Dr Ejaz Hussain speaks at Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh

At the seminar titled ‘Re-visiting Military Intervention in Pakistan’s Politics: An Agency Perspective’ organized by the Department of Government and Politics of Jahangirnagar University, Dr Ejaz sought to explain why the military intervenes in Pakistan’s politics. Dr

With regard to this core question, it is maintained, theoretically as well as empirically, that the military has intervened in Pakistan’s politics for its own political interests. The military instrumentalizes its political power to maximize its economic interests as an independent actor. Moreover, he argued, quite contrary to the existing structuralist, legitimist, path-dependent, generalist, instrumentalist and conspiracy works on Pakistan’s politics and the state, that it is the military agency- to make things happen-, not structure/culture, which causes a coup/intervention.

These conclusions were underpinned by references to both qualitative and quantitative findings, through an in-depth investigation of the case ofPakistan. Besides, it was argued that the generalizations generated out ofPakistan’s case may help explain military intervention inBangladesh’s politics. In comparison, the speaker posited that the military is still the principal actor in bothPakistanandBangladesh’s politics and economy, if not the society.

At another seminar titled ‘How Bangladesh is Constructed in Pakistan? The Way Forward?’ organized by Department of Politics and Governance of GONO University, Dr Hussain argued , on empirically grounds, that Bangladesh is understood and projected ‘negatively’ in Pakistan. This negative ontology can be explained, at least, in three categories: 1) process of de-historization (i.e. ‘Pakistan’s population is 30m in 1947.’), 2) textual negativity (i.e. ‘Bengalis are ‘half-Hindus’.), 3) and sociological negativity (i.e. ‘Bengalis are short-statured and inferior.’).

In other words,Bangladesh, ontologically, is largely negatively constructed by both the state elite and the society at large. This de-humanizing phenomenon still exists since Pakistan state, if not the society, is past-oriented. Paradoxically, during the course of discussion, it was realized that Pakistan is also constructed negatively by Bangladesh state and the society in general. The memories of 1971 are expressed in both bitter words and wonderful statues. It was suggested that in order to move forward, people-to-people contact is a must.

The youth of the two countries should make conscious efforts to get connected (at least virtually) and exchange ideas and share cultural and political values. Also, the state-to-state relationship needs re-thinking especially on the part ofPakistansince the issue of ‘apology’ looms large there. In the speaker’s view,Pakistangovernment should apologize to the people ofBangladeshfor the events of 1971. Until this is done, normalization and economic interaction cannot be properly realized.

Besides the seminars, Dr Ejaz formally lectured masters and bachelors students at Jahangirnagar University. One lectured titled ‘Re-visiting 1971: Bridging Gaps’ focused on analyzing 1971 critically and comparatively. Also, the guest speaker had an informal discussion with young journalists representing national dailies such as Daily Star.