Monday February 18, 2019

Pakistan and Bagladesh argue over an Islamist leader

The 1971 war ruined the relation between the two nations, about three million people were killed in the war and thousands of women were raped

0
//
File photo of Moulana Motiur Rahman Nizami, former chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami, addressing a rally protesting against Western newspapers that published cartoons on Prophet Mohammad in Dhaka February 11, 2006. REUTERS/Rafiqur Rahman

ISLAMABAD/DHAKA- Pakistan and Bangladesh summoned each other’s ambassadors on Thursday to register “strong protest” in connection with a row over the execution of an Islamist leader in Bangladesh this week, both sides said in statements.

The two Muslim countries used to be two halves of the same one until Bangladesh broke away in a 1971 war of independence.

Bangladesh has in the past few years been prosecuting people accused of carrying out crimes in support of Pakistani forces during the war, and has executed five of them, the most recent one, Motiur Rehman Nizami, on Wednesday.

Related article: India and Pakistan: Behind the thinly veiled conflict

Pakistan said Nizami’s hanging was “unfortunate” and attempts by Bangladesh to malign Pakistan were “regrettable,” though it was not clear what Bangladeshi statement Pakistan was referring to.

Bangladesh summoned the Pakistani ambassador in Dhaka to register its “strong protest” over statements by Pakistan.

A young protester. Wikimedia Commons
A young protester. Wikimedia Commons

Relations between the two countries have never recovered from the 1971 war when Bangladeshi nationalists, backed by India, broke away from what was then West Pakistan.

About three million people were killed in the war, Bangladesh says, and thousands of women were raped.

Some Bangladeshi factions including the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist party, opposed the break and some if its members, including Nizami, have been prosecuted by a Bangladeshi war crimes tribunal set up in 2010.

“The government of Bangladesh deeply regrets that despite Bangladesh’s repeated overtures, the malicious campaign by Pakistan against the trials of the crimes against humanity and genocide in Bangladesh is continuing,” Bangladesh said in a statement.

International human rights groups say the tribunal’s procedures fall short of international standards but Bangladesh  rejects that and the trials are supported by many Bangladeshis.

Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Bangladesh on Thursday over Nizami’s hanging. (Reuters)

 

Next Story

Iran’s Zarif Blames Israel, U.S. Looking Forward For War

"Israeli behavior is putting international law on the shelf, U.S. behavior is putting international law on the shelf," he said.

0
U.S.
Rupee Depreciation Against Dollar Leads to Sharp Rise in Crude Prices. Pixabay

Iran’s foreign minister on Sunday accused Israel of looking for war and warned that its actions and those of the United States were increasing the chances of a clash in the region.

Addressing the Munich Security Conference, Mohammad Javad Zarif, also criticized the U.S. administration after Vice President Mike Pence this week called on European powers to pullout of the nuclear deal with Iran. Zarif urged France, Germany and Britain to do more to save that accord.

“Certainly, some people are looking for war… Israel,” Zarif said. “The risk [of war] is great. The risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law.”

Accusing Israel of violating international law after bombing campaigns in Syria, Zarif criticized European powers for not calling out Israel and the United States for their behavior in the region.

“Israeli behavior is putting international law on the shelf, U.S. behavior is putting international law on the shelf,” he said.

Army
Accusing Israel of violating international law after bombing campaigns in Syria, Zarif criticized European powers for not calling out Israel and the United States for their behavior in the region. VOA

Speaking to his Cabinet on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iranian belligerence was the main destabilising factor in the entire Middle East.

“We must deny Iran nuclear weaponry and block its military entrenchment in Syria. We will continue taking constant action to ensure Israel’s security,” he said in remarks broadcast on Israeli media.

Europe falling short

Vice President Pence on Friday accused Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism, maintaining his harsh rhetoric against Tehran just a day he attacked European powers for trying to undermine U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Zarif said the U.S. had an “unhealthy” and “pathological obsession” with Iran and accused Pence of trying to bully his allies.

“All in the name of containing Iran, the U.S. claims, and some blindly parrot, that it is Iran that is interfering in the region, but has it been asked whose region?” Zarif said.

U.S.
Zarif said the U.S. had an “unhealthy” and “pathological obsession” with Iran and accused Pence of trying to bully his allies. VOA

“Look at the map, the U.S. military has traveled 10,000 kilometers to dot all our borders with its bases. There is a joke that it is Iran that put itself in the middle of U.S. bases.”

Zarif, who said Iran was committed to the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers for now, also accused France, Britain and Germany of not doing enough to ensure Tehran received the economic benefits of that accord.

These three countries this month set up the Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a new channel for non-dollar trade with Iran to avoid U.S. sanctions. But diplomats say it is unlikely to allow the big transactions that Tehran says it needs to keep a nuclear deal afloat.

Also Read: Rupee Depreciation Against Dollar Leads to Sharp Rise in Crude Prices

Washington’s major European allies opposed last year’s decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to abandon the deal, which also includes China and Russia, under which international sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for Tehran accepting curbs on its nuclear program.

“INSTEX falls short of commitments by the E3 [France, Germany, Britain] to save the nuclear deal,” Zarif said. “Europe needs to be willing to get wet if it wants to swim against the dangerous tide of U.S. unilateralism.” (VOA)