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Pakistan is yet to accept Bangladesh as an independent nation
Pakistan is yet to accept Bangladesh as an independent nation
One wonders what provoked the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka to go out of diplomatic confine to publicise a video on its facebook page which claimed that Zia-Ur-Rahman (Late husband of opposition leader Begum Khalida Zia) and not Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (Late father of present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina) declared Bangladesh’s independence in March, 1971.

The video also claimed that Sheikh Mujibur had wanted autonomy and not independence. The video has come just six weeks before the Bangladeshis celebrate the 47th anniversary of their liberation from Pakistan on December, 16. It is very likely that the video was intended to kick off a controversy about the foundations of Bangladesh and divide the people on their score. Foreign Secretary Kamrul Ahsan had summoned Pakistan’s High Commission Rafiuzzaman Siddiqui to demand an apology from Pakistan. The envoy apologised and was quoted by Ahsan as saying it was “Unintentional” and that they had not understood the situation.

 

      

Ahsan described it as ill–motivated and said “history is history. One can’t divert it by spreading propaganda”. He said this would render a great disservice to succeeding generations of historians, intelligentsia as well as common people who champion the cause of truth and justice. This means Pakistan has tried to distort the history of Bangladesh’s birth to unleash propaganda on the basis of this distortion.
    Ahsan described it as ill–motivated and said “history is history. One can’t divert it by spreading propaganda”. He said this would render a great disservice to succeeding generations of historians, intelligentsia as well as common people who champion the cause of truth and justice. This means Pakistan has tried to distort the history of Bangladesh’s birth to unleash propaganda on the basis of this distortion.

 

          Ever since the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan on December 16, 1971 the latter has been showing frustration not at its separation but at its ability to emerge on the map of the world, as against Pakistan, as a politically and economically stable democracy “short and dark” Bengalis as Gen. Ayub Khan described them in his autobiography “friends not masters”, were never treated as equal citizens in united Pakistan. East Bengalis were tolerated as long as their jute earned Pakistan the most foreign exchange. Once this earning started declining because of the emergence of synthetic jute, Pakistan began concentrating on cotton grown in Sindh and Southern Punjab for export and started looking upon the Bengalis as a liability. In the 1960s Gen. Ayub Khan started consultations with politicians on getting rid of Bengalis. Pathan leader Khan Abdul Wali Khan, who disclosed this in Lahore Urdu Weekly “Chattan”, said he had opposed this idea. It cannot be that Ayub started these consultations without the army high command first agreeing on this plan.

 

          This writer is of the opinion that Pakistan forced the 1971 war with three aims (1) to get rid of Bengalis; (2) to cripple them so much that they could not rule themselves and (3) blame India for the breakup of Pakistan and thus perpetuate hatred for it. Pakistan’s last military Commander in Dhaka Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi writes in his memoirs of this war that on returning to Rawalpindi from the Prisons  of War camp in India, he was shocked when told that the aim of the war was to dump Bengalis and kill their intellectuals and leaders so that they could not rule themselves. If you look at the Pakistani newspapers of 1972-73 you will find them filled with prediction by political commentators, editorials writers, columnists, soothsayers, astrologers and even palmist giving Bangladesh only one to two years to survive. One popular prediction was that it would be annexed by India. Pakistan also refused to share with it united Pakistan’s assets making its formative years more difficult.

One wonders what provoked the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka to go out of diplomatic confine to publicise a video on its facebook page which claimed that Zia-Ur-Rahman (Late husband of opposition leader Begum Khalida Zia) and not Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (Late father of present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina) declared Bangladesh’s independence in March, 1971.

 

          Despite Pakistan’s predictions, Bangladesh has emerged politically and economically as a more stable nation. Its social indicators are better than those of Pakistan. While Pakistan is known as the cradle of Islamic militancy and terrorism nurtured by the State, Bangladesh puts down Islamic militancy with determination. Pakistan is always in a state of war with its immediate neighbours while Bangladesh has cordial relations with all its neighbours except Pakistan. Its present tiff with Myanmar is limited to the Rohingya problem. Pakistan can never have cordial relation with its immediate neighbours because it has based its disputes with them of its twisted ideologies-sectarian ideology (against Iran), communal ideology (against India) and security ideology (Afghanistan).

 

          So far Pakistan has not done anything to show that it has accepted Bangladesh as an independent country. As said earlier, it refused to share with it the assets of United Pakistan. It has refused to apologise for the 1971 genocide its army committed in Bangladesh. On the contrary, it has spoken for the guilty of crimes whom Bangladesh has tried and hanged or jailed. Dhaka has taken this as Pakistan’s interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh. Prime Minister Sk. Hasina told an Indian newspaper on October 14, 2016 that this and terrorism were the reasons why her Govt. pulled out from the SAARC summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad. She said: “there is a lot of pressure on me to cut off all diplomatic ties with Pakistan for their behaviour. But I have said the relations will remain, and we will have to resolve our problems. The fact is, we won our liberation war from Pakistan, and they were a defeated force”.

 

          Pakistan is led by this complex of the defeated side in its relations with Bangladesh. That may explain the video on Pakistan High Commission’s facebook page. The Pakistan High Commission’s explanation that it was unintentional does not pass muster. It looks like a mischief to ignite a debate in Bangladesh on its birth. 




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