Speakers stress on need to forget past -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Speakers stress on need to forget past

KARACHI: The people of Pakistan and Bangladesh have had their melancholies before and after the emergence of the latter on the world map, but it is time to usher into an era of social and economic development – based on bilateralism – by forgetting what we have gone through.

This is what speakers reckoned on Pakistan-Bangladesh relations during a seminar on “Pakistan-Bangladesh Relationship Since 1971”, organized by the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) at its Vicky Zeitlin Media Library here on Monday.

They also stressed improving bilateral ties between the two countries through people-to-people contacts and allowing free movement of people and goods.

Arnold Zeitlin, Managing Director, Editorial Research & Reporting Associates and the one who covered the events leading to the creation of Bangladesh as The Associated Press’ Bureau Chief, was the key speaker.

He said both the countries share historical and religious linkages and instead of recalling bitter incidents of pre-and post-1971 war, they should struggle for normalising bilateral ties on civil basis. Zeitlin was of the opinion that since both the countries have identical threat perceptions and interests, they have a lot of potential to become closer, provided they look forward instead of being remorseful.

Earlier, Barrister Shahida Jamil, former federal law minister and President, Pakistan-Bangladesh Friendship Association, said that being Islamic countries, members of the United Nations, OIC and the Saarc, both the countries should move forward in building healthy relations instead of looking into past. She opined that recalling incidents of past and demands of declassifying more contents of Hamood-ur-Rahman Commission report could create unrest among Bangladeshi people and cause setback to efforts for normalising ties between the two South Asian states.

Answering a question as to why both the countries should not keep India as their middleman partner, she said both the countries have had cordial relations with regional and other countries on bilateral basis and there was no need of bringing India into it if both the sides could develop their relations and wherever needed could exploit regional and multilateral avenues.

During his address and question/answer session, Ikram Sehgal, Editor, Defence Journal and Political Defence Analyst, stressed the need of forgetting the past to build a new future. He said the atrocities were committed on both sided but it doesn’t mean that we thwart development because of our past’s bitter experiences.

Sehgal said that relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh had started normalising during the tenure of Bangladeshi presidents Zia-ur-Rahman and Hussain Muhammad Irshad. The training of different officials of Bangladesh’s armed forces is an example of this, he said. He also suggested the removal of visa and tariff restrictions for both the countries. Replying a question, he said that President Pervez Musharraf had done sufficient to improve the bilateral relations by regretting over the incidents of 1971.

Ghazi Salahuddin, Editorial Director, Jang Group and Geo acted as moderator of the seminar, while Chairman, Pakistan Press International, Owais Aslam Ali presented vote of thanks.

Source: The Nation