सीधे मुख्य सामग्री पर जाएं

Realpolitik requires Pakistan must never question Bangladesh's close ties with India

By Mehjabin Bhanu* 

President of Pakistan Arif Alvi has congratulated Phresident Md Shabuddin on taking charge as the 22nd President of Bangladesh. In a congratulatory message, Arif Alvi said, 'Congratulations to you for assuming office as the 22nd President of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. Your election to this responsibility is a reflection of the trust and faith the people of Bangladesh have in you.
Arif said that Pakistan deeply values brotherly relations with Bangladesh. This relationship is rooted in common history, common beliefs and common interests in developing sustainable peace and prosperity in our region and beyond.
He said, I am confident that the existing relationship between the two countries will be strengthened during your tenure. "I wish you great success during your tenure and I look forward to working closely with you," he said.
Shahabuddin, the nominee of the ruling Awami League party, was elected as the president of Bangladesh on February 13 without opposition, as no other candidate filed papers to contest the election. His party holds the majority in the 350-seat national parliament, with 302 members, making it impossible for any other party to nominate a candidate.
Following the oath-taking ceremony, he was congratulated by the outgoing president, Abdul Hamid, who is the only person in Bangladesh to have held the presidential post for two consecutive terms of 10 years. As per the country’s constitution, the presidential election must be held 60 to 90 days before the completion of each five-year term.
However, Pakistan and Bangladesh have made significant progress in strengthening their relationship over the years. The relationship took a positive turn in March 2021 when then-prime minister Imran Khan wrote a letter of congratulations to his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, on the occasion of Bangladesh’s 50th independence anniversary.
Bangladesh’s response was positive, with Sheikh Hasina stating that her country was committed to maintaining peaceful and cooperative relationships with its neighbouring countries, “including Pakistan”. Despite being South Asian countries, sharing the same religion, culture, and history, the relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh aren’t warm at the present time.
The lukewarm relations between Bangladesh and Pakistan even five decades after Bangladesh’s secession from Pakistan and its liberation through a particularly violent liberation war are because of two main reasons: the hurt of the 1971 liberation war is still quite raw and because Pakistan has not officially apologized for the war crimes it committed during the 9-month long liberation war in 1971.
However, as they say, quite a bit of water has since flowed down the Buriganga and the Indus rivers. There are now new realities that call for both sides to appreciate and mutually empathize with the evolving dynamics. Both Bangladesh and Pakistan need to resolve their problems and move forward. Policymakers from both sides need to be sensitive to each other’s expectations as well as challenges. Indeed, for the sake of prosperity and security of both the nations, relations between Bangladesh and Pakistan must be improved.
It is evident that for the last two years, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, and his government had been trying to strengthen relations with Bangladesh and given that both Bangladesh and Pakistan share same political history and similar cultural and social norms and more importantly, that both countries tend to gain economically through improved trade and investment relations, it is important that relations between these two countries are cemented as soon as possible.
The younger generation of both countries are very keen to forge stronger ties between these two Muslim majority countries in the region. There is huge potential for bilateral economic and trade cooperation. Among other things, the trade imbalance between the two countries must be addressed. According to the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan’s exports to Bangladesh in 2019 stood at $736 million, while Bangladesh’s exports to Pakistan were only $44 million.
Despite some challenges, the good news is that bilateral trade between Pakistan-Bangladesh is growing, albeit, gradually. According to the media report and statements of the ‘State Bank of Pakistan’ Pakistan’s trade with Bangladesh witnessed an increase of 46.65 percent during the first six months of the financial year (2021-22) as compared to the corresponding period of last year. The overall exports to Bangladesh from Pakistan were recorded at $399.408 million during July-December against exports of $274.246 million during the same period last year, showing a growth of 45.63 percent, Meanwhile, on a year-on-year basis, during December 2021, exports to Bangladesh from Pakistan increased 52.01 percent, from $54.433 million to $82.746 million. Similarly, on a month-on-month basis, imports rose by 14.38 percent during December 2021 in comparison with exports of $72.339 million in November 2021. It is true that Bangladesh and Pakistan can benefit from growing trade ties. Pakistan and Bangladesh should ink a free trade agreement to boost up the trade volume.
