Should Pakistan Apologize for 1971? | Q&A

Dec 2012
By M.A.

During a six-hour visit to Dhaka, where Hina Rabbani Khar was planning on inviting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the D-8 summit scheduled to start in Islamabad today (December 22 2012), her Bangladesh counterpart, Dipu Moni, decided to make a request that Pakistan is becoming all too familiar with.

Apologize for the 1971 war crimes.

This is not the first time that Bangladesh has asked Pakistan to apologize. As usual, Pakistan has answered in part-apathy, part-irritation, by telling Bangladesh to “bury the past”.

At Tanqeed, we think it’s a fair request, and we think our politicians in Pakistan should consider it seriously–especially since Pakistan is no stranger to the politics of apologies (remember Salala?). At minimum that means engaging with the demand, for example by investigating what actually happened (an exercise that has still not really taken place, given that we only have access to a supplementary report from the commission that was tasked with the investigation, and given that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto put plenty of pressure on those involved to report a favorable picture). At most, it means issuing the apology, because formal apologies from states engaged with atrocities can be a powerful opportunity for the victims of 1971 to move forward.

Unfortunately, Tanqeed can only put the request forward–which is what we did, by calling up representatives from a handful of Pakistan’s major political parties, and ask them whether Pakistan should issue an apology.

The answers are telling. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) all talk about “moving on”. The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) says they are willing to sit down and talk through 1971 with Bangladesh, if the Bengalis wanted to have a conversation. And Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) says that Pakistan should “under no circumstances” apologize, and demands, instead, that the apology should come from the Bangladesh and Indian governments. Leaders from Jamaat-e-Islami’s sister party in Bangladesh are currently on trial for the 1971 atrocities.

Read on, to learn more.

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4 Responses to Should Pakistan Apologize for 1971? | Q&A

  1. Inamur Rahman on Dec 2012 at 10:45 AM

    A good initiative. The politicians in Pakistan, especially the present political parties will not agree to apolagize .

  2. Ryan on Jan 2013 at 8:08 AM

    Interesting comment. Thanks MaS. I have to admit hinavg enough trouble struggling to grasp the inane extremes of Christianity much less exploring the depths of Islam. How did we all get swept up in this fundamentalist extremism of our respective faiths?Imagine if the Muslim world had never had oil but, instead, a favourable climate and an abundance of fertile lands and other non-carbon resources? Then, my friend, you would have to struggle with the concept of a region, a faith, a culture able to develop its own style of democratic institutions and prosperity free of Western influence. Take that back a few centuries and try to imagine where the Islamic world might be today. I don’t care if its your prophet or mine – somebody made us really, really stupid.

  3. Stanislav on Jan 2013 at 4:27 AM

    a very very sitpud sitpud analysis full of hatredouldbanglash is a bery very dear brotherly country with pakistan.we pakistani love bangladeshi nation,will love them for ever.but this indian propaganda machine would be unsuccessful INSHALLAH.they should understand this was a cricket match.long live pakistan and long live bangladesh.

  4. mohsin ali khan on Feb 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Pakistani politicians are foolest politician. Ignorant. people who believe that pakistani army did nothing wrong in Bangladesh should check out some international resources. There are videos and interviews of people in youtube. Just see the pictures of atrocities. They have burnt villages, one after another because some guyz of that village was in Mukti Bahini and people from those villages help them. So to deal with it, the pakistani army was killing everyone. How funny!!! How fool. Pakistani people should apologize. I live outside Bangladesh. I meet pakistani people of new generation. I dont have any hartret for them. But if I find anyone who thinks that pakistani army did the right thing in 1971 in Bangladesh, keep in mind, I will be hating him with all my heart.

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