By Sikander Hayat
If predictions of climate change and rising water levels true than about 50% of Bangladesh is going to be submerged permanently with the global weather changes happening. The population of Bangladesh is about the same as Pakistan and in case East Pakistan had not seceded from Pakistan in 1971, the present day Pakistan would have been swamped by the climate refugees from Bangladesh.
It was a blessing in disguise that we parted our way pretty early after the independence from Britain otherwise being the other half of the same country, Pakistan would have collapsed under the weight of refugees in such large numbers.
As it happens it will be India, which will bear the brunt and all those people who would have migrated to West Pakistan in the unified Pakistan will now do so towards India.
The states of West Bengal & Assam will be the biggest recipients of any such migration which will deepen the scarcity of resources and may trigger new local conflicts. India is already the largest recipient of the migrants of Bangladeshi origin. The political parties like BJP, Shiv Sena, and other organisations like World Hindu Council (WHP) are fuming with anger and rage against this development.
As both the State of West Bengal and the Sate of Assam have already got sizable Bengali populations, any further migration will result in serious demographic changes in these two states.
There were plenty of reasons for the secession of East Pakistan from the West Pakistan and plenty of books have been written about those reasons but the results of this event had not been anticipated. There is a law of unintended consequences and people who designed the separation of East Pakistan might have to study the unintended consequences in great detail.
I personally think that it was the original sin to have a country with two parts more than 1000 miles apart as from the very day independence was granted it should have been to three states not two. These three states should have been the State of India, State of Pakistan and a confederation of Bangladesh & Assam.
This was the original plan put forward by the philosopher poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal Lahori and had a wide spread appeal among the Muslim political class but then movement for the independence of Pakistan had a life of its own. Pakistan got independence from Britain but with East Bengal as part of it.
This development, although very much celebrated in the beginning was soon to be turned into a logistical nightmare of utmost proportions.
Progress of the newly independent country was slow due to this problem and West Pakistan was accused by the East Pakistanis of swindling its resources and not paying proper attention to the needs of the East Pakistanis.
Problem was solved in Dec 1971, when East Pakistan broke away from West Pakistan and became Bangladesh, with Dhaka as its capital.
The present day situation should have been established in 1947 to avoid the bloodshed which always accompanies such painful separation.
This is the month of December and as a Pakistani, I ask for forgiveness from the people of Bangladesh for all the intended and unintended sins of my countrymen and wish them the happiness and prosperity which a nation like Bangladesh deserves.