In today’s globalized world of free trade, every country is, leaving to the extent possible, politics behind and focusing on closer economic and trade ties for mutual benefits. There are also moves to establish compatible economic zones and alliances.
However, given the history and recent horrific memories of war violence that Bangladesh suffered at the hands of the Pakistan military in 1971, forging closer ties between Bangladesh and Pakistan is anything but easy. Relations between these countries have been mostly sour or bumpy at best. For example, relations between the two countries which have been okay but not the warmest nosedived in 2016 when in a 1971 War Crime trial, Bangladesh executed several leaders of the Jamaat Islami for their participation in the 1971 war crimes. Pakistan, where Jamaat Islami has a strong following and many of the Bangladeshi Jamaat leaders who were sentenced to death and were executed used to be former colleagues of the Pakistan Jamaat and thus the latter, condemned in the Pakistan Parliament the execution of their former colleagues and labelled the executions as politically motivated actions. Bangladesh saw this as Pakistan’s “interference” in the internal matters of Bangladesh and as a result, relations between the two countries deteriorated to the extent that diplomats were expelled from respective sides.
Since Imran Khan became the Prime Minister of Pakistan in 2018, things started to improve significantly. His phone call to the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in December 2020 was proof that Pakistan is ready for a change. During the phone call Imran Khan invited Sheikh Hasina to visit Islamabad.
In August 2021, Imran’s phone call was followed up with what has come to be known in diplomatic circles, the “Mango Diplomacy” –the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s gift of a basket of Bangladesh’s famous mangoes to Imran. After this, the Pakistani envoy to Bangladesh met with Bangladesh PM Hasina Wazed in October 2021. During the meeting, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh expressed her desire to strengthen bilateral trade ties with Pakistan. Indeed, there were indications of melting the ice between the two strained ties. Now these must be continued for bolstering relations.
These are signs that both countries are warming up to each other and this is realpolitik.
Realpolitik also implies that Pakistan must never interfere into Bangladesh’s internal affairs nor question Bangladesh’s close ties with India, a country that has actively helped Bangladesh in its liberation, a relation that has passed the test of time and is historic. Therefore, Pakistan must respect and appreciate these realities and work its way through issues more pragmatically and maturely.
In other words, Bangladesh and Pakistan must capitalize on the recent goodwill promoted by Imran Khan and ‘follow up’ with measures that translate these into tangible outcomes. A more viable and less painful way is indeed through stronger economic ties as such ties can not only benefit both countries and in the process and over the years create better empathy and bonding between the people of these two estranged countries, but strong economic and political ties may also be of immense geopolitical benefits to both the countries. Therefore, it is important that both countries take steps to reduce tensions and take steps to re-bond and work together to promote the well-being of both nations at multiple levels.
It is noteworthy that both Pakistan and Bangladesh seem to be moving ahead though cautiously. Both countries have taken some initiatives to develop closer diplomatic, economic, and cultural relations. Indeed, it is time to restructure relations. Pakistan should have a lasting dialogue with the Bangladesh government on how to move the bilateral relations in a positive direction. Both should work together and advance their relationship on any issue related to trade, culture, and mutual interests.
Bangladesh and Pakistan together make up five percent of the world’s population. The people-to-people contact, religious tourism, scholarship exchange, and so on, can be potential sectors to explore to promote better understanding and mutual empathy between the two peoples. At the economic level, reconnecting ports (air, sea) between the two states is very necessary to bolster the ties and in this regard, Bangladesh should explore usage of Pakistan’s seaports (Karachi port, Gwadar port, Keti Bandar, port Qassim, CPEC). At the same time, Pakistan can take advantage of Bangladesh’s emerging and buoyant consumer market and more importantly, through Bangladesh’s port facilities, access the landlocked markets of Nepal, Bhutan, and Southeast Asia more generally. Closer economic, diplomatic, and cultural ties between Bangladesh are key to the mutual benefits of both these countries and more importantly, essential to the broader prosperity of the region.
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*Bangladeshi culumnist, security and strategic affairs analyst, teacher

टिप्पणियाँ

ट्रेंडिंग

दाँव उल्टा पड़ा: राहुल गांधी के रूप में हम एक साधारण इंसान को नायक होते देख रहे हैं

