Bangladesh backs Modi on Balochistan


Hasanul Haque Inu

Visiting Minister says Dhaka will soon make a policy declaration on Pakistan’s human rights abuses in the restive region

Kallol Bhattacherjee

Bangladesh on Wednesday came out in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stand on the Balochistan issue, saying Dhaka would soon make a policy declaration on Pakistan’s human rights abuses in Balochistan.

Speaking to The Hindu, Hasanul Haque Inu, the visiting Minister of Information in the Sheikh Hasina government, said Balochistan was facing the brunt of Pakistan’s military establishment, which “targeted” the Bengalis in East Pakistan in 1971 before the creation of Bangladesh.

“Pakistan has a very bad track record as far as addressing aspiration of nationalities is concerned. They learnt nothing from the defeat of 1971 and continued to practise the same policy of repression and are now targeting the Baloch nationalists,” Mr. Inu said.

“Bangladesh is constitutionally bound to support liberation struggles and we will soon declare an official policy on Balochistan,” he added.

Key meetings

His comment comparing the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 with the situation in Balochistan came a day after Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar compared East Pakistan of 1971 with “simmering Balochistan”.

Mr. Inu is scheduled to spend three days in Delhi, meeting a range of policy-makers, including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Mr. Inu, a former leader of the Mukti Bahini, the guerrilla force that fought against Pakistan during 1971 war, said Pakistan’s inability to learn from its “historic mistakes” could be explained by the fact that it failed to evolve into a working democracy due to the domination of the Pakistan military in the vital affairs of the state.

‘Pakistan exports terror’

The leader of the Jatiyo Samajtantrik Party (JSD) also said as part of the counter-terror strategy, India and Bangladesh have agreed on a “MoU on data exchange”, which will ensure pre-emptive intervention targeting terrorists.

“Bangladesh wants India to partner a joint effort to control distortion of Islam and history, which can safeguard the memory of 1971,” the minister said.

In the last few years, Dhaka has detected multiple cases where Pakistani diplomats posted in Bangladesh were found to have been involved in terror plots.

“Pakistan exports terror and Pakistan needs to be confronted about the futility of its policies that it has refused to change till now,” Mr. Inu said, sounding a note of caution that Pakistan’s tactics could impact the spirit of regional cooperation in the South Asia region and the SAARC.

Bangladesh, he said, is worried of the fallout of Pakistan’s official policies regarding nationalities and promotion of cross border violence.

Seeks explanation

“Islamabad needs to explain what it wishes to achieve by promoting cross-border terrorism in South Asia and by repressing democratic nationalities like the Baloch in its territory,” Mr. Inu said.

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