Fifty years after achieving independence through a bloody civil war, a Pakistan flag on their soil is not likely to amuse Bangladeshis.
Now a huge controversy has rattled the Pakistan cricket team which had hoisted their national flag during a practice session at the Mirpur ground in Bangladesh capital Dhaka this week.
As the picture of the Pakistani flag beside the nets on Mirpur spread on social media , Bangladeshis erupted in anger.
” The Pakistanis must apologise for raising their flag on our soil,” said Barrister Tureen Afroz, who led the prosecution in the 1971 War Crimes Trials and later came out with a book on Pakistani atrocities during the eight-month long civil war.
Some even say if the Pakistani team management does not apologise , the tour should be called off.
” We can’t have cricket at the cost of our national honour. How can we we tolerate a Pakistani flag on our soil ? It is like insulting the memory of three million martyrs,” said Kazi Mukul, general secretary of Ekattorer Ghatak o Dalal Nirmul Committee, whose campaign led to the War Crimes Trials.
Some senior leaders of the pro-Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami were hanged when found guilty of involvement in the 1971 atrocities.
The Pakistan team is on a tour to Bangladesh to play three T20Is and two Tests, starting November 19.
The controversy erupted after Pakistan Cricket Board’s official media handle posted pictures of the practice session with Pakistani flag planted besides the nets during the team training at Mirpur Stadium.
The Pakistan team management claimed that planting the national flag was just something that had been by their head coach, Saqlain Mushtaq.
Mushtaq had started planting the national flag during training to boost the spirit of his cricketers, a team liasion staff said.
The former off-spinner did the same during their recent ICC T20 World Cup 2021 campaign in the UAE where they faced an embarrassing defeat in the semi-finals played against Australia.
But Bangladeshis have seen it as an”exceptionally arrogant gesture” on the Golden Jubilee of their hard-earned independence.
Immediately after the pictures were posted on Twitter, the Bangladeshi fans began attacking Pakistan’s cricket team. “Go back Pakistan. Bangladesh should stop the series. Ban any kind of Pakistani flag in Bangladesh,” one user wrote.
Another user wrote: “Different countries have come to #Bangladesh innumerable times, many matches have been played by practicing.But neither party needed to practice burying their national flag on the ground.But why did #Pakistan do that….What does it indicate”.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon Pakistan to come up with a formal apology for the war crimes by its army during the 1971 Liberation War.
She has refused to visit Pakistan unless Islamabad extended an unambiguous and formal apology for the War Crimes.
The Pakistani military atrocities are part of a traumatised national memory , captured by a recent documentary ” Rising Silence” by Leesa Gazi, which details the serial rapes of nearly quarter of a million women in just eight months.
Gazi spoke to 80 such women , many of whom were subsequently abandoned by their families and left to fend for themselves .
Hasina’s father Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, the country’s founder, announced an extensive rehabitation programme for these rape victims and called them “Biranganas” ( brave ladies).
The Liberation War Museum in Dhaka is a repository of the bloody memories with separate sections reminding the people of the massacres, mass rapes and extensive arson like burning down of whole villages by the Pakistani army and their local collaborators.
But Bangladeshis and their leader Sheikh Hasina take great pride in the country’s phenomenal economic and human development progress which has taken South Asia’s youngest nation even past giant neighbour India in some cases like per capita income and per capita GDP growth.
Hasina recounts with gratitude India’s role in the Liberation War.While PM Modi was the guest of honour at the Golden Jubilee celebrations in March this year, despite radical Islamist protest, President Ram Kovind will be tbe chief guest at the Victory Day Parade on 16th December.