Bangladesh’s Twitter-FB War With Pakistan Ahead of PM Narendra Modi Visit
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Bangladesh’s Twitter-FB War With Pakistan Ahead of PM Narendra Modi Visit

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DHAKA:
A fierce social media ‘war’ has erupted between pro-Liberation
Bangladeshis and the Pakistanis resenting Bangladesh’s much vaunted progress
and growing relations with India ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit
to the country.

Modi will be the Guest of Honour at the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh
Independence on March 26, the day in 1971 when Pakistan’s brutal army started
‘Operation Searchlight’, a genocidal campaign to stamp out the Bengali revolt
for Independence.

The visit also comes at a time when Bangladesh has achieved ‘Developing
Nation’ status , up from Least Developed Country (LDC) category . The UN
citation announcing that upgrade is a testimony to Bangladesh’s success in
national building through practice of moderate Islam, tolerance of other
religions, abiding faith in liberal Bengali culture and its syncretic
traditions and focus on economic growth and human development.

This is stark contrast to Pakistan’s slide in economy and society with
analysts across the world suggesting it has all the bearings of a failed
state. And all because of the Pakistani state and its powerful army’s
obsession in using terrorism as an instrument of national policy and its
lopsided defence spending at the cost of neglect for infrastructure and social
sector investments.

The Twitter war has been sparked by some Bangladeshi radicals backing the
Hifazat-e-Islam’s announcement to stop “Modi from entering Dhaka.”
Pro-liberation forces who express gratitude to India for its role in
Bangladesh’s liberation promptly denounced the Hifazat move as an ‘evil ploy’
by Pakistani intelligence ISI to disrupt not only Modi’s visit but also the
celebrations of 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence.

They also attacked Hifazat-Khilafat leaders as ‘power hungry’ and ‘traders of
religion’. Some tweets and Facebook posts also showcased Bangladesh’s economic
and human development achievements cited in top global publications like
‘Diplomat’ and ‘Wall Street Journal’ and contrasted this with Pakistan’s
downslide.

That provoked a strong riposte from Pakistani Twitterati and Facebook users with
some presenting absolute cooked up statistics to show Pakistan was ahead of
Bangladesh in many respects. Bangladesh’s net warriors shot back immediately
asking uncomfortable questions.

“Ask your PM Imran, has he paid up the PMO’s electricity bills” and “30 rupees
for an egg, 1,000 rupees for a kilo of ginger, what do you eat Pakistanis,
only dry wheat” are some of the shoot-back posts that escalated into direct
allegations of Pakistani funding for Bangladesh’s Islamist radicals to disrupt
the Modi visit and adversely impact India-Bangladesh relations.

Citing a ‘Times of India’ opinion piece, a tweet said: ‘India and Bangladesh,
Made for Each Other, Destined to Grow Together’.

Bangladesh has a passionate and fiercely secular bloggers community who have
never hesitated to attack Islamist radical politics.

In the aftermath of the 1971 War Crimes Trials, that began after PM Hasina
assumed power, scores of bloggers like Rajiv Haider were hacked to death by
the fundamentalists along with secular publishers and intellectuals like
Faisal Ahmed Dipon and Abhijit Roy.

The bloggers were targeted after they demanded death penalty for the Bengali
Islamist collaborators of Pakistan army who helped their campaign of massacres
and mass rapes, mass conversions of non-Muslims under duress, all well
documented in books compiled by Barrister Tureen Afroz, who led the
prosecution of the war criminals.

But the attacks have not deterred Bangladesh’s passionate net warriors to
uphold their country’s glory and road to recovery after the devastation of the
1971 war and 20 years of debilitating military rule by two Bengali generals
Ziaur Rahman and HM Ershad, who put back Bangladesh’s “Unfinished revolution”
by decades through constitutional changes that made the country an Islamic
Republic by undermining the secular values of Bengali linguistic nationalism
that made possible our Independence over an ‘ocean of blood’.

What has unnerved Pakistan and his active netizens is the obvious lack of
ammunition they have to defend their ‘failed state’ and the matter has been
aggravated after PM Hasina’s government raised the pitch for UN recognition of
the 1971 genocide and demanded a formal apology from Pakistan.

At a time when Islamabad faces restive ethnic minorities like the Baloch and
the Pashtuns, Sindhis and Gilgit-Baltistanis, the Bangladesh example is an
uncomfortable foreboding on the wall for Pakistan’s rulers. No wonder, their
generals are almost begging India for peace and Imran Khan is confusing Japan
as Germany’s neighbours. With the Damocles Sword of the Financial Action Task
Force (FATF) hanging on Pakistan’s head, their only saving grace appears to be
a peace deal in Afghanistan which gives the Taliban a preponderant position in
running the war-ravaged country.

Bangladesh has as much strategic advantage as Pakistan but it is poor — and a
very military– approach to pitch national policy just on leveraging strategic
advantage , neglecting the hard work to develop economic and social
infrastructure for stimulating growth in economy and human development.
Bangladesh is all that Pakistan is not. Thankfully, our great leader
”Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led us to independence and abandon the
sinking ship called Pakistan at the right time.

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