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Bangladesh`s glorious progress Vs Pakistan`s reality

History has not forgiven them

Hasan Jamil || shiningbd

Published: 06:25, 26 March 2021   Update: 21:19, 27 March 2021
Bangladesh`s glorious progress Vs Pakistan`s reality

File photo

Bangladesh is going to celebrate the golden jubilee of independence. March 26 is a day of unique glory for Bangladesh. It was not too late to realize that the so-called independence of 'Desired Pakistan' was a mirage after nearly two hundred years of British colonial rule. Rather, it is meant repeatedly, ultimately. The brave Bengalis took up arms and slapped them back, washing away all stains of filth with a river of blood right in the face of Pakistan's 23-year history of oppression in 1971.

The Pakistani rulers who looted everything from Bangladesh (East Pakistan) and built mountains of wealth in the western part, today the warrior Bangladeshis have overwhelmed them in almost all sectors. And Pakistan is lagging behind day by day. 

Behind this, the talent of Bangladeshis, creativity, indomitable mentality of winning the war, self-respect, proper leadership and many other phenomena have worked together- that is why Mujib's Bangladesh is now way ahead of Bhutto-Yahya-Ayub's Pakistan.

At this time, not only the common people of Pakistan, but also the intellectuals are advising the rulers of Islamabad to take Bangladesh as a role model for development. In a statement after the incumbent Prime Minister Imran Khan took power, he conveyed a message of hope to his nation that he would build his country like Switzerland. At that time, a journalist and intellectual of the country said in response that it is a long way to go to the level of any European country, at least it will take another ten years for Pakistan to go to the position of Bangladesh and sadly by that time Bangladesh will go far.

At that time, an article titled 'The Bangladesh Model' by Jaighan Khan, who is  a Pakistani development activist and social anthropologist, was published in a Pakistani newspaper named "The Nation". 

There he said, “Look, when we  choose a Western country as the norm, there is a serious problem. Western countries have developed over the centuries, and institutions have developed over the centuries. Their economic development has taken place in a completely different context. And say their economy, say society, they are so different from us that their experience doesn't really apply to us at all. On the contrary, we have much to learn from countries like ours. Their experience is very relevant and applicable to us.”

It should not be forgotten here that in the nine-month war, Bangladesh not only lost the hands of 6 million workers, but also lost all kinds of infrastructure, money and resources. Roads, bridges, culverts... everything was almost destroyed in war. Infrastructure needed to be completely rebuilt. Infact we have even heard the infamous verse- Bangladesh is a bottomless basket. Henry Kissinger, a security adviser to US President Richard Nixon, said this about Bangladesh in 1972. But 50 years later, laying in his coffin he is definitely feeling the thorn of his own words, his arrogant face and blurred vision are boomeranging.

Recently (March 22, 2021) Munis Ahmar, former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Karachi, Pakistan, wrote an article in the South Asian Monitor with a title, 'How and why is Bangladesh better off than Pakistan today?' It needs to be mentioned before going into the context of the text, he confirmed his ‘Pakistani’ identity at the beginning of the article. Because in the opening sentence he says, "... Bangladesh will celebrate 50 years of its separation from Pakistan on March 26 ..." It hurts to say the word 'independence' of Bangladesh in his mouth, so he rather chose to utter 'separation' to get a momentary relief.

However, he was compelled to praise Bangladesh with this painful face. Because that's the harsh reality. He has used some information on how Bangladesh overcame them in some cases. Interested readers can read the article immediately. We have also taken a lot of information from his writings.

He was saying that Bangladesh is celebrating 50 years of independence. In these 50 years, Bangladesh has made tremendous progress. Bangladesh, which in 1972 was described by US President Richard Nixon's security adviser Henry Kissinger as a "bottomless basket", has surpassed Pakistan in many ways over the past 50 years. How and why did 'poor' Bangladesh surpass Pakistan? What can Pakistan learn from Bangladesh - these are the questions asked by Pakistanis themselves now.

Among the developing countries in the last few decades, the economic development of Bangladesh has been enviable. During this period, Bangladesh's exports has been doubled than Pakistan, while at the same time, the value of Bangladeshi currency Taka has almost doubled to Pakistani Rupee. Bangladesh's GDP growth is 7.9, while Pakistan's is only 1.5. Foreign exchange reserves are  41 billion USD, while Pakistan's is less than half, only 20 billion USD!

Apart from these, Bangladesh is far ahead of Pakistan in passport ranking index, education rate, micro credit and women's empowerment.

There are at least four major reasons behind this improvement in Bangladesh. These are: leadership, innovation, planning and ownership. Based on these four foundations, Bangladesh has evolved from a so-called 'international beggar' to an 'economically vibrant' country. The leadership of Sheikh Hasina during the last one era has played a big role here. Her strong leadership has given a new dimension to Bangladesh.

Besides, behind all this is the visionary guidance of the Government of Bangladesh and the creative and innovative capacity of the general people of Bengal which has fallen in all fields from increasing export of garment industry to population control, increasing education rate, poverty alleviation, women empowerment. 

As a result, despite being a cotton or yarn producing country, Pakistan lags far behind Bangladesh.While Bangladesh exports 35 billion worth of garments a year, Pakistanis are struggling to export 10 million USD worth of garments. The feudal and primitive tribal social structure of Pakistanis has also become an obstacle to modernity in agriculture.

On the other hand, Bangladesh has more political stability. Where there was a long military rule in Pakistan. Their Military influence still exists in politics. On the contrary, Sheikh Hasina's government has advanced towards progress with political goodwill which priorly focuses on economy, accountability and socio-human development.

