Monday, 5 June, 2023

‘Friendship to all, malice towards none’

The foreign policy adopted by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman under the theme of “Friendship to all, malice to none” is still the cornerstone of Bangladesh foreign policy. This amicable policy of Bangabandhu helped Bangladesh make many friends in the international arena and enter various international platforms. The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also managed to excel in the complex global affairs by maintaining a delicate balance in foreign relations in the light of Bangabandhu’s policy of friendliness. As a result, even today Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina can proudly say that Bangladesh has close bilateral ties with every country, but is not dependent on any.

However, with the elections coming closer, a section of foreign diplomats are seen peddling wisdom about democracy and upcoming elections to our political parties, with a subtle threat of  consequence in case of non-compliance. Foreign interference has historically figured in the domestic affairs of many countries and Bangladesh is not an exception. But this time around things are likely to be different since Bangladesh is no longer the minnow in terms of its economic and political strength. The people of Bangladesh neither want to see foreign interference in internal affairs nor accept the so-called foreign masters’ every whim.

In this light we highly appreciate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s declaration of not bowing down to any foreign pressure. Bangladesh is a modern polity with rule of law and a fair constitution. So, how the elections will be held is clearly mentioned in the constitution. There is no scope for the government to budge in the face of foreign pressure or political movement.

Apart from political affairs, foreigners are also poking their noses in Bangladesh’s internal affairs so that a certain noble laureate gets special privilege. It was clear from a recently published advertisement in the Washington Post. The premier also spoke about receiving many calls from international quarters regarding the matter. But she made it clear that there are relevant courts as well as the Anti Corruption Commission and the department of taxation to look into the affairs, and she will not interfere. It takes guts to stay firm in following due course of law in the face of undue pressure from powerful international quarters, and we applaud PM Sheikh Hasina for showing her courage and determination in this regard.