-  अमिता नीरव  संघ औऱ बीजेपी ने राहुल गाँधी पर जो सोचकर ‘इन्वेस्ट’ किया था, उसके परिणाम गंभीर रूप से नुकसानदेह आ रहे हैं। ये थोड़ी अटपटी बात लग सकती है, लेकिन सोचिएगा कि संघ और बीजेपी ने राहुल गाँधी को जितना गंभीरता से लिया, उनकी संभावनाओं को लेकर वे जितना श्योर थे, उतना तो खुद राहुल और कांग्रेस भी नहीं थी।

બે-રોકટોક રણ અભયારણ્ય વિસ્તારમાં માફિયાઓનું અન-અધિકૃત અને ગેર-કાયદેસર પ્રવૃત્તિઓ

- અગરિયા હિત રક્ષક મંચ  કચ્છના નાના રણમાં શિકારપૂર, કાનમેર રણ વિસ્તારમાં જમીન માફિયા જુથ વચ્ચેની આંધાધૂંધ ગોળીબાર થયો તેમાં એક વ્યક્તિ નો જીવ ગયો. આ ઘટનાથી ફરી એકવાર કચ્છના નાના રણની જમીન પર ગેરકાયદેસર કબજો કરી તેનો સોદો કરનારા જૂથો, ટોળીઓની વાત ચર્ચામાં આવી છે. 

हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

ગુજરાતના સ્થાપના દિવસે યાદ કરીએ ભારતના વિશ્વપ્રસિદ્ધ ગુજરાતી પુરાતત્વવિદ્ ને

- ગૌરાંગ જાની*  આજે કોઈ ગુજરાતી એ કલ્પના પણ ન કરી શકે કે વર્ષ ૧૮૩૯ માં જૂનાગઢમાં જન્મેલા એક ગુજરાતી વિશ્વ પ્રસિદ્ધ બની શકે! પણ આપણે એ ગુજરાતીને કદાચ વિસરી ગયા છીએ જેમણે ગિરનારના અશોક શિલાલેખને દોઢસો વર્ષ પૂર્વે ઉકેલી આપ્યો.આ વિદ્વાન એટલે ભગવાનલાલ ઈન્દ્રજી. ૭ નવેમ્બર, ૧૮૩૯ ના દિવસે જૂનાગઢના પ્રશ્નોરા નાગર બ્રાહ્મણ પરિવારમાં તેમનો જન્મ થયો હતો. જૂનાગઢના એ સમયે અંગ્રેજી શિક્ષણની સગવડ ન હોવાને કારણે તેમને અંગ્રેજી ભાષાનું જ્ઞાન ન હતું પણ પાછળથી તેમણે ખપ પૂરતું અંગ્રેજી જાણી લીધું હતું.

राम के महल में आग लगाता हनुमान: चर्चित सोशल मीडिया इनफ्लुएंसर दिलीप मंडल

- प्रमोद रंजन  चर्चित सोशल मीडिया इनफ्लुएंसर दिलीप मंडल ने अचानक राजनीतिक पलटी मारी है और राजद-सपा-स्टालिन आदि के खेमे को छोड़ कर राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ के लिए बैटिंग करने लगे हैं। कई लोगों में उनके कथित पतन से दु:ख खीज और गुस्सा है।

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

આપણા સમાજમાં દીકરીના માતપિતાનો દરજ્જો દીકરાના માતાપિતા કરતાં નિમ્ન કક્ષાનો કેમ?

- તૃપ્તિ શેઠ  થોડાંક દિવસ પહેલાં એક દુકાનમાં ખરીદી કરવાં ગઈ અને એ બહેન જે દુકાન પર બેઠાં હતાં એ ફોન પર વાતો જ કર્યા કરતાં હતાં . હું કંટાળીને આગળ જવા ગઈ તો એ મને કહે , "સોરી !  મારી મમ્મીને હું રોજ આ સમયે ફોન કરું છું કેમ કે એ મંદિરમાં રહે છે અને ત્યાં ઈલેક્ટ્રિસિટી નથી. એ પાંચ રૂપીઆમાં ફોન રોજ ચાર્જ કરાવે અને મારી સાથે વાત કરે." મે પૂછ્યું તારી મમ્મી કેમ એકલી રહે છે, તો એનો જવાબ હતો કે મારા બે ભાઈઓએ મારી મમ્મીને એના ઘરમાંથી કાઢી મૂકી છે એટલે એક ગામના છેવાડે આવેલાં મંદિરમાં રહે છે અને ત્યાં કામ કરે છે . મે કહ્યું ,” તું કેમ તારી મમ્મીની બોલાવી લેતી નથી ? “ તો મને કહે, મારી મા કહે છે કે છોકરીને ઘરે પાણી પણ પીએ તો  પાપ લાગે. 

