Hoping to Celebrate Pakistan Day in Bangladesh

Posted on March 21, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Foreign Relations, History, Sports
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Adil Najam

On March 23, 2011 , the 71st Pakistan Day will be celebrated all across Pakistan. And hopefully it will also be marked gloriously in Bangladesh where the Pakistan cricket team will play in the Cricket World Cup quarter-final match against West Indies. If Pakistan wins – and one dearly hopes it does – Pakistan will then meet either India or Australia in the semi-final at Mohali in Chandigarh, India. No matter which, what an exciting game that will be!

With the dream of an India-Pakistan Final no longer possible (although either one of them could make it to the Final) the only possibility of the two meeting in this World Cup is now in the Chandigarh Semi-Finals. The one team that must be rooting most strongly against that game ever being played must be Australia. And not just because that would require Australia to lose its Quarter-Final. Much more so because they would want to take on Pakistan again and avenge the defeat Pakistan handed them in their last group game.

But all of that comes much later. First, Pakistan has to win the Pakistan Day Quarter-Final in Mirpur, Bangladesh, on March 23. At the top of its group, erratic as ever, but in generally good form, Pakistan will enter the game as the clear favorites against the West Indies which finished fourth in its group. West Indies, too, can be erratic but brilliant and has two Cricket World Cups under its belt. But that was a long time ago; as was Pakistan’s. In some ways, this is the Quarter-Final that Pakistan would have wished for. And so must the West Indies.

But beyond cricket, the symbolism of playing this crucial game in Bangladesh on Pakistan Day is obvious. One hopes that it will be a positive symbolism: not a symbolism of a strained past, but of a reconciled future. Although we, in what is now called Pakistan, remember March 23, 1940 as ‘Pakistan Day’, it was as much (if not more) a day defined by what is now Bangladesh and by Bengalis and very much a part of our shared history. That history has been shared, but often blotted. There is a sense today, in both countries, that our shared future has to be defined by mutual respect and good will. From Pakistan it requires true reconciliation, true introspection, and an honest hand of friendship.

The symbolism of this match on this date could be a demonstration of just that. Bangladeshi cricket fans showed great affection for the Pakistan team when it practiced there recently and having been ousted from the Quarter-Finals themselves (partly) because of a defeat at the hands of the West Indies, one expects – and hopes – that the Bangladesh crowd will be rooting for Pakistan. This may be the closest that Pakistan will get to a friendly crowd for the rest of the tournament. In fact, rumor is that Bangladesh may be declaring a local holiday for the game (as it has in previous week-day matches in this World Cup).

One hopes very much that all of this will be a good omen for the Pakistan cricket team. But even more so for Pakistan-Bangladesh relations.

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29 responses to “Hoping to Celebrate Pakistan Day in Bangladesh”

  1. Ahmed says:

    Celebrating Pakistan day in Bangladesh! I am sure it is well intentioned. But, it is as sensitive to our feelings as a rapist wanting to celebrate the day of the rape with the raped. Sorry, to be dramatic. But, that is how it feels for many of us Bangladeshis. Especially, when the truth is still obfuscated in Pakistan by the usual the foreign-hand (Hindus, Indians, Jews, US, etc) did it stories. And, there is no recognition or apology for what really happened.

  2. tksbd says:

    I dont have any ill-intention neither do I doubt Adil Nijam’s intention. As you mentioned, an official apology is long overdue. So the ball is on your court. And it is the bare minimum we are asking for, if you dont believe me ask the germans or japanese.

    And for unconditional friendship, please dont force us, its not pre ’71 anymore, let us decide whether to accept or not.

    And internal politics and incidents of Pakistan are not really our business, but I hope this bad time will pass soon and you guys will be doing fine.

    reciprocal? really? You want our army to land in pakistan and kill innocent civilians? No thank you. We have no taste for that and we have seen enough blood.

    Its not that pakistanis wish bad for Bangladesh. Its just that most of you have no clue about ’71. For us that is irritating. You may find my comment sentimental, but if you come here and scratch the surface little bit you will see there is still a lot of blood. Pray for our collective amnesia.

    And for the cricket match, we will make sure Pak team can come and play safely here. And there will be some supports, jamat-minded bigots will support simply because its pakistan, some others will support because pakistan play(or used to play) good cricket…… but that dosent change anything.

  3. Maleeha Khan says:

    Well I am so Excited for the India Pakistan Match if it happens… And I believe that Pakistan would Insha Allah make in to the Final !!!

  4. sarah says:


    You said, “…pakistanis are offering loads of love and friendship ….But before doing so please ask your govt to offer an official apology…”

    First, love and friendship are unconditional so there is no option for ‘IFs and BUTs! Second, Pakistani government, on frequent basis, must offer an official apology to us Pakistanies and yes…of course, an apology to Bangladesh is long overdue. Finally, in my opinion, certain issues should be reciprocal.

  5. New york city tourist attractions says:

    I think this is time Pakistan will reach to semi final and they will lose to India.

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