Tag Archives: Bangladesh

Indian author Sudheendra Kulkarni calls for India-Pakistan-Bangladesh confederation to resolve issues

Indian author moots confederation to settle Kashmir issue

NEW DELHI: Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday released a book that calls for a confederation of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh but without undoing the partition as the only way to address poverty and resolve the Kashmir dispute.

“Regional cooperation with a focus on human security problems, on movement of people and on trade without unreasonable restrictions” was the need of the hour, Mr Ansari said at a function in Mumbai, apparently agreeing with the book’s argument.

“The common traits in cultural traditions and historical narratives need to be transmitted to younger generation through conscious promotion rather than prevention of cultural exchanges, films, and other cultural activities,” Mr Ansari said in his appeal to the governments and civil societies in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Mr Ansari made these comments while releasing August Voices, a new book by Indian peace activist Sudheendra Kulkarni, which calls for an India-Pakistan-Bangladesh confederation.

“Common action is easier on areas of convergence than of divergence,” Mr Ansari said. For convergence, there is a need to move “beyond the traditional paradigm of conventional security into those of human security and human wrong. Both are ignored by the governments and societies in our region. There is a crying need for the recognition and implementation of both. Only then would we develop the perception and capacity for correctives.”

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1305116/indian-author-moots-confederation-to-settle-kashmir-issue?preview

Take 100 MWs of power, give 10 Gbps Internet speed: India-Bangladesh deal

India will supply 100 megawatt of electricity to Bangladesh in return for 10 Gigabits per second Internet bandwidth.

By:  PTI | Agartala/new Delhi

Opening a new chapter in bilateral relations, India on Wednesday began supplying electricity to Bangladesh in return for Internet bandwidth that will help connect its North Eastern states, a move that Prime Minister Narendra Modi described as historic.

India will supply 100 megawatt of electricity in return for 10 Gigabits per second Internet bandwidth.

Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina launched the twin links through video conference.

“In my opinion this is an historic occasion,” Modi said as he nudged Dhaka to join the space cooperation with India.

India, he said, is marching shoulder-to-shoulder with Bangladesh in its progress and today is the opening of a new chapter, he said.

Read more » The Indian Express
See more » http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/take-100-mws-of-power-give-10-gbps-internet-speed-indo-bangla-new-deal/

Escaping the Shadow of Pakistan

The current diplomatic row between Bangladesh and Pakistan is about more than opening old wounds from 45 years ago – it is about the threat to pluralistic democracy in South Asia posed by Pakistan’s security policies.

BY SETH OLDMIXON

 

Pakistan’s dysfunctional relationship with India and its symbiotic relationship with the Afghan Taliban often overshadow the country’s troubled relations with other regional neighbors. Iran has long complained about militants carrying out cross-border attacks from Balochistan, and even Pakistan’s “all weather friend” China has blamed it for Islamist terrorist attacks in Xinjiang province. Recently, though, tension has risen to dangerous levels with another South Asian country: Bangladesh.

Read more » Foreign Policy
See more » https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/10/escaping-the-shadow-of-pakistan/

Pakistan expels senior Bangladesh diplomat as ‘spy’ row escalates

BY AFP | MATEEN HAIDER

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has asked Bangladesh to withdraw one of its diplomats from Islamabad, Dhaka said Wednesday, in an apparent retaliation after the expulsion of a Pakistani envoy who allegedly funded a suspected extremist on trial for espionage.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said Islamabad had on Tuesday asked Dhaka to recall senior diplomat Moushumi Rahman from its high commission in Islamabad within 48 hours.

“The political counsellor and head of chancery in Islamabad has been given till Thursday to leave the country,” Haque told AFP.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1231165/

Is Pakistan supporting Bangladeshi Islamists?

Bangladeshi authorities have arrested seven suspected militants with links to an Islamist group. The move comes a day after Pakistan recalled its diplomat from Dhaka over her alleged links with the same banned outfit.

The police raided an apartment in Mirpur, a district in the capital Dhaka, and arrested seven suspected members of the banned Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB) organization. They also seized 16 home-made bombs, suicide vests and explosive material, which the authorities said could be used in planned attacks over the New Year period.

The suspects exploded bombs as police began their raid. No injuries were reported. Officials cordoned off the building and evacuated the residents.

