Friends of Bangladesh or traitors of Pakistan
Anchorperson and columnist of a large media group Hamid Mir, in his recent column titled ‘Pachtaway’ (repentances) has apprised the audience about details of ceremony held to honor friends of Bangladesh on 24th March 2013. He had gone to Dhaka to receive the award of his father Late Professor Waris Mir, who stood for freedom of speech and enjoyed respect in literary circles and in media.
Hamid Mir had every right to accept this award, but the way he commented negatively in his column has brought disgrace to Pakistan. Anticipating the reaction, Hamid Mir wrote: “Some people lacking intelligence may dub them as traitors, yet 13 Pakistanis decided to accept the award”. It is true that some people had genuinely felt that Awami League having a clear majority in the national assembly should have been given the right to form the government. And Professor Mir was one of them. But one would not know that if Professor Waris Mir were alive, whether he would have gone to Bangladesh to receive such award.
Some writers had opposed Bangladesh government for its decision to honor friends of Bangladesh and opined that only unconscionable Pakistanis would accept such award. In December 2012, when the names of ‘Friends of Bangladesh’ were announced, Sheikh Hasina had refused to attend D-8 conference in Pakistan unless Pakistan tendered apology for, what she said, genocide of Bengalis. Mst Asma Jahangir also received award on behalf of his late father Malik Ghulam Jilani, who was Vice President West Pakistan Awami League, it was understood that he was awarded. Otherwise also people know Asma Jahangir’s views about Pakistan and its military. Salima Hashmi, who received the award on behalf of his father late Faiz Ahmed Faiz by the Bangladesh government on 24th March 2013, said: “The Pakistan government should formally apologise to the people of Bangladesh for the atrocities committed by Pakistan occupation army during the War of Independence in 1971”. This is exactly the same language that Sh. Hasina Wajid speaks.
Late Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo was posthumously given ‘Bangladesh Liberation War Honour Award’, which was received by his son Mir Hasil Bizenjo. Tahira Jalib received the award declared for Habib Jalib. Begum Tahira Mazhar Ali Khan, Ahmed Salim, Dr. Iqbal Ahmed, Sindhi poet Inwar Pirzada and Qazi Faez Isa were also given awards for opposing military operation in then East Pakistan. One should differentiate between opposing the military action in the then East Pakistan and those receiving awards for being friends of Bangladesh.
If Bangladesh government is pro-India and continues Pakistan-bashing, then those who received awards are not sincere with Pakistan. They do not feel qualms in condemning and blaming Pakistan while turning a blind against the horrors of Mukti Bahini and India’s role; hence they are not patriots. Pakistan had formed Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission to investigate into the causes of the tragedy of disintegration of Pakistan, and the excesses perpetrated in then East Pakistan, of course by the rebels and the military that was trying to quell the rebellion.
Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission Report observed that formation of One-unit, principle of parity, unitary form of government and system of basic democracies were the reasons for alienating the people of smaller provinces that led to disintegration of Pakistan. Whereas the commission criticized the then military and politicos for their ineptness, it had debunked the propaganda by India that two to three million Bengalis had been killed by the Pakistan army. The Commission had put the figure of casualties at twenty six thousand including the killings of West Pakistanis, members of Pakistan’s security personnel and Biharis that were butchered by Mukti Bahini guerillas. Anyhow, former prime minister of Bangladesh Khaleda Zia is on record having said that figure of three million dead was highly exaggerated. Many books have been written calling the genocide of Bengalis farce; however those under the influence of India or writers with anti-Pakistani streak put the figure as high as 3 million.
It has to be mentioned that people have not forgotten the genocide of non-Bengalis during the civil war and afterwards at the hands of Bengali nationalists. However, Pakistan considered the matter settled, as Sheikh Mujib had made no demand for apology during his visit to Lahore to attend Islamic Summit or even after that. But Sheikh Hasina has shown complete obedience towards Indian masters, be it humiliating Pakistan or be it providing and unwavering support to India, which has deprived Bangladesh of its right over river Barak when India unilaterally decided to build a Tipaimukh dam on this site with huge reservoir. This means that River Barak, which flows into Bangladesh from the Indian state of Manipur, will go dry completely. India is also concentrating small rivers flowing from India to Bangladesh to make a mainstream in India to use water for its domestic needs; thus depriving Bangladeshi farmers of water by diverting its rivers. There was also dispute between India and Bangladesh on the matter of fencing the border by India.
Many writers hold the view that on 16th December 1971, Pakistan was dismembered as a result of international terrorism. India was, of course, on the forefront whereby the former USSR helped India in implementing the insidious plan to disintegrate Pakistan. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s so-called friends - America and the West - acted as silent spectators. A lot many books, theses and reviews have been written on the causes of fall of Dacca and disintegration of Pakistan. It was unfortunate that in 1971 the UN and the big powers did nothing to stop India to dismember independent country with recognized international boundaries.
After the break-up of Pakistan, India declared that two-nation theory had sunk in the Bay of Bengal. But eidetic reality was that Bangladesh became an independent country with Muslim identity, and in general Bengladeshis are not willing to accept India’s hegemony. Bangladesh had also refused to send its troops to Afghanistan, which seems to be the result of the fact that Bangladeshis guard their freedom very jealously, despite Sheikh Hasina’s appeasement policy towards India