Anti-Pakistan Posture of Hasina Wajid
For her second tenure, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and leader of the ruling party, Awami League, Sheikh Hasina Wajid won the general elections 2014 in wake of bloodshed due to her dictatorial steps. In this regard, head of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Begum Khaleda Zia who was leading the alliance of the opposition parties protested against the rigging, deliberately practised by the Awami League, was placed under virtual house arrest during the election-campaign.
Earlier, to keep her in power, Prime Minister Hasina Wajid amended the constitution for holding of elections under a non-party set up and the opposition has accused her of manipulating the electoral process to establish one party state. The opposition alliance led by Khaleda Zia did not file nominations for the polls, sticking to their stance of boycotting the elections over the failure of Hasina Wajid to form a neutral interim government. The country’s largest religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) was also banned from taking part in the elections, while to address old grievances of her party, Prime Minister Hasina who was in connivance with the judiciary, hurriedly executed her political opponent, Abdul Qadir Mullah-leader of Jl.
In fact, since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came into power, India has been employing various tactics to entrap Bangladesh by exploiting her pro-Indian tilt to fulfill its strategic interests. In this context, Prime Minister Hasina Wajid has continuously been pursuing Indian directions by conducting anti-Pakistan campaign. Therefore, after passing of 42 years to the events of 1971, which resulted into the separation of East Pakistan, Abdul Qadir was hanged because of his loyalty to Pakistan.
However, Bangladesh’s ruling party, under Sheikh Hasina Wajid maintains an anti-Pakistan posture with sinister designs of expressing animosity, antagonism and unrestrained emotional flare-up. The aim is to exploit feelings of masses by keeping the “hate Pakistan” agenda alive. This enables Awami League and Hasina Wajid to remain significant in Bangladesh’s power politics despite their failure to deliver the goods. It also helps them to appease their mentors in India. Using abusive language against Pakistan and its armed forces makes Hasina Wajid relevant in Indian politics, while she herself prefers those entities which derive sadistic pleasure by depicting Pakistan in bad light.
For the purpose, Awami League and its leader, Prime Minister Hasina are propagating against Islamabad through a well thought-out media plan in order to spread venom against Pakistan, its armed forces and all those Bangladeshi nationals who were loyal to the state during 1971 crisis. As already stated, hasty execution of death penalty to Abdul Qadir Mullah, political ban on religious parties and exclusion of BNP (opposition party) from power sharing, on jingoistic claims, clearly point at Indo-Bangladesh-Awami League blueprint which itself speaks of their deep seated animosity against Pakistan and its armed forces. Old carriage of woeful accusations and planned insinuations are re-animated to maintain emotional incrimination and revamp intriguing blame game.
In this respect, on February 4, 2014, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during her parliamentary address stated that fresh investigation will be held to find out whether Hawa Bhaban (BNP political office) or Khaleda Zia was involved in smuggling 10 truckloads of arms—and to punish those found involved. On January 30, 2014, Chittagong Court awarded capital punishment to14 persons for the offence and observed that Khalieda Zia was silent even after knowing the crime. Sheikh Hasina alleged that Bangladesh soil was being used by Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and her government would not allow anyone to use it for terrorism.
In this connection, in connivance with India, Bangladesh government and Awami League have launched a massive media campaign against ISI regarding 10-Truck Arms Haul. On February 11, 2014, “The Daily Star” published news on court verdict that intelligence officials convicted in 10-Truck Arms Haul case maintained close contacts with the US-Pakistan missions—Dubai based Pakistan Company ARY Groups and leaders of the Indian separatist group ULFA.
Besides, reviving old animosity, media of Bangladesh has also started highlighting issue of 195 Pakistan Army officers allegedly involved in killing of Bengalis in 1971War. Although they were repatriated to Pakistan after tripartite agreement between Pakistan, India and Bangladesh in 1974, yet Prime Minister Hasina Wajid intends to file cases against them at International Crime Tribunal (ICT). They contended that tripartite agreement was no bar to hold a trial. In this context, chief prosecutor, Dr Tureen Afroz said that in 1971, Pakistanis committed crime on Bangladeshi soil; hence, Bangladesh has every right to hold trial of those crimes. And ICT will also consider Hamudur Rahman Commission report.