Police officer Monirul Islam said at least three “important figures” of the JMB had been arrested.

The JMB was founded in 1998 by Shaikh Abdur Rahman, a religious preacher educated in Saudi Arabia. The group campaigns for the imposition of the Shariah Law in Bangladesh. Despite being banned by the government, the JMB members are trying to regroup and launch clandestine operations.

In 2007, Bangladeshi authorities executed six JMB leaders for killing two judges and masterminding a series of bombings across the country in 2005 that killed some 30 people. The militant organization has also been involved in targeting foreigners. On October 3, it shot dead a Japanese farmer in northern Bangladesh.

The Thursday raid followed information from a detained member of the Islamist group.

Terror link row

The raid comes just days after a suspected JMB member, Idris Sheikh, told a court in Dhaka that he had ties with a female Pakistani diplomat, whose name was quoted by local media as Farina Arshad. Shiekh told police detectives that he had received financial assistance from Arshad for his espionage trial.

Read more » DW
See more » http://www.dw.com/en/is-pakistan-supporting-bangladeshi-islamists/a-18941388?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

Dhaka summons Pakistani envoy, lodges protest over FO statement

BY AGENCIES | MATEEN HAIDER

ISLAMABAD: Bilateral relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh received another blow when Bangladeshi government summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner Shuja Alam and lodged strong protest over the statement made by Foreign Office, terming it an interference into internal matters of Bangladesh.

Alam was summoned at the Bangladeshi foreign ministry in Dhaka on Monday to register protest against the statement issued by Islamabad over the executions of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader and Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general — who were both charged with 1971 war crimes.

“Yes, High Commissioner Shuja Alam was called at the foreign ministry,” an official at Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka told Dawn.com via phone.

Read: Pakistan deeply disturbed by Bangladesh executions: FO

The official further said that Alam was conveyed displeasure of the Bangladeshi government by acting foreign secretary Meezan-ur-Rehman who said executions in connection with 1971 is the internal matter of Bangladesh.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1221715

Paksitan women cricket team win T20 series against Bangladesh by 2-0

KARACHI (Staff Report) – Pakistan women cricket team on Thursday defeated Bangladesh by 34 runs in the second T20 match at Southend Club ground in Karachi.

The cricket team has also won the two match T20 series by 2-0.

While chasing Pakistan’s 115-run target, the Bangladesh team could only score only 80 runs for seven wickets in the given 20 overs. Rumana Ahmed remained the top scorer who scored 27 runs.

Pakistan’s Sumaiya Siddiqi and Nida Dar grabbed two wickets each for the green-shirts.

Earlier while batting first Pakistan team scored 114 runs when Bisma Maroof and Marina Iqbal contributed 44 and 33 runs respectively.

Bangladesh’s Nahida Akter picked two wickets, while Salma Khatun and Lata Mondal each dismissed one Pakistani player.

Earlier Pakistan team had won the first T20 by 29 runs on Wednesday.

The visiting Bangladeshi women team will play first ODI on October 4 followed by the second ODI on Oct 6.

News courtesy » Daily Pakistan
Read more » http://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/sports/paksitan-women-cricket-team-win-t20-series-against-bangladesh-by-2-0

More details » BBC urdu
See more » http://www.bbc.com/urdu/multimedia/2015/10/151001_pak_bangla_women_t_20_pics_zz#
Read more in urdu » http://www.bbc.com/urdu/sport/2015/10/151001_women_twenty_match_hk

Borderlands – India’s Great Wall

ALL NATIONAL BORDERS ARE IMAGINARY. But some are more imaginary than others. And perhaps some nations are more imaginative too. Somewhere in the labyrinths of the New Delhi bureaucracy, tucked within the recesses of the Ministry of Home Affairs, is a bureau called the Department of Border Management. The DBM, sometimes with just the flourish of an ink pen, conjures the sinuous, unsteady line that separates the triangle of the subcontinent from the mass of Asia. India’s shortest border, according to the department, is its ninety-nine mile border with Afghanistan. This one is especially imaginary, since it’s been in Pakistani hands for the past seventy years. India’s longest border is the 2,545 mile line that encircles Bangladesh. This one is being drawn right now, with steel and electric light.

