Pakistan Wants to Become Bangladesh! | 2018-09-08 |

Straight Talk

Pakistan Wants to Become Bangladesh!

Abdul Mannan

    8 September, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Pakistan Wants to Become Bangladesh!

Abdul Mannan

It was incorrigible Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan who immediately after the release of Bangabandhu Sk. Mujibur Rahman on January 8, 1971 appeared in a public meeting in Rawalpindi and using his usual rhetoric shouted to the public ‘let Bangladeshi pigs go to hell, we have nothing to do with them. We have good relationships with Muslim countries and we will strengthen it further.’ Bhutto who was one of the mastermind in conspiring not to hand over power to Bangabandhu in 1971 could never recover from the shock of losing out in Bangladesh in 1971 and did his best to take revenge of the failure of  his conspiratorial  moves in 1971. When Comrade Abdul Hoque of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist-Leninist) wrote to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1974 addressing him as ‘My President’ for money and arms to overthrow Bangabandhu, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto gave the request top most priority and delegated the responsibility of helping Hoque to one of his political colleague Mahmud Ali to provide  all assistance to Abdul Hoque to overthrow Bangabandhu’s  government (Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan, Stanley Wolpert). On 5 July 1977 Bhutto was overthrown by Pakistan’s all powerful military under the leadership of its Chief, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and subsequently hanged. Since the birth of Pakistan in 1947 the country never had a chance of practising democracy and who comes to power, for how long he stays are things which are always decided by the evil axis of Pakistan’s military-bureaucracy and the judiciary combine. In Pakistan none of its previous fifteen Prime Ministers since its birth could complete its full term and only one government could last for its full five year term (Asif Ali Zardari, 2008-13). Its first Prime Minster Liaquat Ali Khan was shot in a public meeting in Rawalpindi.  In Pakistan the most organised political party is its armed forces and within the armed forces the infamous military intelligence, the ISI acts as a supra political force. Pakistan demised as a politically viable country when it’s second Governor General Muhammad; a former ICS officer dissolved its first constituent assembly in 1954 in connivance with the Pakistan Military. When the dissolution was challenged in the apex court of the country by the speaker of the house Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan (from Faridpur), Chief Justice Munir upheld the dissolution by invoking the Latin Maxim ‘doctrine of necessity’ (anything wrong is considered right, if done for the benefit of the state).’ Since then in Pakistan democracy never had a chance and the common people became redundant to the evil military-bureaucracy-judiciary axis. The rot of Pakistan continues since then.

In 1958 General Muhammad Ayub Khan seized power and ruled Pakistan for next one decade till he was thrown out by a mass movement of students in 1969. The movement was spearheaded by the students of East Bengal. Sardar Sherbaz Khan Mazari, a scion of a leading Baloch Chief’s family, and an illustrious politician in the early days of Pakistan wrote in his memoir   ‘A Journey to Disillusionment’ ‘from the onset Ayub Khan viewed politicians with contempt, and willingly entered into an alliance with the civil bureaucracy based upon mutual convenience.’ He believed in ‘superior abilities’ of the military and their apparent right to overthrow an elected government and rule in its place. He writes ‘with the politicians being pushed into the background by rule of bureaucracy under Ghulam Muhammad, the country was subjected to new levels of political chicanery and degeneracy. Political infighting and intrigue continued to dominate the western provinces (the then West Pakistan) while Bengal fulminated vociferously against what it believed was an attempt by the Centre to subordinate its majority population to the will of West Pakistan.’ Much later one of his junior officers General Ziaur Rahman in Bangladesh followed his footsteps and seized power after the brutal killing of Bangabandhu in 1975 and announced he will ‘make politics difficult for politicians’. It was he who began the culture of horse trading in politics of Bangladesh to be continued by his successor General Ershad after his assassination in 1981. The culture would have continued till now if Ershad was not swept out of power in 1990 again through a mass movement led by the students of Bangladesh. And since then the rule of the country by the elected representative continued, though at times it faltered, mostly with the support of a section of evil and self seeking civil society. However the legacy of the rule of the country by the military-bureaucracy-judiciary still continues in Pakistan and it has taken Pakistan to the brink of becoming a collapsed state.

Pakistan’s celebrated cricket captain and Chairman of the Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaf party Imran Khan Niazi, the nephew of the surrendering Pakistani General Aamir Abdullah Khan Niazi in Dhaka on 16 December 1971, to the joint force of the Mukti Bahini and Indian forces took over as the 16th Prime Minister of the country on August 18, 2018. It is widely believed that to make him the Prime Minster Pakistan’s military and the judiciary with help of the bureaucracy in that country first had to unseat the Nawaz Sharif led PML-N government, declare Nawaz incompetent to contest in the election or become  the Chairman of his party. In Pakistan politics is like a musical chair and it is very difficult to predict who will become the next head of the government as a protégé of the military. It was Imran Khan this time. Imran, besides being a successful cricketer, is widely known as a flamboyant character. After his retirement as a cricketer in 1992 he spent next few years in comfort and luxury of his wealth, and married three times since then. He confessed to Reham Khan that he fathered five children in India out of extra-marital affairs. In 1996 he floated his political party, Pakistan Tehriq-e Insaf (PTI) with some rag-tag politicians. Imran Khan knew very well that in the country where politics always swims in murky waters it will not be possible to make any dent in the existing system or do well in election. So he allied his party with the Taliban, Jamaat-e-Islam, and few other militant organisations. In 1993 his party formed a minority government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (former NWFP).


