Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir has announced that he will return the award Bangladesh bestowed on his father for his contributions during the Liberation War, reports bdnews24.com.
He claimed the award was actually a “deception” by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government, who he blamed for straining ties with Pakistan.
Mir made the announcement during his show Capital Talk on Thursday.
In 2013, the Bangladesh government honored 69 foreign nationals for supporting Bangladesh during the 1971 war with Pakistan.
Hamid’s father Waris Mir and 12 other Pakistanis were among them.
“She (Sheikh Hasina) wants to cut off all ties with Pakistan which means that award was a deception. I believe we should say thanks and return this deception to Hasina Wazed and that’s what I will do,” said Mir.
Late professor and journalist Waris Mir penned a series of reports in Urdu newspaper ‘Daily Jang’ on the atrocities carried out by Pakistani soldiers on Bengalis in then East Pakistan on the night of Mar 25, 1971.
He had also visited Bangladesh with a group of students.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, daughter of the nation’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, conferred the Friend of Bangladesh Liberation War award on Waris posthumously in 2013.
Mir, anchor of Pakistan’s Geo News, had received the award on behalf of his father.
“Muslim League was established in Dhaka. So the relation between Bangladesh and Pakistan should be good,” Mir said.
“We were approached in 2013 saying that Bangladesh wanted to award some of our elders with an eye on improving the bilateral relations. My father was one of them. Those who opposed the military raids by Pakistan on Bangladesh in 1971 were given the award.”
The 13 Pakistani nationals accepted the invitation believing that Sheikh Hasina will improve Pakistan-Bangladesh relations, he said.
“But I later saw that Hasina Wazed made relations worse instead of improving it. She will not even send the Bangladesh cricket team to Pakistan. Now it seems that the awards given to us were a deception.”
Mir came to Dhaka to receive the award skipping a ceremony in Pakistan that conferred the highest civilian award on him for advocating freedom of press.
He had told Bangladeshi reporters then that Pakistan would also try 1971 war criminals some day.
Bangladesh’s relationship with Pakistan started to deteriorate further last year when Pakistan broke diplomatic protocol and reacted to the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami leaders who had committed war crimes in 1971.
Bangladesh boycotted the 19th SAARC summit held in Islamabad in protest.
Many quarters have since urged Dhaka to seek damages from Islamabad and even suggested severing of all diplomatic ties.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in last year’s October brushed off the possibility of cutting diplomatic ties with the neighbour.
“Diplomatic relations will continue with Pakistan, so will the conflicts,” she said.