LAHORE- Anti-Pakistan protests followed by the execution of Islamist leader Abdul Qadir Mulla have put at stake billions of dollars’ investment of Pakistani businessmen in Bangladesh, sources in the business community told The Nation on Wednesday.
Many Pakistani tycoons are left with no other option except to pack up quickly and leave the turmoil-hit country to save their assets.
“Most of Pakistani investors have already decided to return to Pakistan along with their capital invested in Bangladesh. Perhaps they have already reaped the fruits of business windfall there and are now willing to shift their investments to their own country,” said a leading industrialist and member of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the condition of anonymity.
According to him, more than ten thousand Pakistanis had invested billions of dollars in Bangladesh during the last couple of decades. Most of these businessmen had invested in the textile, leather and garments industries due to low cost of doing business, he added.
Economists say that another reason for Pakistani businessmen’s plans to leave Bangladesh is a new chance being offered by EU markets in the form of Generalised Scheme of Preference (GSP Plus).
Presently, Pakistani investors are facing a state of constant uncertainty in Bangladesh, fearing irreversible setback to their business due to revengeful politics of Awami League government. Security concerns and worst type of energy crisis in the country had forced Pakistani businessmen to invest in BD.
Since strikes in Bangladesh were affecting the industry’s production at an unprecedented scale, there would be no need for Pakistani investors to keep their investment abroad, especially in BD where they don’t feel safe and secure, sources argued. They further said that the politics in Dhaka under the leadership of Prime Minister Hasina Wajid created an anti-Pakistan environment.
This was mainly aimed at appeasing India and finding a cover-up for failure of her government’s policies. Political pundits say that as the elections are fast approaching in BD, the nervousness of Awami League government is growing and it fears that people would reject it in the next general elections. Hence, they found it convenient to follow Indian BJP model to use hate-Pakistan election campaign in the impending elections in BD.
Awami League government’s decision to hastily execute death penalty against Bangladesh Islamist leader Abdul Qadir Mulla was also meant to appease their Indian mentors. Such an impulsive scheme has created a frightening situation for Pakistani investors who are also considered as out-groups in BD with a stigma of representing Pakistan as a rival state.
Sources say that the recent anti-Pakistan protests and strikes have threatened to the lives and property of Pakistani investors in Bangladesh. Pak businessmen are facing uncertainty in the wake of tense situation there after Dhaka’s decision to hang Abdul Qadir Mulla and anti-Pakistan statements made by Prime Minister Hasina Wajid.
Bangladesh had executed Abdul Qadir Mullah, who was convicted of alleged atrocities committed during the 1971 war of independence with Pakistan. He was considered loyal to Pakistani state. Pakistan’s National Assembly on December 16 had passed a resolution against the hanging of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh leader Abdul Qadir Mulla with majority votes. The death penalty to Abdul Qadir Mulla also triggered protests across Pakistan to condemn the hanging.
In reaction, thousands of charged protesters entered the diplomatic zone outside the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka to protest Pakistan’s reactions on the execution of war crimes convict.
While execution of Abdul Qadir created a political turmoil in BD, anti-Pakistan illustrations are deliberately created by BD Prime Minister Hasina Wajid, who wants to cash on anti-Pakistan feelings to win the elections.