Travel along the border districts of the east and you will see it unfurling slowly through the simmering green farmlands of Bengal, turning the territory into a map at last. It is an improbable structure: a double fence, eight feet high, consisting of two parallel rows of black columns made of sturdy angle iron and topped with overhanging beams. The two rows of columns are draped in a tapestry of barbed wire, with spools of concertina wire sandwiched between them.
This imposing national installation is still a work in progress. It has been under construction since 1989; 1700 miles have now been erected, at a cost of approximately $600 million. There have been many delays and cost overruns, but when it is complete it will render precisely 2042 miles of the invisible border an impenetrable barrier, a gigantic machine for processing bodies—designed, in the words of the DBM, to prevent “illegal immigration and other anti-national activities from across the border.”

Whether this is an appropriate or proportionate response to India’s perceived problem with its smaller neighbor is less certain. The issue of Bangladeshi migration into India has become part of the background chatter of Indian political discourse in the quarter century since work began on the fence, though in times of political turmoil it has been amplified into obtrusive static. Both the partition of India in 1947 and the 1971 war that led to Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan occasioned a massive influx of refugees into India. But migrants of these generations are now generally accepted as naturalized Indians. While the number of subsequent migrants is presumed to be significant, the figures most commonly cited are wildly divergent and unverifiable. In 2000 the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina famously asserted there were no illegal Bangladeshi migrants in India at all, while three years later India’s Intelligence Bureau pegged the figure at 16 million. The Indian press routinely cites more sensational figures, which expand impressively each year. The unlikely sum of 60 million was a popular estimate a couple of years ago.

Just last year, during his election campaign tour of Bengal, Narendra Modi promised to send all illegal migrants “back to Bangladesh”—although, he reassured his audience, those who worshipped the Hindu goddess Durga would be “welcomed as sons of Mother India.” Nobody knows, of course, what proportion of the unknown number of Bangladeshi migrants are Hindu. Like all the other numbers, it is likely to be impressive. But it seems doubtful that the extravagant net that India is casting around Bangladesh will be up to the task of sieving Muslims from Hindus.

Continue reading Borderlands – India’s Great Wall

Former girlfriend ‘forgives’ Bangladesh hero Rubel in rape case

By AFP

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi actress who filed a rape case against cricket star Rubel Hossain said Tuesday she was withdrawing the charges against the fast bowler, a day after his match-winning heroics at the World Cup.

Naznin Akter Happy, 19, made the rape allegation earlier this year after claiming 25-year-old Rubel had reneged on a promise of marriage that he made while they were having an “intimate affair”.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1168651/

India’s ‘other’ war: Jihadi paranoia and ethnic militancy

By Nilim Dutta

The December 23 carnage

It was between 17:00 and 17:50 hours when a series of calls came. It was Dec 23, 2014 and I was in Guwahati, Assam that evening where I was born and have grown up.

“Sir, our people have been killed in an attack in at least two villages in Ultapani area. Their homes have been burnt down.”

“Sir, all our people have been killed. All of them.”

I asked, “Calm down. Where has this happened?”

“Sir, in Sonajuli in Pabhoi area. Sir, Phulbari 9 & 10.”

I immediately communicated it to the top echelons of the security establishment whose responsibility it is to respond to such terror attacks. The calls, however, kept pouring in.

“Sir, another attack in Serfanguri. Our people have been killed there too.”

In another hour, it became apparent to me from the steady stream of direct information from the places of occurrence that casualties would exceed 50 and many would be children. India’s national media was still oblivious.

For the next 48 hours, I would have little time to sleep or even eat as not only did I continue to manage a steady stream of ‘critical’ information directly from the ground to help deal with the aftermath, but also responded to numerous calls from terrified villagers across a 300-km stretch of remote border villages, reassuring them or aiding them in any way possible.

One of the worst terror strikes in India in this decade thus took place on Dec 23, 2014 in the North Eastern state of Assam. In a coordinated, near-simultaneous attack on five locations, the farthest of which were at least 300-km apart, terrorists brutally gunned down 81 unarmed civilians belonging to the Adivasi community.

