Not Just Balochistan, India Should Rake up Bangladesh as Well

India should rake up atrocities in Balochistan along with Bangladesh to isolate Pakistan, writes Subir Bhaumik.

5 min read

(Photo: Twitter/<a href="">@<b>kcsnegi</b></a>/ Altered by <b>The Quint</b>)

India has started raising the issue of Balochistan at international forums in an obvious tit-for-tat response to Pakistan’s backing of the separatist insurgencies in Jammu & Kashmir. Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue during his Independence Day speech, Indian officials have loudly spoken about ‘massive human rights violations’ in Pakistan’s biggest province.

But it might be a good idea for the Indian diplomats to raise Bangladesh in the same breath to project a continuity in Pakistan’s behaviour pattern. Indian leaders and diplomats have made passing references to Bangladesh but that is not good enough.

Also Read: Modi’s Balochistan Barb Highlights Pakistan’s Apathy of Decades

Pakistan's Interference in Bangladesh's Internal Affairs

India needs to raise Bangladesh both in the past as well as the present. Nothing will better reinforce India’s focus on ‘massive human rights violations’ in Balochistan, than if it is raised in conjunction with the genocide the Pakistan’s army perpetrated in what was then East Pakistan.

It might be a great idea to quickly produce an English (if not multi-language) translation of “Juddho Aparadh, Ganahatya o Bicharer Anweshan” (War Crimes, Genocide and Search for Justice) by Dr M A Hassan, a Bangladeshi scholar who has perhaps done the most extensive documentation of the Pakistani genocide in 1971. This volume, circulated with the current details of human rights violations in Balochistan will make for a great package.

Bangladesh is firmly going ahead with its war crimes trials and several top shot Bengali collaborators of the Pakistan army in 1971 have been hanged. Pakistan has raised a furore every time a top Jamaat-e-Islami leader has been hanged – even threatening to take the issue to United Nations. This has evoked severe reactions in Bangladesh and even the country’s soft-spoken foreign minister A H Mahmood Ali has ‘warned’ Pakistan to stop ‘interfering in our internal affairs’.

Also Read: DeQoded: Will Balochistan Be A Second Bangladesh?

So, raising 1971 and Bangladesh is not just useful to provide sufficient evidence of the Pakistani state being ‘nasty and brutish’ – it will also help to highlight how Islamabad is seeking to interfere in Bangladesh instead of apologising (as the Germans have done for the Nazi atrocities) for horrendous war crimes.

Bangladeshi security personnel stand guard in front of Kashimpur Central Jail where Mir Quasem Ali, who was executed on 3 September 2016, was being held. (Photo: AP)
Bangladeshi security personnel stand guard in front of Kashimpur Central Jail where Mir Quasem Ali, who was executed on 3 September 2016, was being held. (Photo: AP)

Atrocities Perpetrated by the Pakistan Army

This is not to condone the human rights violations of the Indian security forces in Jammu & Kashmir, but it will help bring out a comparative picture. The death of 100 Kashmiris in the last 90 days of agitation is sad enough – and India should bring to book anyone guilty of excess in using force to quell protests, which, though, have been
less than peaceful.

But this is for the world – and surely for the Kashmiris – to know that the Pakistan army killed 211 students in just one Dhaka University hostel (Sergeant Zahirul Haque Hall)   on the first night of ‘Operation Searchlight’, the beginning of one of the most brutal military action against innocent civilians in recent history. Once you add up the total casualties at the various university hostels, staff quarters and canteens, the death count runs into few thousands. And not to speak of rapes at Rokeya Hall , where Major Mohammed Aslam of Pakistan army dragged out the forty odd girls, stripped them naked and raped them in public.

Ask Bangladesh’s best known sculptor Ferdousi Priyabashini , recently declared a ‘Birangana’, and she will tell you that it was the Pakistan army and not Islamic State which started the mass culture of sex slaves in an Asian conflict zone.

Also Read: What’s the Cost of Changing the Narrative on Balochistan?


Raking Up Bangladesh-Balochistan

  • India should highlight human rights violation in Balochistan along with atrocities committed by Pakistan Army in erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
  • Pakistan raising a hue and cry over recent executions of Jamaat leaders in Bangladesh has been seen as interfering in the country’s internal matters.
  • Isolating Pakistan would be easy by combining issues related to abuse in Balochistan and those witnessed in Bangladesh in 1971.
  • Pakistan’s deep state can be exposed by making a strong case against its reprehensible acts, not just by highlighting 26/11, Uri, Pathankot terror attacks.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivering his speech on the occasion of the 70th Independence Day at Red Fort, in Delhi, 15 August 2016. (Photo: IANS/PIB)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivering his speech on the occasion of the 70th Independence Day at Red Fort, in Delhi, 15 August 2016. (Photo: IANS/PIB)

Isolating Pakistan

Pakistan’s long involvement in backing the jihadi groups in Bangladesh and the recent expulsion of ISI staffers masquerading as diplomats should be highlighted.

Bangladesh intelligence has copious details on what these ‘diplomats’ (including a woman diplomat who had to be recalled in 2015) were doing in Dhaka – providing fake currencies to the jihadis to arranging their trips to Pakistan for weapons training and jihadi brainwash to much else.

It is just not good enough to get Bangladesh and Afghanistan’s support in our effort to diplomatically isolate Pakistan, though that is most welcome. But it is also important to bring up both Bangladesh’s and Afghanistan’s  experiences of  brazen Pakistani interference and package that with India’s experience, for global consumption.

Pakistan has also threatened to raise the Northeast – why not bring out the long Pakistani support to rebel groups in India’s Northeast beginning with the fake El Salvador passport ISI provided to the Naga rebel leader Angami Zapu Phizo in 1957 to facilitate his travel to London from East Pakistan or the fake Burmese passport in the name of Mr and Mrs Zolkeps provided to Mizo rebel leader Laldenga and his wife Biakdiki.

Also Read: Don’t Interfere: Bangladesh Tells Pak Over Remark of Ali’s Hanging

Exposing Pakistan's 'Deep State'

Pakistan will not be diplomatically isolated by speeches made by Modi or Sushma Swaraj at home and abroad, despite the obvious revulsion to Pakistan’s state – sponsored terror that exists in most nations across the world.

It is not enough to come up with few cases like Mumbai 26/11 or Pathankot or Uri, just because they are big and involved a lot of casualties. The trick of the trade is to do much more detailed homework to provide the world a thorough glimpse about Pakistan’s ‘Deep State’, a substantial exposure of its major players and the long continuity of its sponsorship of terror, its nuclear and missile technology proliferation.

(The writer is a veteran BBC journalist and an author. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

Also Read: Jingoism on Balochistan is Not in India’s Interest: Manish Tewari

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