By Sajjad Shaukat
It is regrettable that Sheikh Hasina Wajid, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and leader of the ruling party, Awami League (AL) has continuously been acting upon anti-Pakistan policy in order to appease India which had played a key role in separation of the East Pakistan by manipulating differences between the Bengalis and the no-Bengalis.
While following pro-Indian tilt, Prime Minister Hasina Wajid maintains an anti-Pakistan posture with sinister designs of expressing animosity and antagonism. The aim is to exploit feelings of masses by keeping the “hate Pakistan” agenda alive. This enables Awami League and Hasina Wajid to remain significant in Bangladesh’s power politics despite their failure to deliver good governance to the people.
In this regard, obsessed with strong motives of revenge and political expediency, and after passing of 42 years to the events of 1971, which resulted into the separation of East Pakistan, the government led by Prime Minister Hasina Wajid hurriedly executed her political opponent, Abdul Quader Mullah-leader of Jamaat-e-Islami (Jl) because of his loyalty to Pakistan.
When Pakistan’s National Assembly expressed concern over the execution of Quader Mullah, with the backing of Bangladesh government, a majority of the workers of AL and Bengali Hindus continued demonstrating outside the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka, demanding the expulsion of the Pakistani envoy. While chanting anti-Pakistani slogans, officially-arranged protesters in Bangladesh also burnt Pakistan’s flag.
In this connection, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement that Quader Mullah’s execution was internal matter of Bangladesh which “is our neighbouring Islamic country…Bangladesh should avoid blame game and try to further strengthen relations with Pakistan.”
But, by neglecting Islamabad’s positive approach, Bangladesh government has continued its anti-Pakistan policy to please India. It could be judged from the statement of Prime Minister Hasina Wajid who vocally said, “Bangladesh has no room for the people loving Pakistan.”
In fact, India has also been employing various tactics to entrap Bangladesh by exploiting her pro-Indian tilt to fulfill its strategic interests against Pakistan. In this context, Prime Minister Hasina has been pursuing Indian directions by conducting anti-Pakistan campaign.
In this respect, on the secret insistence of India, unlike the past years, a ceremony was held in Dhaka on March 24, 2013, with full pump and show to honour ‘Foreign Friends of Bangladesh Award,’ in relation to the separation of East Pakistan. For this aim, several foreign friends who included various institutions and media anchors from various countries, particularly India were invited. The main purpose behind was to distort the image of Pakistan and its armed forces regarding alleged atrocities, committed against the Bengalis.
Notably, in December, 2012, Prime Minister Hasina Wajid had refused to attend D-8 conference in Islamabad unless Pakistan tendered apology for the alleged genocide of Bengalis.
While, a famous Bengali journalist Sarmila Bose authored a book, “Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War” after thorough investigation. Her book was published in 2011. While countering exaggerations of the Indian and Bengali Journalists, Bose argues that the number of Bengalis killed in 1971 was not three million, but around 50,000, while Bengalis were equally involved in the bloodshed of Punjabis, Biharis, Pashtoons and Balochis.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder of Bangladesh and father of Hasina Wajid was already in connivance with India for separation of East Pakistan. Therefore, when East Pakistan was occupied by Indian Army in 1971, he stated with pleasure that his 24 years old dream of an independent Bangladesh had been fulfilled. He had earlier developed his contacts with Indian rulers and training camps of Mukti Bahini, established by Indian army and RAW which also funded Mujibur Rehman’s general elections in 1970.
It is mentionable that by ignoring public protests and strikes by students and Islamic parties due to pro-Indian tilt, Prime Minister Hasina Wajid has given secular orientation to the country by purging the society from religious touch. She has issued instructions for the removal of some Islamic books from academic courses.
Particularly, a survey conducted by a local agency pointed out that 98% Bangladeshis do not want to leave Islamic culture, and also hate undue interference of India in Bangladesh’s affairs.
It is notable that Pakistani businessmen motivated by business interests of both the countries, and driven by their deeply entrenched longings to revive old relations with Bangladeshi brethren, decided to invest their capital in Bangladesh. According to the media reports, more than ten thousand Pakistanis invested billions of dollars in Bangladesh. It was a matter of satisfaction for all Pakistanis who always wish that the two countries flourish in economic field and acquire socio-political stability. But, it is misfortune that Bangladesh is rapidly moving towards chaos and uncertainty. Hence, Pakistani investors in that country are in state of fear because Ms. Hasina Wajid, and the workers her party, have especially been targeting them in on way or the other.
Now, it is right hour that Bangladesh should rectify anti-Pakistan policy in order to save the country from further unrest, and also for regional stability. In this context, Prime Minister Hasina Wajid must abandon pursuing Indian agenda at the cost of Islamabad which always prefer to strengthen Pak-Bangladesh relationship. She should also give up politics of revulsion, division and discord which has been creating anti-Pakistan environment, besides causing uncertainty in her own country.
In this regard, S.M. Hali in his article, “Let Bygones be Bygones,” suggest, “The time has come to bury hatchet and for people of both Bangladesh and Pakistan to let bygones be bygones and move forward. If we continue to dwell upon the past and do not get rid of the cancer of revulsion and abhorrence, loss will be ours. The people of Bangladesh must introspectively think who is behind this machination and driving a wedge between Bangladesh and Pakistan. Awami League would be better advised to serve its people and solve their domestic issues rather than inculcating hate. Sheikh Hasina should heed the words of Madeleine L’Engle: “Hate hurts the hater more’n the hated.”
Nonetheless, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid should take cognizance of the modern world trends like peaceful settlement of disputes, political stability and regional blocks for economic development instead of creating an atmosphere of hatred and vengeance. For the purpose, she should rectify anti-Pakistan policy.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations