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Pakistan-Bangladesh ties and future of SAARC

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By Shazia Cheema

Forgiveness does not necessarily mean forgetting. Practicing forgiveness is not always easy. It can take time to build up to the mental state where you feel ready to forgive, and even afterward it can take mental energy to stay comfortable with your decision.

Research shows that to remember what is important, we need to forget what isn’t important. This can happen at two levels in the brain. First, a “cleaning” of irrelevant information as we retain and consolidate our memories, and second, a “blocking” of irrelevant information when we try to retrieve a memory.

The current global situation demands new alignments so the countries can re-strategise their future policies on more productive frames. The nature of old relations may have sour denotations but for the good for all, this is the right time to move on. Moving on is a natural evolutionary process of homo sapiens but evolving with a scar on body and mind can practically transform into to genomes and long-lasting bitterness can be transferred into generations and become part of collective consciousness, for sure that could the point of no return.

The irrelevant fight of who was on the right side is realistically irresolute able. So, for that matter, poring fume of hatred among individuals of the suffering party could serve the purpose of a catalyst of even worse catastrophe.

When countries and nations adhere to negative emotions toward another country, it does not essentially mean enmity between individuals, categorically individuals are the victims of the policies made in the frame of the bigger picture. Wise leaders over the period lead their nations for the sake of a better, prosperous future to a positive path and fundamentally facilitate the process of forgetting and forgiving.

Scratching old scars could restart the bleeding and that is neither logical nor beneficial.

The irrelevant fight of who was on the right side is realistically irresolute able. So, for that matter, poring fume of hatred among individuals of the suffering party could serve the purpose of a catalyst of even worse catastrophe.

Bangladesh once, part of Pakistan cannot be blamed for their sensitive memories regarding “Fall of Dhaka” similarly Pakistan has his right reserved to bare the pain of partition and losing an integral geographical part. The process was painful and left enormous moral saddles on both sides. For that matter scratching old scars could restart the bleeding and that is neither logical nor beneficial.

I am confident to state that Pakistan and Bangladesh both have realized the importance of forgetting and forgiveness. Being partners in the region, they share interests and can achieve the wellbeing of their people just by planning to move on with a positive frame of mind.

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina during a meeting with Pakistan High Commissioner in Dhaka Imran Ahmed Siddiqui on December 3, 2020, expressed that she believes (believed) in regional cooperation referring to the Bangladesh foreign policy “friendship to all malice to none.”

Enemies do not express good wishes for each other, and this is an indicator that PM Sheikh Hasina does not consider Pakistan as an enemy. Here is a ray of hope for a better understanding and contact between Pakistan and Bangladesh.

This is her visualization for regional development and Pakistan should also take advantage of this vision by accepting the fact that Bangladesh will remain a state that would never forget the war atrocities of 1971. As I have mentioned atrocities for both the parties (Bangladesh and Pakistan) so only the past must not stop a pleasant future. Yes, Pakistan’s respect and understanding of the feelings of the Bangladeshi nation about the 1971 War is a key to the success of future bilateral relations between the countries.

A statement released by Prime Minister Office in Dhaka categorically states that “Incidents of 1971 cannot be forgotten. The pain will remain forever”. I believe that this is the justified parameter, Bangladeshi PM sets for Pakistan to move forward moreover she also conveyed good wishes for Pakistan. Enemies do not express good wishes for each other, and this is an indicator that PM Sheikh Hasina does not consider Pakistan as an enemy. Here is a ray of hope for a better understanding and contact between Pakistan and Bangladesh.

During the meeting, the High Commissioner of Pakistan lauded PM Sheikh Hasina for her statesmanship in the global arena and this was a loud and clear message for Bangladesh that Pakistan believes that Bangladesh can lead South Asian leadership because it has cordial relations with all neighbors including China, Nepal, Myanmar. Its relations with India are going through a tough and turbulent phase due to the arrogant, hegemonic, aggressive, and expansionist philosophy of New Delhi.

I believe that Bangladesh and Pakistan together, along with Nepal can make the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) alive again because Indian’s design of using this Regional organization for installing its hegemony must be contested and revert if Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh stand together and tell hostile neighbor (India) that SAARC cannot be slaved.

The major component of SAARC which is the “South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA)” is dormant for ages although it can bring business and trade to this region and can help to mitigate poverty in member countries.

The 19th SAARC summit was a scheduled diplomatic conference, which was originally planned to be held in Islamabad, Pakistan on 15–19 November 2016 but got canceled after an attack on an Indian army camp in Kashmir. The summit was to be attended by the leaders of the eight SAARC member states and representatives of observers and guest states.

Following the rising diplomatic tensions after the Uri terrorist attack, India announced its boycott of the summit, alleging Pakistan’s involvement in the attack. Later, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives also pulled out of the summit. culminating in an indefinite postponement of the Summit.

Time has proved the lethal impact of negative tarnishing Indian propaganda against Pakistan has engulfed entire South Asia in uncertainty. Apparently, India in sheer hatred for Pakistan let the entire region shakedown to poverty and chaos. Resulting from South Asian countries now feeling the utmost desire of breaking the Indian hegemony. SAARC is an infirm state of planning on its future on the basic grounding of mutual respect and by keeping in mind every country’s interest.

Pakistan and Bangladesh have started the process of rebuilding their relations on the core element of human survival which is “forget and forgive”. Forgiveness is a cognitive and emotional process that eradicates chronic hostility, rumination, and their adverse effects. The present is the time we both cannot afford hostility, rumination, and its chronic effects. Wise and far-sighted leaders of both countries have decided to lead the diplomacy on a new productive and mutually beneficial level excluding all the bitterness of the past.

The stupid neither forgive nor forget

The wise forgive and learn

 

Note: The writer Shazia Cheema is an analyst writing for national and international media outlets including the Nation, Pakistan Today, Pakistan Observer, Eurasia Diary, InSight, and Mina News Agency. She heads the DND Thought Center. She did her MA in Cognitive Semiotics from Aarhus University Denmark and is currently registered as a Ph.D. Scholar of Semiotics and Philosophy of Communication at Charles University Prague. She can be reached at her: Twitter @ShaziaAnwerCh  Email: shaziaanwer@yahoo.com

Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.

Central Desk
Central News Desk.

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