Well done, Captain!
The relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh are thawing.
There is so much in common between both nations and there is no
reason why they should keep wearing the same pair of pants.
Silence is dangerous – especially between brothers and that is so true in the context of Pakistan-Bangladesh relations. Prime Minister Imran Khan, though five years younger to his counterpart in Bangladesh, played the role of a big brother and took a bold initiative in breaking the ice. In what was his first telephone conversation with Hasina Wajed, he said: “Pakistan is committed to deepening fraternal relations with Bangladesh on the basis of mutual trust, mutual respect and sovereign equality.”
A lot of people failed at what he accomplished, simply because they were busy finding problems while Imran were busy finding solutions. Well done, captain!
No doubt, the events of 1971 are the most painful chapter in the two countries’ common history but now is the time to let bygones be bygones; let past differences be forgotten and a dialogue renewed to discover the common interests of both countries. They should start speaking frankly and directly – not through a third party -- and offer concessions to each other where they can. Pakistani textile firms are already establishing production units in Bangladesh owing to availability of better infrastructure, cheaper utility prices and attractive tax incentives.
Though Pakistan has been quietly making efforts to mend fences with Bangladesh for quite some time, the window of opportunity to seek rapprochement was opened when Imran Ahmed Siddiqui assumed the office of Pakistan High Commissioner in Bangladesh in February this year and called on Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen to break the ice. After the meeting, he said, “Both sides agreed to promote bilateral relations with a forward-looking approach.” Indeed an exceptionally good diplomatic move from the Pakistan foreign office. Earlier, Dhaka had been refusing to accept Islamabad’s envoy following allegations of Pakistan’s diplomatic mission being misused to perpetrate ISI activities against Dhaka and Delhi.