While India’s security establishment was preoccupied with creating an alarm about possible terrorist strikes from the Islamic State, Al Qaeda or even Pakistan’s ‘good terrorists’ the Lashkar-e-Taiba in the past few months, this terror attack embarrassingly didn’t come from any Islamic Jihadi groups. The carnage was perpetrated by India’s own ‘good terrorists’ who had been treated with kid gloves for decades in spite of being responsible for some of the worst terror attacks India has suffered in the last three decades.

The manufactured paranoia of ‘Jihadi’ terror

It was in July 2014 that an important minister of Prime Minister Modi’s cabinet and a very senior bureaucrat in India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) were both honoured guests to ‘launch’ a monthly magazine in New Delhi’s Press Club of India. No national newspaper appears to have carried this as news and it would have even escaped our attention had it not been for the ‘cover feature’ of the first issue of the magazine: “Al Qaeda begins hiring in North East”.

The ‘cover feature’ went on to claim that it was in possession of a highly classified intelligence report that recruiters from Al Qaeda were targeting Muslim youth from Manipur and Assam, two of India’s North Eastern states, to join the global Islamic terror network. It claimed that in the first batch, Al Qaeda had recruited 17 Muslim youth from Manipur to join the global jihadi network and fight in India, Syria and Iraq. In the second batch, the magazine claimed, 10 Muslim youth from Manipur were recruited.

What made the report believable to even an informed reader was that it carried the names of the 17 Manipuri Muslim youth from Lilong in Thoubal district in Manipur who had reportedly joined Al Qaeda.

What naturally aroused my curiosity was how did a nondescript magazine come into possession of such a ‘highly classified intelligence report’? Why did an important member of Modi’s cabinet as well as a very senior bureaucrat in charge of ‘internal security’ in India’s North East happen to launch this magazine?

Events took an even more curious turn when people in Lilong, from where Al Qaeda had reportedly recruited the Muslim youth, broke out in protest and burned copies of the magazine. When threat of appropriate legal action was conveyed to the magazine, the publisher and the editor hastily apologised and conveyed that they may have got the names wrong and that they had only published the names based on an intelligence report. They also categorically clarified that they had no intention of casting aspersions on the people of Lilong, particularly its Muslim community.

Months later, many so called ‘experts’ would cite this dubious report as ‘proof’ of how Al Qaeda has already made inroads into India’s North East, among them the Director of the South Asia Programme of the Washington DC based ‘Middle East Media Research Institute’ or MEMRI in a piece he had written for The New Indian Express.

The fear regarding India’s North East, particularly Manipur or Assam, becoming the hotbed for recruitment by Al Qaeda and sundry jihadi group’s intensified after Al Qaeda released a video early in September 2014 where Ayman Al-Zawahiri announced the formation of ‘Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent’ and mentioned that it “would be good news for Muslims in Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh and in the Indian states of Assam, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, where they would be rescued from injustice and oppression.”

With a Hindutva Right government in power at the Centre, this was all that was needed to now ratchet up the fear of ‘jihadi terrorism’ targeting India even though any such threat had not increased radically by any standards of objective professional assessment.

Imagine offering ‘general amnesty’ to the terrorists who carried out the Mumbai suburban train blasts on July 11, 2006. Imagine giving those terrorists an ‘autonomous council’ to rule as reward.

Exactly a month later, on Oct 2, 2014, in a nondescript town called Burdwan in Assam’s neighbouring state of West Bengal, a bomb went off in a house killing the bomb makers. India’s premier terror investigating agency, National Investigation Agency (NIA) soon took over the case and revealed that the suspects, including the deceased, were active members of Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Some of them were allegedly Bangladeshis living illegally in India.

Continue reading India’s ‘other’ war: Jihadi paranoia and ethnic militancy

Pakistani diplomat expelled from Dhaka

By Mateen Haider

ISLAMABAD: In a fresh diplomatic row between Pakistan and Bangladesh, a Pakistani High Commission official based in Dhaka was declared persona non grata by the Bangladeshi government and was asked to leave the country.

“Diplomatic official Mazhar Khan was charged by Bangladesh’s foreign ministry of running an illegal Indian currency business in Dhaka beside alleged links with militants,” a diplomatic source told Dawn.com.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasneem Aslam also confirmed the incident and said the official has reached Islamabad.

