Pushed Bangladesh into secession : Says ousted leader Nawaz Sharif
Comparing his situation with the revolt of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the recently ousted prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif has said his country pushed Bangladesh to break away.
Speaking to lawyers at the Punjab House in Islamabad on Tuesday, he claimed he had been ‘persecuted’ over the years and ‘pushed towards revolt’, the Daily Dawn reported.
“Sharif drew parallels between what he considers to be his own ‘cornering’ by the state and the events that led to the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan,” the Pakistani newspaper wrote.
“Sheikh Mujibur Rehman (sic) was not a rebel, but was made into one,” it quoted Sharif as saying, and referencing the situation following which Bangabandhu called for Bangladesh’s War of Independence from Pakistan.
The then Pakistani government did not hand powers to the Awami League headed by Bangabandhu even after it won a landslide victory with an absolute majority of 160 seats in the National Assembly, all from the then East Pakistan in 1970 Pakistan General Election.
“What has been done to me, and to all the elected prime ministers in this country’s history, is not correct,” Sharif said, referring to the fact that no prime minister in the history of Pakistan could complete his or her term.
“What kind of return for service to the nation is this?” the thrice-ousted prime minister asked.
After his election as prime minister for the third time, the PML-N leader had to resign on July 28 last year following a Supreme Court verdict that disqualified him from holding office over undisclosed assets in a case based on the leaked Panama Papers.
Sharif’s two previous stints in power were also cut short, including by a military coup in 1999, but he returned from exile to win a resounding victory in general elections in 2013.
Following his latest unceremonious ouster, he has invoked the spectre of 1971 several times, according to the Dawn.
About the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan, Sharif again said: “The Bengalis had a central role in the effort to create Pakistan, but we did not treat them well and separated them from us.”
For the fate the country has faced, he blamed Pakistan’s failure to bring the military dictators of the country to justice for their misdeeds, like the atrocities faced by Bangladeshis in 1971.
To back his claim, he asked the Pakistanis to read the report by the Justice Hamoodur Rehman Commission, terming it ‘a very truthful and clear’ report on the creation of Bangladesh after a detailed analysis.
“…but we did not even read it,” Sharif lamented and added, “Had we acted on it, today’s Pakistan would have been different and the kinds of games that are being played would not have been played.”
The Commission reportedly recommended action against the then Pakistani generals for the 1971 War, but no action was taken and only parts of the report were declassified in 2000.
“No court that can try a dictator has ever come into existence in Pakistan,” Sharif said.