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December 16, 2015
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Bangladesh: The undeniable facts

Islamabad

December 16, 2015

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Whenever the Awami League government appears in Bangladesh, relations with Pakistan are spoiled. This unfortunately has more to do with India’s policies which the AL seem to tow blindly than something the Pakistan government or its people have done. Cultural, ethnic and mental disparity between the East and West Pakistan besides a distance of over a thousand miles between the two separate wings had perhaps already marked the destiny of the people of the East in 1947; whatever happened in 1971 was nevertheless regrettable considering the military and political interference by India and the misguided elements who took advantage of the grievances of Bengalis, whether genuine or not. The separation between the two wings seemed inevitable considering the great dichotomy between the East and West Pakistan but the separation could have been agreeable and amicable had the Indians not jumped into the volatile situation in the name of refugees. Primarily, the conflict in East Pakistan in 1971 was a political battle with the late BD prime minister Sheikh Mujeeb keen on becoming the prime minister of a united Pakistan. He demanded provincial autonomy for the eastern wing of the country but soon his campaign was enveloped in ethno-linguistic tirade, which was supported by the Bengali nationalists and militarily shored up by the Indian government and the army. 

According to the results of the 1971 elections, the voter turnout in East Pakistan was 56 percent. This clearly manifests that some 44 percent did not participate in the polls thus the Awami League incorrectly claiming that it had the mandate of the whole of East Pakistan population. Essentially speaking, the votes cast in favour of the Awami League were only 42 percent. Could the Awami League represent the whole of the population of East Pakistan? Not without the overt and covert Indian support, something which is now openly acknowledged today.

While it has become the psyche of many Bangladeshi politicians to slam Pakistan again and again over the events of 1971, the way the Awami League government treats and fabricates its version of events is a sad and sick statement of sorts. The maliciousness of the approach towards Pakistan becomes very much evident when the AL wins the polls, whose fairness is mostly questioned by the Western world and international agencies. Nevertheless, the Indian malice and spite is visible in the Awami League’s approach towards Islamabad. While the baby has been delivered through cesarean, the midwife still seeks to put it under its thumbs.

If we look at history, we find that the government of Pakistan had a reconciliatory attitude towards the political demands of the Awami League. However, it was the Bengali nationalist party that had a stubborn attitude and that so on Indian promises of military and political support and liberation of the East wing. Similarly, the Bengalis in East Pakistan were a dominant majority, who were misguided by Sheikh Mujib and company that wanted its control in the name of rights and so-called deprivation.

Essentially speaking, Bangladesh is very much there and will stay as a country whether as a basket case or not. But, at the same time, it would do no good to the Awami League government to continue maligning Pakistan and its intelligence agencies for something that happened long time back or blaming them for their alleged present day interference, or victimising those who had supported a united country at that time, or fabricating tales with outlandish figures that any sensible person cannot simply digest. The core assumption that all that ails Bangladesh today is all Pakistan related is a skewed view and indicates the belligerent and vindictive nature of the party leaders who rule the country today. 

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