Pakistan Envisions A Friendly Relationship with Bangladesh

On the Pakistan Independence day High commissioner of Dhaka praised contribution of Bengalis in the establishment of Pakistan in 1947 on August, 14.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokeswomen Ayesha Farooqi said that Islamabad is moving forward with Dhaka for the establishment of Pakistan Bangladesh relation.

Beside this, former Prime Minister Imran khan also made a telephonic call to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He congratulated her on their jubilee Independence Day.

Moreover, Bangladeshi Prime Minster response was also positive. Both countries showed well wishes for each other. 

Whereas the India-Bangladesh drift has mostly flown under the radar,

Pakistan’s diplomatic revolution over the past three weeks has been clearly visible.

Dhaka has previously shown some wide range of criticism in response to disagreements regarding the Rohingya refugee crisis,

the Citizenship Amendment Act, and the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodha.

Pakistan’s recent approach to Bangladesh coincided with escalating tensions between New Delhi and

Dhaka, which were mostly stoked by the BJP, the country’s ruling party, for its rising anti-Muslim stance.

Pakistan has firmly been positioned in the Chinese and Turkish camps as a result

of its unusual and hitherto unimaginable move to condemn Saudi Arabia and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

for their silence on Kashmir earlier this month.

While Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s trip to Riyadh last week was intended to repair the military ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan,

Islamabad is now openly supporting Turkish and Chinese claims for leadership of the Muslim world and the global community, respectively.

One diplomat told The Diplomat that most of Pakistan’s recent diplomatic contact with Bangladesh

has been with reference to this rapidly expanding cooperation, with China and Turkey fully supporting Islamabad’s Kashmir narrative.

According to a senior diplomat, “under the Turkey-led Muslim bloc, both Pakistan and Bangladesh can receive more significance as opposed to what we have under the Gulf states,

who have actively increased their military and energy cooperation with India and even Israel while failing to protect Kashmir.”

As a result, while Pakistan and Bangladesh may share an interest in living within the same bloc,

genuine dialogue about what happened in 1971 and the circumstances that led up to it is necessary for the two to genuinely become friends.

That compels Pakistan to look inside at its own history in order to pinpoint the root causes of many of its existing challenges

and to chart a course for a progressive, diversified future.

Since Pakistan mistreated Bengalis from 1947 to 1971,

the two wings that fought together for the partition of India split apart within 24 years, which is largely to blame for Pakistan’s current woes.

Many of Pakistan’s paradoxes, which have been ingrained in the nation’s existence but remain unsolved in the national spirit,

were outlined by that deadly division in 1971.

The 1971 war explains why, despite losing an entire wing,

Pakistan never had to change its name and why the majority started a separatist movement.

It serves as a reminder that Pakistan is no longer home to the two Pakistan movement hotspots of Bengal and Uttar Pradesh,

the latter of which is where the Muslim League was established in 1906.

It highlights how the separatist movement of the 1940s, which insisted that Muslims in the Indian subcontinent were “one nation,”

has since divided them roughly evenly into three different states.

More importantly for Pakistan,

the breakup with Bangladesh exposed the eruptive fault lines that have only grown more severe since 1971.

For instance, the military’s rule in Pakistan and later in Bangladesh is a result of efforts to suppress the democratic principle of

“one person, one vote” because it was feared that it would lead to the Bengali majority ruling over the two wings of Pakistan.

Because of this, civilian officials in the then-West Pakistan were more interested in enjoying certain benefits under military dictatorship

than they were in helping East Pakistan to have the majority say in how the country was managed.

Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto, and currently Imran Khan are examples of Pakistani civilian leaders

who have undermined democracy to advance their political ambitions.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had worked with the military to thwart the 1970 elections,

which ultimately led to the orchestration of Bangladesh’s separation.

According to Ali Riaz, professor of political science at Illinois State University and nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council

“Bangladeshis all over the country feel that Pakistan needs to acknowledge its past mistakes,

acknowledge that its army had committed a genocide, and apologize for the atrocities committed.”

“There are several options with emerging global dynamics.

But without Pakistan’s acknowledgment and repentance for its horrendous actions in 1971, the road remains empty, he continued.

Military commanders like Pervez Musharraf and Zia-ul-Haq have accepted the events of 1971,

but Pakistan’s leaders as a whole and the state officially have refused to admit the seriousness of its crimes.

Pakistan has recently denounced Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal’s executions of individuals for crimes committed during the 1971 conflict.

This is interpreted as Pakistan’s refusal to acknowledge the war crimes committed in 1971,

let alone offer an apology and again start Pakistan Bangladesh friendship again.