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Acceptance of Bangladesh, 1974

The creation of Bangladesh as an independent state acted as a bolt from the blue for the Pakistani’s. Pakistan had to accept Bangladesh because it was a reality and other nations started accepting her as a nation. Pakistan’s acceptance of Bangladesh in 1974 only paved the way for future cordial relations. It enabled Bangladesh to become a member of United Nations.


From the time of Independence of Pakistan 1947 Bengalis suffered a lot. These feelings become deeply rooted with the passage of time. Initially, the issue of provincial autonomy and the language issue i.e. Bengali and Urdu become the burning issues. The largest populous province was remained backward in all spheres of life. Whether it may be government or any private institution, they were deprived. Institution of Army which is considered to be impartial also had phenomenal differences.


The Indian assistance in planning the separation of East Pakistan and covert military support in Agartala conspiracy case and in the war of 1971 was also the major factor behind the game but Pakistani rulers and elites in a jingoistic mood, oblivious of ground realities did not play any role to remove their concerns or any reconciliation. Even at the eleventh hour when Pakistani Army was about to lose the battle, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto reportedly tore away the Polish draft resolution and walked out of Security Council in a gesture of defiance.


One of the most important causes to accept Bangladesh is the Lahore Islamic Summit. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto secures an initiative to hold an Islamic Summit under the banner of OIC in 1974 to discuss the Middle East situation in the wake of Arab-Israel war of 1973. But it also proved as a face saving forum to accept Bangladesh. The Arab and Islamic countries used the Lahore Summit to persuade Pakistan to recognize Bangladesh, so six head of states flew from Lahore to Dhaka and bring Mujib-ur-Rehman to the Summit. Hence, it provided the government a way to out from this self inflicted dilemma.


An important impact of acceptance of Bangladesh was that both countries may be able to establish a cordial relationship in the future so; the issues such as Prisoners of war, repatriation of citizens and divisions of assets would be mutually solved.


Another major impact of recognition in relation to the war of 1971 was about the future of Pakistan as a state. Pakistan was now a different country also in geo-strategic terms. Talks about further dismemberment of Pakistan and veering attitude of different nations about Pakistan were the common phenomenon at that time. But Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s role in the OIC, his world tours and events like Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan supports Pakistan a lot.


So, in the retrospect, it was clear that the dismemberment of Pakistan in the shape of Bangladesh was only the failure of our diplomacy both civilian and military. Our rulers have no rational thinking but they were actually demagogues. Thus in spite of learning a big lesson we are again producing such circumstances that East Pakistan like situation can arise again in what is left of Pakistan in the near future.

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