Climate change: the cold war

The article ‘Feeling the heat’ in your January edition highlighted some positive developments from the Katowice summit on climate change, yet despite this, there was a subtle undertone of pessimism which I share when it comes to this particular topic. In the end, it always seems to be the poorest developing countries which feel they are being asked to deliver too much, while the wealthy industrialised nations concede too little, so that a kind of stalemate sets in. The United States’ refusal to tolerate a system under which developed and developing countries are treated differently is both foolish and unfair, as they clearly have different needs – though climate finance should help in this regard. That said, they all have to play their part in reducing emissions; no one can be totally exempt. As Canada’s environment minister Catherine McKenna said, ‘Pollution knows no borders. You need every country at the table’. Hear, hear.

Dan Whittaker


A justified decision

Dear Editor

I have not previously been a regular reader of Asian Affairs but your coverage of Bangladesh in the December issue is worthy of accolades and I will make a point of reading the magazine every month from now on.

Many people in the west are unaware of the scale of the genocide perpetrated by Pakistan’s military in Bangladesh in 1971. The exact number of people murdered is still not known but it runs to millions. Rape was also used as an instrument of suppression by these criminals who encouraged their soldiery by claiming that babies born as a result of rape would grow up to be ‘good Muslims’ as opposed to the ‘bad Muslims’ who supported the Awami League and wanted social justice for the people of Bangladesh. The facts about this genocide can be found in Dr M A Hasan’s book Beyond Denial: The Evidence of a Genocide, which first brought my attention to the horrors of that dreadful period.

The continuing economic and social progress of the people of Bangladesh under the stewardship of the Awami League proves conclusively that the separation from West Pakistan in 1971 was fully justified, especially when comparing the two states today. Sheikh Hasina’s father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, known to his people as Bangabandhu, was the Awami League’s leader in 1971. He was assassinated in 1975 along with members of his family but Sheikh Hasina survived because she was out of the country at that time. Thank God for that mercy and long may she continue to serve the interests of her people.

J. T. Fleming


Corridor’s pros and cons

Dr Pippa Virdee extols the benefits to Sikhs living in India of the visa-free Kartarpur Corridor, which is now being constructed and will allow them to visit one of the most holy places of their religion. But Dr Virdee is not blind tothe possibility of less high-minded reasons behind this corridor, which, as she says, could just prove to be a ‘vanity project’ for Prime Minister Imran Khan. It could also have benefits for the military of Pakistan, helping to improve their image as they have contact and interaction with Sikh devotees in the Corridor, and there is also the worry of security, for example Kalistan sympathisers linked with the holy place of Nankana Sahib in Pakistan.

Mrs S. Reddy

PLACE OF DEVOTION: Sikh pilgrims at the shrine for Guru Nanak Dev in Kartarpur, Pakistan

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