Bangladesh is celebrating its golden jubilee of independence in 2021. Bangladesh and Pakistan once were the two wings of a single country. It achieved its long cherished independence from the then ruling West Pakistan in 1971. International analysts and world leaders foreseen that Bangladesh would not be able to maintain its existence in the world based on the war-torn situation.
However, from thereon Bangladesh is now considered as an economic surprise and “textbook example of development” for the world. Most surprisingly, Bangladesh is transcending towards a ‘developed state’ by 2041 whereas Pakistan is still struggling to thrive its economic, political and social dimensions. In the key socio-economic sectors, it is seemed that Bangladesh is performing far better than Pakistan (See Table below)
|GDP Per Capita||2064 USD||1130 USD|
|GDP Growth (During Pandemic)||5.2||0.4|
|Foreign Reserve||45 billion||22.6 billion|
|Average Lifetime||72 years||67 years|
|Child Mortality Rate||25 per thousand||59 per thousand|
The UN has recently acknowledged Bangladesh as a developing country; stepping up from Least Developed Country (LDCs) bloc in the time when the country is celebrating 50 years’ separation from Pakistan. The success story of Bangladesh is not sketched on the note due to the political and economic failure of Pakistan rather the prudent diplomacy of Bangladesh and long term goal oriented policy including the firm determination of sustainable development have made it so. Two sectors – RMG and Remittance – play a major part in speeding up the economic wheel. While Bangladesh is a cotton-importing country to manage its apparel sector, Pakistan being a cotton-producing country has not been able to consolidate its position in the sector. In addition, another burning issue is that Pakistan is primarily driven by “defense diplomacy”, while Bangladesh places priority on “economic diplomacy”. For instance, Pakistan uses at least 4% of its GDP in military expenditures, while Bangladesh spends moderately 1.9% in its military security. In this way, Bangladesh has become capable of maintaining a steady development in both military and human security.
In the governance sector, Bangladesh is performing much better than Pakistan in achieving a viable democracy and e-governance. Though both countries have experienced hefty immersion of military in politics even when civilian governments were apparently in power, Bangladesh has become capable of being politically stable since the ninth parliamentary election in 2008. On the other hand, Pakistan, with a civilian Prime Minister and an elected Parliament, is always striving for a true democracy in nature. Furthermore, Bangladesh has made great strides on the E-Government Development Index (EGDI). The country ranked 119th scoring 0.5189 on the EGDI in 2020 whereas Pakistan was at the second lowest in South Asia positioned at 153rd followed by Afghanistan.
Across all political, economic and social sectors, Bangladesh has developed an “exemplary development model” for the world. Compared with Pakistan, Bangladesh upholds it to a position whereas Pakistan is struggling to keep up its socio-economic development. The ‘bottomless basket’ case is now a role model for the world from where Pakistan has much to learn as well.
*Shaikh Abdur Rahman is an independent researcher. He graduated in International Relations from Rajshahi University. He is interested in Human Security issues, South Asian Politics and Economic Diplomacy of Bangladesh. He can be reached at- [email protected]