Friends of Bangladesh Award

Source:  The Nation

By S M Hali

Bangladesh is a sovereign country and has every right to award anyone of its choice for contributing to its “liberation”, whether they are Indians, Americans, Russians, French, Australian, British, Swedes, Sri Lankans, Nepalese or Bhutanese. Conferring the awards 41 years later is Bangladesh’s internal matter, but twisting historical facts to embarrass Pakistan necessitates comment.
On December 15, 2012, the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina Wajid, bestowed the “Bangladesh Liberation War Honour” upon 60 individuals and two institutions at a function at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the fourth phase under a plan undertaken by her government in 2011 to honour more than 500 nominees for their support and cooperation to the War of Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.

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2 replies

  1. There probably is some political gains for the ruling party in Bangladesh in these award and recognition drive. However, asking for a simple apology is not out of ordinary. They are not asking for financial retribution for years of mistreatment and siphoning of resources from East Pakistan.
    I understand, this is a big ego issue that both countries are dealing with. Saying ‘sorry’ is the most difficult thing to utter. However, let’s look at Japan.
    It has apologized numerous times, during the time of emperor Hirohito and Akihito. The apology did not make Japan weaker, instead it showed they have progressed in the civic sense and mature enough to learn from the past and worked hard to mend strained relations. The apology has not crushed that nation, instead they rose to become one of the largest economy post WWII.

    Some people might argue, this is purely political and Pakistan as a nation today has no responsibility in whatever happened in 1971. It is an opinion, and Pakistan is entitled to it. Bangladesh is a rising economic power in South East Asia. India is already on its way to become one of the largest economy in Asia. It would benefit Pakistan even more in the long run to build bridges instead of holding out like a rude neighbor and miss out the block party.

  2. The article; “Friends of Bangladesh’ award” by S M Hali (December 19, 2012) is one of the most sober, well documented and analytical article as to what really happened in East Pakistan – now Bangla Desh.

    Why it is so difficult for many commentators to see the events from both sides. After all, every story has two narratives. Why should only Pakistan apologize. Why not both and then move on.

    It is a fact that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is no friend of Pakistan and after forty years of increasingly good relations, she wishes to open those old wounds, which are better left in the history books.

    It would be appropriate to remember, how Indian army smashed Sikh movement for self rule by killing thousands of innocent Sikhs during the Golden Temple operation and after Indra Gandhi’s murder and how it is violently dealing with Naxalite freedom movement plus 40 other efforts to be independent from India. What about 60000 thousands Kashmiris who are slaghtered by Indian trrops. Why are not we asking the Indian army to apologise to Kashmiris and other minorities. Why only Pakistan?

    Any country would act the same way if its sovereignty were at stake. Remember Biafra war; war in Congo and in Sri Lanka. How the governments of the time crushed these rebellions. So please stop demonizing Pakistan and presenting Pakistan army as devils and Bengali mutiny as freedom struggle.
    Pakistanis have forgotten this chapter of their history and so should the Bengla Deshis too. Anything else would be foolish and useless.
    PS: I am not a military person but just an ordinary person with Pakistani roots.

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