ISLAMABAD, JAN 20 (DNA) – Pakistan and Bangladesh should build relations through cultural diplomacy, as both countries share common religion, customs, cuisines, art and history.
These were the remarks made by former High Commissioner of Pakistan to Bangladesh, Mr. Rafiuzzaman Siddiqui,while speaking at a webinar “Pakistan–Bangladesh Relations” organized by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), earlier today. Speakers included former Ambassador to Indonesia,Ms. NasimFirdaus, Professor Shahiduzzaman,international security and foreign policy analystfrom Dhaka, and Mr. Imtiaz Gul, Executive Director of CRSS.
He added that Sheikh Hasina can play a critical role in bringing the two countries together by resolving the mutual issues. Trade cooperation, open borders and cultural exchanges can help in enhancing the relationship.
Former Ambassador NasimFirdaus said that the first step in building the relationship between the two countries is to recognize the happenings of the past. She considered Pakistan’s apology to Bangladesh about the events of 1971 significant because the general public is in the dark and it is essential to give them an understanding of those events. She added that negotiations, hearing each other’s grievances and cultural exchanges can be helpful but the major role has to be played by the policy makers.
Professor Shahiduzzaman stated that Pakistan should understand Bangladesh’s geopolitical realities and should consider the geostrategic limitations posed to Bangladesh. He emphasized on the need for Pakistan to improve people to people relations. He added that Pakistan should contest India for creating opportunities of public communication and cultural diplomacy. Moreover, Pakistan should remove the bureaucratic hurdles that impede the tourism industry from flourishing. In his closing remarks he said that it is not possible to bypass the geopolitical factors but Pakistan can form geopolitical friendly strategies for example, geostrategic initiatives like strengthening Bangladesh-China relations.
Ambassador Rafiuzzaman closed the conversation by stating that Pakistan should consider accepting past mistakes to strengthen its status as a responsible state in the region.
Ambassador Nasim appreciated Ambassador Rafiuzzaman’s stance and stated that this move can act as the foundation of brotherly relations between the two neighbors.=DNA