Read more » DAWN
Learn more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1161488

Pakistan’s women cricket team storm Asian Games, win first Gold medal for the country

by Asfia Afzal

Pakistan’s women cricket team fought their way to victory in the final of the Asian Games women twenty 20 cricket tournament beating Bangladesh by 59 runs.

The women’s team outclassed defending champion China with a nine-wicket win in the semi final of Asian Games 2014 played at Yeonhui Cricket Ground, in Inheon on Thursday.

With the victory the team was through to the final of the Incheon Asian Games to face Bangladesh, where they successfully won the first gold medal for the Pakistani nation in the Asian games.

Bangladesh’s team played their best in the semis and defeated the Sri Lankan Women side by 25 runs in the second semi-final to seal their spot in the finals but Pakistan’s team stole their win in finals with 97 runs against Bangladesh’s 38 runs.

Read more » Business Recorder
http://www.brecorder.com/sports/cricket/197250-pakistan%E2%80%99s-women-cricket-team-storm-asian-games-win-first-gold-medal-for-the-country.html

Pakistan’s State of Denial

By TAHMIMA ANAM

DHAKA, Bangladesh — It was a Pakistani journalist, Anthony Mascarenhas, who gave the world the first detailed account of Bangladesh’s war of independence. In April 1971, soon after the army of Pakistan started suppressing the secessionist movement in what was then still the eastern part of the country, it invited Mr. Mascarenhas to report on the conflict, believing he would buttress the false propaganda of a just war. Mr. Mascarenhas promptly moved his family, and then himself, to Britain knowing that soon he would no longer be able to live in Pakistan.

Continue reading Pakistan’s State of Denial

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has condemned Pakistan for its reaction to the execution of war criminal Quader Mollah.

PM condemns Pak NA resolution

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this evening strongly condemned Pakistan for its reaction to the execution of war criminal Quader Mollah.

“By passing the resolution at national assembly, Pakistan has proved that it never accepted the victory of Bangladesh in the Liberation War of 1971, and they still have allies in Bangladesh

Read more » The Bangladesh Chronicle
http://www.bangladeshchronicle.net/index.php/2013/12/pm-condemns-pak-na-resolution/

GENOCIDE: The June 1971 Sunday Times essay by Tony Mascarenhas about mass murders in Bangladesh that woke up the world

By Anthony Mascarenhas, The Sunday Times

June 13, 1971 – ABDUL BARI had run out of luck.  Like thousands of other people in East Bengal, he had made the mistake the fatal mistake-of running within sight of a […] army patrol. He was 24 years old, a slight man surrounded by soldiers. He was trembling, because he was about to be shot.

“Normally we would have killed him as he ran,” I was informed chattily by Major Rathore, the G-2 Ops. of the 9th Division, as we stood on the out­skirts of a tiny village near Mudafarganj, about 20 miles south of Comilla. “But we are checking him out for your sake. You are new here and I see you have a squeamish stomach.”

“Why kill him?” I asked with mounting concern.

“Because he might be a Hindu or he might be a rebel, perhaps a student or an Awami Leaguer. They know we are sorting them out and they betray themselves by running.”

“But why are you killing them? And why pick on the Hindus?” I persisted.

“Must I remind you,” Rathore said severely, “how they have tried to des­troy Pakistan? Now under the cover of the fighting we have an excellent oppor­tunity of finishing them off.”

Read more » http://planthealth.org/article/genocide-june-1971-sunday-times-essay-tony-mascarenhas-about-pakistan%E2%80%99s-mass-murders

Via – Facebook

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More » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/mobile/world/2013/12/131212_mullah_hanged_fz.shtml

Bangladesh hangs Islamist leader for war crimes

Bangladesh executes Islamist leader for 1971 war crimes, deadly clashes erupt on streets

DHAKA: Bangladesh executed Islamist opposition leader Abdul Quader Mollah on Thursday for war crimes he committed in 1971, in a move likely to spark more violent protests less than a month before elections are due to be held.

Mollah was hanged at Dhaka Central Jail after a dramatic week. He won a reprieve on Tuesday hours before he was to be sent to the gallows. After two days of legal argument, the supreme court rejected his application for a review of the death penalty.

