Bangladesh – Pakistan Relations: Revisiting the Diplomacy

 

The writer Shazia Cheema is an analyst writing for international media outlets including Eurasia Diary, InSight, Mina, and Dispatch News Desk (DND) She did her MA in Cognitive Semiotics from Aarhus University Denmark and is currently registered as a PhD Scholar of Semiotics and Philosophy of Communication at Charles University Prague.

Prof Shazia Cheema

India’s maligning diplomacy towards Pakistan is multidimensional including a fundamental of producing impediments for Islamabad in its relations with other South Asian countries.

In the past, New Delhi had been successful in creating craves between Islamabad in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan which must bridge because of its unnatural standing. For a quite considerable period, Pakistan faced the unnecessary cold from South Asian countries especially adjacent to India.

India by default keeps its diplomacy inconclusive and ambiguous hence putting the entire region in an uncertain situation

However, the ruthlessly arrogant attitude of over-confident India towards neighboring countries considered an important factor in the formation of Strings of Pearls. The countries included in the Strung of Pearls have long been facing elusive Indian diplomacy. India by default keeps its diplomacy inconclusive and ambiguous hence putting the entire region in an uncertain situation. China on the contrary being decisive and logical create ample opportunities for them and slowly these countries release themselves from the dark unpredictable shadow of India. Indian defense experts argue that “if India is able to improve its relations with its neighbor countries then China will be in the same situation as India and this will potentially break ‘String of Pearls’”.

Diplomatic circles in Dhaka believed that Pakistan had no right to criticize Bangladesh for taking actions against personalities linked with 1971 events because it was an internal affair of Bangladesh

Sri Lanka grabbed opportunities with open arms provided by China. Nepal turned the table in the last decade and stood for its sovereignty and snubbed India this year after practically recovering its lands at Indian-Nepal Border regions and established its writ and control on unmarked areas. Bilateral relations of India with Bangladesh also entered a turbulent phase due to Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the Indian Parliament passed this controversial Amendment Act on December 11, 2019, confirming Indian citizenship for followers of almost all religions (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians) from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who had entered into India on or before December 31, 2014, except Muslims. Rancorous phase in Bangladesh and India relations paved a way for Pakistan to revisit and renegotiate its policy towards Bangladesh because Dhaka-Islamabad relations entered into an unpleasant phase in December 2013 when the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh convicted nine persons for war crimes pertaining to the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 and imposed a death sentence on senior Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla.

It looks that Bangladesh-Pakistan bilateral relations finally coming out of the clouds because Prime Minister Imran Khan wishes cordial relations with Bangladesh based on mutual respect and better understanding and acceptance of historical changes in South Asia

Diplomatic circles in Dhaka believed that Pakistan had no right to criticize Bangladesh for taking actions against personalities linked with 1971 events because it was an internal affair of Bangladesh to take action against those who according to the independent state of Bangladesh was against the formation of an independent Bangladesh out of former East Pakistan.

It looks that Bangladesh-Pakistan bilateral relations finally coming out of the clouds because Prime Minister Imran Khan wishes cordial relations with Bangladesh based on mutual respect and better understanding and acceptance of historical changes in South Asia. PM Imran Khan established contact with the Bangladeshi Prime Minister this year and High Commissioner in Dhaka Imran Ahmed Siddiqui held a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on December 3, 2020. This was the first high-level contact between the two countries in the diplomatic sphere after 2017.

According to media reports, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid welcomed the High Commissioner and assured him of her full support in the discharge of his official duties while the High Commissioner conveyed the message of goodwill and friendship from Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Students and practitioners of Diplomacy understand that temporary political obstacles cannot break diplomatic relations if there is a desire to keep relations based on respect for each other’s sovereignty.

Pakistan and Bangladesh are connected at many levels. These connections are visible whenever Pakistani, and Bangladeshis meet anywhere. There is a need to, not only strengthen these connections but also create new ones. So, the focus should be on people-to-people contacts in addition to strengthening government-to-government relations.

Pakistan and Bangladesh are creating common grounds where both can excel and grow despite aimless harshness. Both the countries sharing their interest in being part of Turkey China Block for a better clearer perspective on future goals. On the other hand, having sour ties with India, Bangladesh has reached the realization that India can never be decisive and pragmatic in its diplomacy.

Bangladesh’s belief in friendship to all, malice to none is whole-heartedly welcomed by Pakistan. Islamabad is looking forward to having deep and lasting relations with Bangladesh based on trust and mutual respect.