iranian President and leaders from other member states would be attending the event.

These sources hoped that the event would not only give boost to the country’s exports to these states but would also help enhance political image of Pakistan in the comity of nations.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Developing-Eight forum was established in Turkey in 1997 and it would be its eighth summit meeting in Pakistan on Nov. 22 and also completion of 15 years of its existence.

Basically focused on the promotion of the inter-state trade and adopting uniform economic policies for the collective good of the member states Developing-8 trade volume which was US $ 35 billion in 2006 jumped to more than double in 2010 at US $ 68 billion and it would likely cross the US $ 100 barrier in next couple of years.