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4 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Dhaka happy with pope visit

HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN
Dhaka happy with pope visit

The government is satisfied with the just-concluded three-day visit of Pope Francis while the diplomats described the visit as a good one. The visit of the leader of 120 crore Catholics across the world has been able to attract more global attention regarding the plight of persecuted Rohingya community, said the government officials as well as serving and former diplomats. The trip also helped in terms of Bangladesh’s image as a country of religious harmony on the face of the globe.

“His Holiness Pope’s visit raised Bangladesh’s high credentials as a land of religious freedom and interfaith harmony, at the global scale,” Mohammad Khorshed Alam Khastagir, Director General of the Europe Wing of the Foreign Ministry, told The Independent yesterday. “This visit was agreed long before the Rohingya crisis was unfolded. We kept our full confidence on His Holiness’ wisdom and consciousness about how and when to address the Rohingya issue,” he said. The government officials said that there was no pressure on the part of Bangladesh on pope to use the word Rohingya as Dhaka could understand the difficulty of the Catholic leader in dealing with the issue.

But, eventually, the pope addressed the issue uttering the word Rohingya in a big and passionate way in Bangladesh, they said. However, they added that it would have had a ‘negative’ impression among the people of the country should the pope did not use the word Rohingya.

The officials said that the visit was planned long before October, 2016 when the ongoing Rohingya crisis was not there and the objective of the visit was to brighten the image of the country following the Holey Artisan Bakery incident and talk about issues like migration and climate change.

But, they said that due to the Rohingya crisis all other issues went to ‘back burners’. “We already have global opinion with us regarding Rohingya crisis. His visit to Bangladesh from Myanmar has reinforced it given his worldwide influence,” said ambassador Humayun Kabir, a former secretary of the foreign ministry.

“The visit was a value addition with regard to attention of the world to the plight of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas,” he said. “It was a good visit. Pope’s support for Rohingyas is a good thing for Bangladesh,” former foreign secretary Touhid Hossain said.

“He used the word Rohingya in an improvised statement. I would feel good if the issue was in his original statement,” he said. The former top diplomat also said, “The impact would have been much better if the pope visited Cox’s Bazar even for half an hour.”

A top diplomat requesting anonymity said, “There is no doubt that the pope has a huge influence in the Christian-majority countries which are very influential in the global politics. So, his passionate statement regarding Rohingyas will resonate in the Christian-majority countries including that of Russia, who is siding with Myanmar.” The former diplomats concluded by saying that now it is up to the skills of the country’s diplomats as to how they will use the visit of the pope in resolving the Rohingya crisis.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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