Hundreds of people in the centre of the capital Dhaka cheered and punched the air in celebration, underlining how Mollah’s case has divided opinion in the impoverished South Asian nation of 160 million. “Justice has been served, though we had to wait for 42 years,” said university student Afzal Hossain.

Read more » THE TIMES OF INDIA
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Bangladesh-executes-Islamist-leader-for-1971-war-crimes-deadly-clashes-erupt-on-streets/articleshow/27250280.cms

What about a Confederation between India and Pakistan!

How about Confederation!

By Saeed Qureshi

How about a loose confederation between Pakistan, India and Bangladesh? This confederation should be based upon the geographical contiguity and a common culture. For the State of Pakistan that is apprehensively heading towards the precipice of a failed status, this is the best way-out to preserve its territorial integrity and separate identity. The sentimentality dripped slogans of Pakistan ideology and two nation theory do not seem to be relevant any more. The ideology of Pakistan primarily a religio- national sentiment has been blunted by surging and strident provincialism. The Pakistani nationalism is confined to only two cities of Lahore and Karachi. In recent times, the inhabitants of other places and provinces mostly prefer to project and identify themselves with their provincial suffixes or prefixes. Urdu, the Pakistan’s national language too has not been able to bring about national unity in Pakistan. People like to converse in their local dialects and are under the impression that Urdu was the immigrants’ language.

Continue reading What about a Confederation between India and Pakistan!

Bangladesh: 10 jihadis to hang for assisting in a suicide bombing that killed 8 people

Ten Bangladesh militants are condemned to death

A court in Bangladesh has sentenced 10 Islamist militants to death for assisting a suicide bombing in 2005 which killed eight people near a courthouse in the town of Gazipur. Police at the time described it as the country’s first suicide bombing.

The condemned men, all members of the banned JMB militant group, showed no remorse after a judge sentenced them in a crowded Dhaka courtroom.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22983209

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina tells opposition leader Khalida Zia: “Go to your ‘Pyara Pakistan”

Go to Pakistan

PM tells Khaleda, accuses her of instigating army

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday accused the leader of the opposition of instigating the army to take over power unconstitutionally, sensing her defeat in the next election.

“Begum Zia could understand it very well that people of the country would not give vote to a corrupt party like BNP, and for her movement to protect the war criminals,” she said.

She (Khaleda Zia) must know that the situation of 1975 and 2013 are not the same, Hasina told a discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital.

The premier said the BNP leader still believes in grabbing power by climbing on the shoulder of the army as she has no faith in democracy and public support.

Mentioning that the real face of the BNP leader has now got exposed before people, Hasina said “Go to your (Khaleda’s) ‘Pyara Pakistan’, you’ll feel good there,” reports UNB.

Continue reading Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina tells opposition leader Khalida Zia: “Go to your ‘Pyara Pakistan”

SINDH – Class struggle vs national movement

By Khalique Junejo

Ideologically as well as strategically, the socialist movement and the struggles for national independence are considered to be natural allies against imperialism

Daily Times of March 3, 2013 carried an article “Bangladesh: past haunts the future” written by Lal Khan. The writer while discussing the current situation of Bangladesh arising out of the court verdicts against Jamaat-e-Islami leaders for war crimes of 1971, brings to the fore the old (though not obsolete) debate over the class question and nationalist movements, particularly in Pakistan. He links the roots of the current agitation with the bourgeois character and capitalist connections of the nationalist movement of Bengalis, particularly its leader Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and concludes that “the real motive of these trials at this stage is to subvert the rising wave of a renewed class struggle.”

The article needs serious discussion. First we analyse the subject matter from a historical perspective and then apply it to the political progress of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The terms capitalism, secularism, nationalism and class struggle referred to in the article are the product of (Western) Europe. So let us have a look at the matter from that angle.

One thousand years (fifth to 15th century) of Europe’s history are described as the ‘Dark Ages’. During this period European society was dominated by three factors: feudalism, religion (Church) and the kingdoms established through military power. During the Renaissance these factors were challenged, and later on replaced, by three other facts, i.e. capitalism, secularism and nationalism (nation states). These factors put Europe on the path of progress that made it the leader of the world. This shows that capitalism accompanied by secularism and nationalism is a progressive phenomenon in comparison to the feudalism-dominated society and an unavoidable stage in the progress of human society.

