Jamsheed Marker has been Pakistan’s ambassador in more countries than any other diplomat. He has a plethora of information and memories from those assignments in different capitals of the world. He has seen the formative phase of Pakistan from close quarters and is witness to some of the most decisive phases of the country’s history, the separation of East Pakistan being one.
India is in a period of rapid economic development, but the nation has not been as generous as its neighbouring countries hoped it would be in providing financial assistance to underdeveloped areas and promoting regional integration. A yawning infrastructure funding gap in South Asian countries creates space for China and those nations to strengthen economic cooperation.
What motivated Mrs Gandhi to release the POWs? What went on behind the scenes? Were there any compelling circumstances at play that have remained unreported? If there were any, ideally they should be brought into the public domain, so that future generations may benefit from the lessons of history.
In August 1977, a small crew from Pakistan Television (PTV), visited a house of a former general of the Pakistan Army. The general had also been the country’s president between March 1969 and December 1971. He had been living in that house since early 1972 and was hardly ever seen in public for over five years. He had been under house arrest. Apart from this, he had also become a virtual recluse.
United States President Donald Trump’s plans to build a “great, great wall” along the United States’ 3,200 kilometer long border with Mexico to keep out what he calls “criminals, drug dealers, [and] rapists” is hardly a new idea. Several other countries, many motivated by Islamophobia, have fenced their borders with their neighbors to keep out illegal migrants, terrorists, and criminals.
An objective review of General Ayub Khan’s policies and actions suggests that his primary motive was to sustain and prolong his rule as his regime sowed the seed, and generously watered the plant, for Bangladesh’s separation that came years later. He empowered the religious fundamentalists as he sought their support against Fatima Jinnah.
Following the recent drama at the SAARC meeting in Islamabad, Modi will be faced with two contrasting points of views in Delhi. First, is it worth attending the next SAARC summit in Islamabad where its minister claims that he was mistreated? Second, Modi should visit Islamabad for the scheduled summit (5–6 November) to ensure that the forum does not become hostage to India-Pakistan tensions.
Their presence at the G-7 summit at Ise-Shima, Japan, last week was hardly noticed in India. But among the six leaders of the developing world present in the outreach session were Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of Bangladesh, and Maithripala Sirisena, president of Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh is in a straitjacket and its government is embattled. With no sign of a let-up in the killings of liberals and secular writers, the feeling grows that the administration led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is not on top of the situation.