Pakistan should apologise to the people of Bangladesh for committing excessive atrocities during the 1971 war, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said here on Saturday, cautioning that an apology would act as a guiding light for future governments in Islamabad against committing such abominable acts.

Addressing the Foreign Service Academy in Dhaka gathered for the 52nd Independence Day, Momen said Pakistan should be "ashamed" for not apologising for the atrocities it committed against Bengalis in 1971, the Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported.

"At the time, Pakistan's military committed heinous crimes and genocide. Even reports from the Pakistani government say their torture was excessive They violated all national and international human rights laws, the minister said.

The government in Islamabad may in the future years again commit the same mistakes, if it does not recognize the mistakes it made in 1971, Momen said.

He expressed hope that the next generation of Pakistan will come forward and apologise for their ancestor's crimes.

The war broke out after the sudden crackdown at midnight on March 25, 1971 in the erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) by the Pakistani troops and ended on December 16. The same year Pakistan conceded defeat and unconditionally surrendered in Dhaka to the allied forces comprising the freedom fighters and the Indian soldiers. Officially three million people were killed during the nine-month long war.

On March 26, 1971, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had proclaimed Bangladesh's independence.

On Saturday, the Independence Day programmes were led by his daughter and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who paid homage at the National Martyrs' Monument in Dhaka.

Later, she laid a wreath on her father Mujibur Rahman's mural opposite the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi.

On the occasion, Hasina unveiled a commemorative postage stamp of 10 taka.