Continue reading SINDH – Class struggle vs national movement

Pakistan: Where the Population Bomb is Exploding

by Wendell Cox

In much the developed, as well as developing world, population growth is slowing. Not so in Pakistan according to reported preliminary results of the 2011 Pakistan census. Here population is growing much faster than had been projected. Pakistan’s population stood at 197.4 million in 2011, an increase of 62.7 million from the last census in 1998 (Note 1). The new population is 20 million more than had been forecast in United Nations documents. Some of the additional growth is due to refugees fleeing Afghanistan, but this would not be enough to account for the majority of the under-projection error.

Pakistan: Moving Up the League Tables

As a result, Pakistan has passed Brazil and become the world’s 5th most populous nation, following China, India, the United States and Indonesia. Pakistan’s 11 year growth rate is estimated at 34.2 percent, nearly double that of second ranking Mexico, at 18.2 percent, where the birth rate (as indicated by the total fertility rate) is projected to drop to under replacement rate by the end of the decade. Perhaps most significantly, Pakistan’s growth rate is more than double the rates of India (15.9 percent) and Bangladesh (14.1 percent),which have long had reputations for strong growth (Table and Figure 1). At this growth rate, Pakistan could become the world’s fourth most populous nation by 2030, passing Indonesia. …

Read more » New Geography
http://www.newgeography.com/content/002940-pakistan-where-population-bomb-exploding

A political economy of communalism in south Asia

Hyderbad: “You Strike & We will Strike back”.

The message of ‘21/2 Hyderabad serial terror attack

By Feroze Mithiborwala

The strategic& political target of the terror attack, is the historic 2-day Strike of the Working classes, where more than 12 core or 120 million workers both from the organized & unorganized sectors participated & brought India to a halt.

This working class strike surmounted all calculations due to the scale at which the enraged working classes participated. This strike has shaken up the corporate-political elite & that is why they have struck back with a serial terror attack, where now more than 15 citizens have died & 50 grievously injured. The terror attack was orchestrated in Dilsukh Nagar, where there is a busy market & many cinema halls.

If the working class unrest takes the proportions which we witness in many nations across the world such as Greece & Spain, the ruling elite will witness a massive crisis, due to the growing burdens of price-rise, decreasing wages, increasing scams, spiraling inflation, the growing insecurity of the peasantry, workers& laboring classes, as well as the ever-widening rich-poor divide.

Continue reading A political economy of communalism in south Asia

Bangladesh government passed a bill to convict the war criminals and ban Islamist’s in politics.

Bangladesh amends war crimes law, mulls banning Islamists

By Anis Ahmed

DHAKA (Reuters): Bangladesh’s parliament, meeting the demands of protesters thronging the capital, amended a law on Sunday allowing the state to appeal any verdict in war crimes trials it deems inadequate and out of step with public opinion.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators jamming central Shahbag Square for the 13th day burst into cheers amid driving rain as the assembly approved the changes.

The protesters have been demanding the death penalty for war crimes after a tribunal this month sentenced a prominent Islamist to life in prison in connection with Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

The life sentence pronounced on Abdul Quader Mollah, assistant Secretary General of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, for murder, rape and torture had stunned many Bangaldeshis.

The amendment will “empower the tribunals to try and punish any organizations, including Jamaat-e-Islami, for committing crimes during country’s liberation war in 1971”, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said after the change was approved. ….

Read more » Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/17/us-bangladesh-protest-idUSBRE91G05W20130217

The Female Factor: Bangladesh Protests Break Boundaries

By: Anushay Hossain

It is over a week now that crowds refuse to die down in Shahbagh Square in the heart of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

While most of the “western media” has either ignored the swelling numbers of ordinary Bangladeshis joining the movement, others have wrongly labeled it as a mass demand for capital punishment.

This is perhaps the biggest misconception about what is happening in Bangladesh right now, that these historic protests are somehow a stamp of the public’s thirst just for capital punishment. Could anything be more incorrect or insulting?

Earlier this week, I wrote about how Bangladeshis joined in rare solidarity to demand the death penalty for the leader of the country’s largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, well-known war-criminal, Abdul Quader Mollah. His sentencing to life in prison triggered Bangladeshis to put aside their political differences, and unite against Mollah.

