13 June, 2021

Remembered Limb

Musharraf's first 'east-side' visit has troubling resonances

Remembered Limb
When Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf arrives in Bangladesh on a three-day official visit on July 29, he'll be assured of a rousing reception by the government. Ironically, though, he'll also encounter street demonstrations, reflecting the uneasy ties between Dhaka and Islamabad even 30 years after Bangladesh wrested freedom. Those who plan to protest are no doubt small political outfits—the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal and the Nirmul Committee—and thus can't possibly overshadow the Pakistani leader's first visit to this country.

But they have raised doubts about Dhaka's intentions in inviting Musharraf at a time he's under fire in his own country for subverting democracy. Many here are asking if the visit is intended to grant the military dictator legitimacy. Or if it's a signal to New Delhi of the government's displeasure with India.

The officials, of course, rubbish these doubts. But foreign minister Morshed Khan did clarify that Bangladesh doesn't want to grant legitimacy to any dictator, that "it (democracy) is entirely an internal matter of Pakistan and...

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