By Pathik Hasan
Bangladesh got its independence from Pakistan in 1971. Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan from 1947 to 1971. Bangladesh had to separate itself from Pakistan due to various reasons through the prolonged independent movement. After the hardcore struggle, it placed in the world map as a sovereign state. During this period, the people of Bangladesh basically faced a serious exploitation and genocidal activities committed by the Pakistan army. They had created a huge number of influx of refugees towards India. According to Bangladesh government, nearly 3milion people were martyred and 2.5 lacks women were raped by Pakistani military and its local associates.
After a long and bloody struggle of nine months, East Pakistan emerged on the world map as a completely independent state called Independent Bangladesh. Since then, after a long 50 years, Bangladesh’s position and acceptance has increased with every country in the world. Everyone around the world is praising the sustainable development of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is being recognized as a rising star in South Asia. Bangladesh is improving so much today, said an economist in Pakistan. Abid Hassan said in an article in The News International, a Pakistani newspaper, that Pakistan may seek financial assistance from Bangladesh by May 2030. The former World Bank economist has just predicted the future. If Bangladesh can pay 20 million US dollars to Sri Lanka, waive the IMF’s Bangladeshi share of money from Somalia and Sudan, help Indonesia with Covid-19 medical equipment, shelter a large number of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, but also financially in Pakistan. Can help. This requires a change in Pakistan’s mentality. Bangladesh is a humanitarian state in South Asia.
Its foreign policy is friendship to all, not enmity with anyone. Pakistan, which exploited Bangladesh for 24 years, today lags far behind in socio-economic fields. In an interview, a Pakistani journalist asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to make Pakistan like Bangladesh. The Canada-based International Forum for Rights and Security, a think tank, recently published a report on Bangladesh and Pakistan. It has been shown there that Bangladesh is ahead in all areas of the index. Many Indian economists have called on all countries to follow the Bangladesh model in the development of South Asia. Former Pakistani ambassador to the United States Hossain Haqqani has said that Pakistan carried out the worst genocide in Bangladesh in 1971. But the Pakistani government will apologize for the genocide, so far there is no such indication. He made the remarks at a webinar organized by the Bangladesh Embassy in Brussels in late March 2021.
The people of Pakistan should call on their government to apologize for all the atrocities that took place in Bangladesh in 1971.
The people of Pakistan are also sympathetic to the genocide that took place during the liberation war of Bangladesh. Although the government of Pakistan distortedly presented Pakistani textbooks and various publications. But in this age of globalization, people are much more aware. We can also know the views of Pakistani citizens by the welfare of social media. They also want the government of Pakistan to formally apologize to Bangladesh for their brutal deeds in 1971. Pakistan committed genocide in 1971, the organizations working on genocide in the world admits it. Pakistan should apologize to Bangladesh for the way in which Pakistan attacked innocent Bengalis in 1971 and killed them. Pakistan should understand everything and normalize relations with all the countries of South Asia. Even in this corona, leaders from all over South Asia came to Bangladesh in March on the occasion of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence. But no Pakistani leader came. Pakistan has just officially sent a congratulatory message. Pakistan’s highest sincerity was needed here. On December 16, Bangladesh will celebrate the golden jubilee of her victory day. I think this is a golden opportunity for Pakistan. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan can visit Bangladesh on December 16 to mark the Victory Day and formally apologize. I firmly believe that Bangladesh will take it in a positive way because Bangladesh knows how to forgive. Bangladesh is going to be recognized as an emerging power in South Asia. Many senior citizens of Pakistan can put pressure on the government of Pakistan in this regard. The time has come to realize the heinous act that Pakistan did. The government of Pakistan should understand why the burden of this past act of Pakistan will carry the future of Pakistan. Although Imran Khan used to talk a lot about this issue before he became the Prime Minister, Imran Khan is not able to do anything as the army has a big role in the politics of the country. Yet it is not good for the military and the civilian government to ignore Pakistan’s public opinion. Pakistan should realize this now. The time has come to formally apologize to Bangladesh. Because the souls of three million martyrs and the cries of losing the dignity of about two and a half million mothers and sisters can still be heard. We hope Pakistan will apologize to Bangladesh. Pakistan should apologize for the injustice it did to the Bengali nation in 1971.
The problem is why the members of Pakistan’s civil society, the young generation of Pakistan, the expatriate Pakistanis living abroad, the dissidents of Pakistan can understand it but the elite powerful people of Pakistan can understand it. Asking forgiveness to someone after doing wrong does not mean being small, but expressing oneself as a symbol of greatness and humility. If France and Germany can apologize to Rwanda after all this time, why can’t Pakistan apologize to Bangladesh.
If Europe’s two biggest former colonial powers – France and Germany – can do it, then no one else should have a problem doing it. Pakistan should realize this. Although Pakistan is too late, time is not running out. Since Bangladesh won on 16 December 1971, it was on 16 December that Pakistan could formally apologize to Bangladesh. Still, Bangladesh will get some consolation. This should be realized by the government of Pakistan. Because they need Bangladesh’s help and support in reviving their fragile economy and in various international issues. The sooner the Pakistani government realizes this, the better for them. If Pakistan wants to take steps to improve relations with Bangladesh, it must apologize for the 1971 war crimes. Only then is it possible to advance diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries. After half a century, Pakistanis cannot forget their past. Pakistan will have to apologize unconditionally if it wants to move the relationship forward. No country can move forward forgetting their past.
*MD Pathik Hasan is a Dhaka based NGO worker, freelance writer