By neglecting Islamabad’s positive approach, Bangladesh government has continued its anti-Pakistan approach to please India. It could be judged from the statement of Prime Minister Hasina Wajid who has vocally said, “Bangladesh has no room for the people loving Pakistan.”
Nevertheless Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been following pro-Indian policies. In this context, on the secret insistence of India, unlike the past years, a ceremony was held in Dhaka on March 24, 2013, with full pump and show to honour ‘Foreign Friends of Bangladesh Award,’ in relation to the separation of East Pakistan. For this aim, several foreign friends who included various institutions and media anchors from various countries, particularly India were invited. The main purpose behind was to distort the image of Pakistan and its armed forces regarding alleged atrocities, committed against the Bengalis. Notably, in December, 2012, Prime Minister Hasina had refused to attend D-8 conference in Islamabad unless Pakistan tendered apology for the alleged genocide of Bengalis.
While, a famous Bengali journalist Sarmila Bose authored a book, “Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War” after thorough investigation. Her book was published in 2011. While countering exaggerations of the Indian and Bengali Journalists, Bose argues that the number of Bengalis killed in 1971 was not three million, but around 50,000, while Bengalis were equally involved in the bloodshed of Punjabis, Biharis, Pashtoons and Balochis.
Majib was already in connivance with India for separation of East Pakistan. Therefore, when East Pakistan was occupied by Indian Army in 1971, he stated with pleasure that his 24 years old dream of an independent Bangladesh had been fulfilled. He had earlier developed his contacts with Indian rulers and training camps of Mukti Bahini, established by Indian army and RAW which also funded Mujibur Rehman’s general elections in 1970.
Nonetheless, the government of Awami League led by Hasina Wajid has been following an anti- Pakistan agenda prepared by Indian masters. Therefore, it is India which actually desires to see Bangladesh locking horns with Islamabad. In this regard, the patriot people of Bangladesh must introspectively think that who is behind the intriguing yoke.
Undoubtedly, Prime Minister Hasina Wajid acts, as if she is an Indian national. Her sole aim is to remain in power and New Delhi has assured her that she will never lose political power, if she follows a strong anti-Pakistan posture. In fact, Prime Minister Hasina has badly failed in providing good governance and relief to the poor and maintains her relevance in Bangladesh only by propagating against Pakistan and making the latter a scapegoat of her dirty politics.
In these terms, Hasina Wajid’s allegations on 10-Truck Arms Haul scandal against ISI are baseless and must be countered assertively through our own media.
Open criticism against Pakistan and ISI by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and intention of her government to launch cases against Pakistan Army officers through ICT indicate the deep rooted hatred of Awami League’s high command against Islamabad. The ruling party banks upon active support from India to implement anti-Pakistan agenda. Both Prime Minister Hasina and Awami League are pursuing a well-planned agenda, orchestrated by Indian spin masters against Islamabad. The purpose is to tarnish Pakistan’s image and damage the prestige of its armed forces.
Notably, Hasina Wajid is anti-Islam and hates her own country’s Muslim majority as much as she hates Pakistan. So, the people of Bandladesh will soon recognize her real face and she will again be rejected by her own people, as she has won the elections through rigging.
But, Pakistan’s silence over Sheikh Hasina’s anti-Pakistan policies, and to deal with the well thought-out combined plot of Dhaka, India and Awami League is regrettable. As enough is enough, there should be a limit to anti-Pakistan rhetoric of the Bangladesh’s rulers. Our continued silence on the issue of war crimes has further emboldened Hasina regime. Hence, every time, these conspirators come up with new strategy to implicate Pakistan.
So, Pakistan’s political entities and media need to counter anti-Pakistan posture of Hasina Wajid who has launched a deliberate propaganda campaign against Pakistan, its armed forces and ISI. No doubt, the real perpetrator is New Delhi which desires to see a permanent rift between Islamabad and Dhaka.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations