Bangladesh vs Pakistan: Battleground Sri Lanka

Sheikh Shahariar Zaman
Published : 06:00, May 16, 2019 | Updated : 11:16, May 20, 2019

Sri Lankan soldiers patrol a road of Hettipola on top of an armored vehicle, after a mob attack in a mosque in the nearby village of Kottampitiya, Sri Lanka May 14, 2019. REUTERSAn opinion piece on how Bangladesh tackled Islamist radicals ran by Sri Lanka's 'Daily Mirror' has sparked a rather angry reaction from Pakistan which termed it as ‘unprofessional journalism’.
Dhaka says it’s keenly observing the situation with a government source describing it, as ‘a Bangladesh-Pakistan battle on Sri Lankan grounds’.
Colombo-based journalist PK Balachandran wrote the article titled ‘How Bangladesh has kept Islamic radicals in check’ where he described how the current Awami League regime has “mastered the art of balancing secularism and Islam and has curbed radicalism and terrorism with a mixture of guile and firmness.”
The writer gave several Pakistan references such as what role they played in sustaining political Islam to get back in Bangladesh or their attachment with Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (BJeI).
“Pakistan also played a role in instigating and sustaining political Islam to get back Bangladesh which it lost in 1971,” or “Pakistan’s ISI, waiting in the wings, tied up with BJeI to turn Bangladesh into a launching pad to stage attacks in neighbouring India” are some of the references the writer gave in the article.
On May 15 (Wednesday), the Lankan newspaper published a Pakistan rebuttal of the references.
“The groundless article has probably passed as the lowest possible nadir of unprofessional journalism,” the Pakistan rejoinder said.
It accussed the writer of unsubstantiated and twisted facts.
A Bangladesh government source, who is closely monitoring the development, said, “The article is about how Bangladesh has contained radicalization and Pakistani references did come up.”
But, the way Pakistan has reacted is out of line, he said.
“It seems that it is a battle between Bangladesh and Pakistan and the battleground is Sri Lanka,” he added.
Following the execution of several Jamaat leaders for 1971 war crimes, Pakistan strongly protested the actions and interfered in the domestic affairs of Bangladesh.