Imran Khan, as a cricketer loves to play to the gallery and immediately after taking oath declared that he will turn the luxurious Prime Minister’s official residence into an educational institution, sell all the official bullet proof cars and forbid officials travelling by air in first class. Only tea will be served in official meetings. He even moved to the three room apartment of his military secretary. His economic policy is total austerity measures in the government he declared.  Pakistan currently has a foreign debt of 92 billion dollars as against 29 billion dollars of Bangladesh.  People in Pakistan and even in Bangladesh who still do not hesitate to show their love for Pakistan hailed Imran Khan’s decision of all these ‘austerity measures’ and went even further saying that the messiah have finally arrived in Pakistan in the form of Imran Khan. Some went a bit further saying that he is the new incarnation of Khalifa Omar. Some termed him as Kemal Ataturk of Pakistan. After his hullabaloo died down Imran Khan announced that from now on he will travel to his office in helicopter every day. This will save his time and money. His office is eight nautical miles away and both ways the distance he will have to cover is sixteen nautical miles every day. The analyst have calculated cost of travelling by helicopter per nautical miles is about BDT 11,000 and everyday is one lakh seventy six BDT. So much for Imran Khan’s austerity measures!

In the first cabinet meeting of the new government held on 20 August Imran Khan declared that his government will follow the Swedish model of development for the economically beleaguered country. In the evening talk shows of private TV channels the analyst came down heavily on Imran Khan’s idea of Swedish development model for Pakistan. One of the talk show aired by Capital TV went viral in Bangladesh where three eminent development experts and senior journalists came down heavily on Imran Khan’s idea and very clearly told the audience ‘forget Sweden first show that Pakistan can catch up with the development of Bangladesh, the part of Pakistan that we wrote off in 1971’. One of the discussants was Zaigham Khan, currently the Executive Director of the Civic Action Resources and communication and development expert. He formerly worked for USAID, IUCN and DFID. He writes on development economics and is a good researcher. Zaigham said ‘forget Sweden I will be happy if Pakistan can come closer to Bangladesh in terms of development. Look where is Bangladesh today and where is Pakistan in terms of development’. Zaigham said in loud voice ‘Bangladesh exports goods and services worth forty billion dollars against twenty three billion dollars of Pakistan. Dhaka Stock Exchange’s total yearly transaction is three hundred billion dollars against Pakistan’s one hundred billion dollars. Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserve is 34 billion dollars against seventeen billion dollars of Pakistan.’ Zaigam also said ‘if Pakistan can catch up with Bangladesh within ten to twelve years we will be happy but with Bangladesh’s growth rate over seven per cent it is a tall order as Pakistan is struggling to keep its growth rate at 2.4 per cent. To catch up with Bangladesh it has to grow at the rate of 10 to 12 per cent.  Bangladesh has maintained its population growth rate at 1.1 per cent whereas Pakistan could never come below 2.4 per cent.’ He lamented once Bangladesh and Pakistan was one county and we allowed them to become an independent country.  Zaigham said for development of the economy of a country one needs to have a good visionary leadership which Pakistan lacks whereas Bangladesh’s current leadership have transformed the country beyond recognition. In ten years time it will go still further at this pace.’ The other two participants agreed with Zaigham and said no Swedish model will salvage Pakistan from the current economic quagmire. This is same Bangladesh about which Pakistan’s military dictator General Yahiya Khan said on 11 February 1971, before the break out of our Liberation War,  ‘Kill three million of them (Bangalees), and the rest will eat out of our hands.’ Today Bangladesh have become self-reliant in food production. At the height of our Liberation War the military governor of the then East Pakistan General Tikka Khan said ‘kill all of them we just need the ground, not the people.’

Tarique  Fatah an eminent Pakistan born  commentator (born 1969 in Karachi), journalist and writer  who lives in Toronto in a recent TV interview echoed the voice of Zaigham Khan and said ‘the Muslim world currently have only one leader with vision and that is Sk. Hasina of Bangladesh (according to him Hasina Sk.). She had the courage of trying the perpetrators of 1971 who committed crimes against humanity and execute them. The Muslim world needs more of Sk. Hasina.’

My commentary is not to compare the development of Bangladesh with Pakistan but to share the views of saner section of the very country that tried to annihilate Bangladesh in 1971. During the war Pakistani generals and soldiers would boast how many innocent civilians they killed during the day and how many women they raped. History is sometimes very ruthless and does not hesitate to point out the truth even after lapse of half or one century. Irrespective of political affiliation one has to acknowledge the fact that the change that has taken place during last ten years under the leadership of Sk. Hasina in not only enviable but also have become role model for other developing countries. The pace has to continue. The people must decide where the country’s and their own benefit lie.


The writer is an analyst and a commentator