However, in the writings of this Pakistani, there is no mention of Pakistan being ahead in any field. They have also gone ahead in some cases. In 1971 their population was less than that of Bangladesh. There were 6 crores, 7 crores in Bangladesh. But at present the population of Bangladesh is 16 crores but Pakistan is far ahead - 22 crores. Pakistan can be proud of it.

Amartya Sen, a Nobel laureate economist who has worked on development economics, has always been talking about the development of Bangladesh. He commented in 2004 that the future of Bangladesh is very good. In his view, development does not only mean economic development. Rather, he uses complex social phenomena such as various social sectors, independence, nutrition, longevity, sanitation, education, health etc, as indicators of development. In his famous book 'Development is Freedom', he elaborated on these issues. He gave an example while explaining his development model, 'Kerala is now the most advanced state in India. But Kerala has been ahead in education for a long time. In 1818, an 18-year-old queen of Kerala made a progressive statement on the spread of education. At that time there was racism in Kerala. Kerala has tried to find out whether this difference can be overcome through education. In 1983, Kerala was the third poorest of the 24 states in India. And now Kerala is the richest state in India. The average life expectancy in Kerala is 84 years, which is almost the same as in China.

From Amartya Sen's point of view, even in these social indicators, Pakistan lags far behind. Due to the increase in the quality of health care, the average life expectancy of the people of Bangladesh has increased more than before. Now the average life expectancy is 72.6 years. 

This is the account of 2019. The average life expectancy was 72.3 years as in the previous year. Which is more than India and Pakistan. The average life expectancy is 68 years in Pakistan and 69 years in India. As a result, Bangladesh has overtaken Pakistan and India in terms of human survival.

Ayesha Siddique, a Pakistani researcher at London-based research institute SWAAS, said in an article, “Islamabad has allocated 850 million in the defense sector in the 2020-21 budget. On the other hand, only 15 crore 10 lakh USD has been allocated for the health sector.The defense allocation since last year has been increased by 12 percent this year. Apart from this, the expenditure shown in the budget of Pakistan is also invisible. That amount is also a lot. 

However, his news is never made public. There is widespread corruption which never comes to media.

Looking at the education sector, it can be seen that the literacy rate in Pakistan is only 59 percent. Of which women are terribly backward, only 46 percent, men 61 percent. On the other hand, the number of net admissions in primary education in Bangladesh is now 97.9 percent. The literacy rate of citizens above 60 years of age is now 100%.

Pakistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world. Among every 22 newborns born there, at least one is said to be at risk of death. Where Bangladesh has reduced the infant mortality rate by about 63 percent.

Amartya Sen said, "It goes without saying that the economic growth (in India) from 1900 to 1947 was almost null. At that time, the growth rate was 0.1 percent, which is a very insignificant rate. In the first year after India's independence, the growth was 3 percent. "Note here that he wanted to show a balance of political freedom with development. What Bangladesh could not do during the Pakistani period, which was unimaginable, has turned the country around profoundly in just 50 years. In terms of economic development data, it is said that this country will be included in the list of 25 largest economies in the world in 2035, in the meantime they have cut their name from the list of poor countries through untiring labour and hardwork. A big reason behind this is to achieve political independence and stability.

Since independence from the British under the Indian Rule Act of 1947, Pakistan has been repeatedly subjected to military rule. As a result, the practice of politics and independence has been disrupted there. 

After the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu in 1975, the military rule of almost a decade and a half pushed us back, but the Bengalis have been able to break that net and successfully return to the political process.

Let's take a look at an interview given to the BBC by Jaighan Khan, a social anthropologist from Pakistan. "Bangladesh faces more challenges than Pakistan", he said. "The size of Bangladesh is much less. Natural resources are also limited. Bangladesh is in a much more vulnerable position due to natural disasters. But Bangladesh is moving forward beyond these. I think Bangladesh is going through a great moment in history."- Even with less resources Bangladesh is definitely moving forward. Bought at the cost of the blood of 3 million martyrs, this Bangladesh will go further in the planning of innovation by leading the efforts with courage and respect. The world will stare in amazement at his dreamy journey.

According to the United Nations Operations Authority in Dhaka, the damage to the public and private sectors during the War of Liberation was  1.2 billion (Tk. 1249 crore as per the Government of Bangladesh). Besides, Pakistanis had a lot more financial debt.The debts of 24 years of misrule have not been paid. Pakistanis who played Holi with the fresh blood of the people of Bangladesh, have killed 3 million people. Bringing these calculations to the fore is not our goal or purpose of 50 years.It can be said from a very prophetic place - Nature Never Forgives. Perhapes it is nature who never forgave Pakistan. The fittest survive here - goes forward. So even though they are far ahead in terms of resources, they have lagged behind, they are lagging behind from Bangladesh. Since the people of Bangladesh are very capable, very brave, very hardworking and innovative.

In fifty years we have moved forward with self-respect, keeping sovereignty alive. In parallel, Pakistan has lagged behind. Islamabad did not feel the need to formally apologize for the horrific war crimes of 1971 and the previous 23 years of exploitation, oppression and discrimination.It is certainly their failure. They may stay with their failures, but Bangladesh has no chance to look back. Only that old, prehistoric truth is being remembered again - history does not forgive anyone. Will not forgive ever. Just the way it is not forgiving Pakistan.

Bless all thorns and let Bangladesh win.

Translated by Sezda Ahsan

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