Monday, 28 December 2015

Diplomatic controversy, editorial Daily Times Pakistan

Diplomatic controversy, editorial Daily Times Pakistan  
The recall of a diplomat by the Pakistani authorities from its High Commission in Dhaka after her alleged involvement in terror financing has created an embarrassing situation. Pakistan has recalled Farina Arshad, one of its diplomats stationed in Dhaka, after allegations against her of financing terrorist activities in Bangladesh.

According to Bangladeshi media reports, Farina, Second Secretary at the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka developed alleged links with Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) operative Idris Sheikh. After a thorough probe, the Bangladesh government earlier this week had asked the Pakistan government to withdraw the diplomat. Pakistan, however, has been in a state of denial. Pakistan’s foreign ministry has rejected the charges, saying Farina was constantly being harassed by Bangladeshi authorities. Pakistan has conveyed that an incessant and orchestrated media campaign was launched against her on spurious charges linking her with so-called terrorists. But remaining in a state of denial is not a solution to the problem.

Over the years, Pakistan already has developed differences with the incumbent government in Bangladesh. Pakistan needs to understand the sensitivity of the issue. Instead of tendering an apology, Pakistan has been trying to prove the Bangladesh government and media wrong. We have already incurred huge losses due to our involvement in proxy wars. We cannot invite more such troubles by remaining silent over such wrongdoings.

This is not the first time that a Pakistani diplomat has been found guilty of abetting Islamist terrorists. Earlier this year, Mohammad Mazhar Khan, an attaché at the Pakistani High Commission, was recalled after Bangladeshi intelligence found evidence of links to terror groups in the country.

It is sad that Pakistan has been consistently interfering in the internal affairs of Bangladesh. That shows that Pakistan is playing with fire again. We can no more afford such proxy wars in our neighbouring states. We have already seen the results of having relations with the Afghan Taliban who have become the biggest threat not only to Pakistan but also to the entire world.

It is high time Pakistan reviewed its foreign policy and worked on improving relations with neighbouring countries. East Bengal played a key role in the creation of Pakistan and its separation was a heart-rending story. The latest diplomatic controversy can only serve to freshen old wounds. Pakistan needs to avoid such diplomatic adventures. A thorough probe should be held into the incident and anyone involved in terror financing in Bangladesh must be punished. The government needs to take the Bangladesh government into confidence and commit to jointly handling the threat of terror in the region. *

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