Continue reading The Female Factor: Bangladesh Protests Break Boundaries

The Ingredients for a Glorious Pakistan

By Saeed Qureshi

Throughout its existence since August 14, 1947; Pakistan has perennially remained in troubled waters. From the anarchy of the initial years to the interspersing of democratic stints, to military dictatorships, it has been overshadowed by a constant threat of disintegration as a state. This disintegration came off in 1971 when its eastern part then known as East Pakistan was truncated.

While East Pakistan changed her nomenclature to Bangladesh, the West wing came to be known as Pakistan. It was a cataclysmic event that happened in contemporary history when a state dismembered barely 24 years after its birth and independence from the colonial rule.

All these years, Pakistan earned strictures such as a failed state, a country not viable to stay on the world map and a nation moving towards eventual extinction or another disintegration a la East Pakistan. Pakistani society is infested with myriad chronic problems that range from poor social and utility services to unstable or dysfunctional institutions and sway of reactionary cutthroat religious militants. The competent, efficacious, egalitarian and public welfare oriented governance has ever remained elusive.

Continue reading The Ingredients for a Glorious Pakistan

Riots in Bangladesh as ‘Butcher of Mirpur’ gets life for war crimes

By: Agence France-Presse

DHAKA // Riots broke out in several Bangladesh cities today after a court sentenced a Islamist opposition official to life in prison for mass murder during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan.

Abdul Quader Mollah, 64, the fourth-highest leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was the first politician to be found guilty by the International Crimes Tribunal, a much-criticised domestic court based in Dhaka.

Mollah cried out, “Allahu Akbar” and said the charges, which also include crimes against humanity, were false after the presiding judge Obaidul Hassan delivered the verdict in a crowded and tightly guarded court.

“He deserved death sentence because of the gravity of the crimes. But the court gave him life imprisonment,” said Mahbubey Alam, the attorney general, adding Mollah was found guilty of five out of six charges including mass murder.

The judgement sparked immediate protests by Jamaat, the country’s largest Islamist party which enforced a nationwide strike in anticipation of the conviction.

Continue reading Riots in Bangladesh as ‘Butcher of Mirpur’ gets life for war crimes

Bangladeshi cleric found guilty for war crimes

Bangladesh cleric Abul Kalam Azad sentenced to die for war crimes

A court in Bangladesh has sentenced a well-known Muslim cleric to death for crimes against humanity during the country’s 1971 independence war.

Abul Kalam Azad’s conviction is the first verdict handed down by the controversial tribunal. The cleric, a presenter of Islamic programmes on television, shot dead six Hindus and raped Hindu women during the war, prosecutors said.

He is thought to be in Pakistan and was found guilty in absentia. ….

Read more » BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21118998

Bangladesh asks Pakistan to apologise for 1971 genocide

Bangladesh on Friday demanded a formal apology from Pakistan for the genocide committed by its troops during the 1971 liberation war, but Islamabad said it’s time to carry forward ties “burying the past”.

During a meeting with her Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said “Bangladesh expects an apology from Pakistan for the genocide carried out by their troops in 1971”.

Continue reading Bangladesh asks Pakistan to apologise for 1971 genocide

Who wants to divide Sindh?

By: Zulfiqar Shah

Sindh is on the verge of widespread political violence due to newly announced local government ordinance. The situation can possibly be disastrous for the future political course of Pakistan and might even have disastrous impact on South Asia and the rest of the world.

SINDH IS undergoing an unending and nerve taking process of political standoffs since the creation of Pakistan, and therefore, has been continuously struggling since last six decades over the rights, sovereignty, security, and interests of the province and its indigenous underdeveloped majority population.

The recent issue of Sindhi-Hindu exodus is still waiting to be concluded positively, yet rise of another issue of People’s Local Government Ordinance (PLGO) promulgated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) may possibly open a new chapter of popular movement and possibly a slight degree of violence in Sindh. The dilemma of the issue is the violation of citizen’s right to information by the government through avoiding to public the text of the ordinance; however some features of the ordinance have been made public by the provincial information minister.

Continue reading Who wants to divide Sindh?