Dhaka

Winds of Change

When Prime Minister Imran Khan called Prime Minister Hasina Wajed
late in July, New Delhi suspected that Beijing was trying to
mediate to bring Islamabad and Dhaka closer.

By Nazarul Islam | September 2020

There are conflicts, followed by resolutions. Nations cherish friendship, then choose to become die-hard, enemies. Winds of change strike all shores, guided by the national interests of countries we live in. Nearly five decades ago, Bangladesh had bitter hostility against Pakistan. Just a few years later, these feelings of mistrust had transformed into a warm and cordial relationship, again to be shattered, thirty years later.

Fast forward 2020 — a different generation of enemies have looked at the promises and prospects of renewing bilateral ties.

A recent phone call between the prime ministers of Pakistan and Bangladesh stirred unease in New Delhi, which suspected China’s hidden hand behind the rare outreach between two Muslim countries of the subcontinent.

It was Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan who broke the ice. He called up his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina on July 22. A Bangladesh government spokesperson in Dhaka confirmed that Hasina had briefed Khan about the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing flood situation in her country, in response to queries from Imran Khan.

On the other end, Islamabad sang a different tune, with Khan’s office stating that he also briefed Hasina about Pakistan’s view about the “grave situation” in Jammu and Kashmir. Khan purportedly “stressed the importance of peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute for a safe and prosperous region”.

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The writer is a former educator and presently engaged in a program with special children in Florida. He can be reached at nazarul.isl1@gmail.com

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