તત્વચિંતક રાજનીતિજ્ઞ મોદીનાં લોકસભાની ચૂંટણી સંદર્ભે મહાન વ્યાખ્યાનો પ્રકાશિત કરવા જોઈએ

- ઉત્તમ પરમાર  વિશ્વના મહાન તત્વચિંતક રાજનીતિજ્ઞ અને આપણા મહાન વડાપ્રધાન આદરણીય નરેન્દ્રભાઈ મોદી 2024ની લોકસભાની ચૂંટણી સંદર્ભે જે જાહેર વ્યાખ્યાનો આપી રહ્યા છે, એ માત્ર ભારતના વડાપ્રધાનોના નહીં પરંતુ વિશ્વના વડાપ્રધાનોના પ્રવચનો પૈકી સર્વશ્રેષ્ઠ પ્રવચનો છે.

एक बहुत बड़ा झूठ: मुसलमानों की आबादी बढ़ती रही तो हिन्दू अल्पसंख्यक बन जाएंगे

- राम पुनियानी  चुनावी मौसम जैसे-जैसे समाप्ति की ओर बढ़ रहा है, वैसे-वैसे समाज को बांटने वाला प्रचार भी अपने चरम पर पहुँच रहा है. भाजपा के मुख्य प्रचारक स्वयं प्रधानमंत्री मोदी है. इस चुनाव में उनका पूरा नैरेटिव इस झूठ के  आसपास बुना गया है कि अगर इंडिया गठबंधन सत्ता में आया तो वह सारी सुविधाएं और लाभ केवल मुसलमानों को देगा. हर चीज़ पर मुसलमानों का पहला हक होगा और संविधान में इस तरह के बदलाव किये जाएंगे जिससे हिन्दू इस देश के दूसरे दर्जे के नागरिक बन जाएंगे. मोदीजी हमें जॉर्ज ऑरवेल के उपन्यास “नाइनटीन एट्टी-फोर”  की याद दिलाता है, जिसमें सच को सिर के बल खड़ा कर दिया जाता है. हिन्दुओं में यह डर पैदा किया जा रहा है कि देश में मुसलमान सारे विशेषाधिकार हासिल कर लेंगे.

हीट-एक्शन नीति में अनौपचारिक व खुले-में-कार्यरत मजदूरों को शामिल नहीं करना निंदनीय

- नेशनल अलायन्स ऑफ़ पीपुल्स मूवमेंट्स  पूरे भारत में 'चुनावी गर्मी' ज़ोर पकड़ चुकी है, जो हम सभी को साफ़-साफ़ दिखाई भी दे रही है। हालाँकि, एक और गर्मी है जो नागरिकों, विशेष रूप से करोड़ों खुले में काम करने वाले श्रमिकों को प्रभावित करती है, यह न तो 'चुनावी मुद्दा' है और न ही इस पर सामाजिक रूप से पर्याप्त ध्यान दिया जाता है। भारत के ग्रामीण और शहरी दोनों हिस्सों में मेहनतकश लोग, जो चिलचिलाती धूप में भी हमारे गाँवों और शहरों के लिए अनाज पैदा करते हैं, हर तरह का निर्माण कार्य करते हैं, शहरों व गांवों को चलाते हैं, हमें विभिन्न प्रकार की सेवाएँ प्रदान करें, लेकिन इसी वर्ग का अभी तक 'मुख्यधारा' के जलवायु न्याय और नीतिगत विमर्श में पर्याप्त रूप से प्रतिनिधित्व नहीं किया गया है।