“Apology to all”
THIS is with reference to the lead report, ‘PPP apologising to Balochistan for excesses’ (Feb 25). Demonstrating the qualities of a national leader with political courage, the co-chairman of the PPP has apologised to the people of Balochistan on behalf of the people of Pakistan, for the “atrocities and injustices committed against the Baloch people”.
The statement by Asif Ali Zardari about this is a first step towards reconciliation and assures our Baloch brothers that we in other provinces feel sorry for them, but apologising to the Baloch would not be enough.
First, we as a nation must also apologise to the people of Bangladesh for atrocities and killings of innumerable Bengali brothers, for not giving them the basic right to govern, not even providing the due status to the Bangla language it deserved.
The Bengali majority was never treated as the first citizens of the country. They were considered ‘low class’ citizens right from day one.
The Bengali language, one of the richest languages, was neglected and their beloved poet, a Nobel prize winner, was blacklisted from textbooks.
Before tendering a formal apology to the Bangladeshis, a gesture could help assuage the pain by naming some of the main roads, buildings and parks after the Bengali poets, writers and freedom-fighters of the Pakistan Movement. Mr Zardari, with all the other political leaders, members of civil society and, above all, the citizens of Pakistan must come forward to seek pardon from the people of Bangladesh.
It’s also time all our political leaders, following in the footsteps of Mr Zardari, apologised to the nation in general and to the people of the neglected provinces in particular, who had been called traitors, a security risk, or agents of foreign powers, for not even trying to remove their genuine grievances, for not taking them in the boat of patriotic citizens, for considering them simply ‘inferior’.
It’s time our leaders apologised to the nation for their past misdeeds, for their mistakes committed intentionally or unintentionally, for not giving the judiciary and the media the independence, for making fun of the highest judicial authority, for illegally dismissing the elected governments, for the judicial murder of an elected prime minister, for the various operations launched from time to time like ‘Operation Searchlight’, ‘Operation Midnight Jackal’, for massive rigging in general elections, for horse-trading, for attacking the Supreme Court, for inviting the army to interfere by writing letters to the army chiefs, for sidelining the real freedom-fighters and replacing them with the leaders of own choice, for distorting the history of the country, and for introducing the culture of extremism and suicide bombing.
Every citizen of this country must apologise for not paying taxes, for not observing rules and regulations, for remaining a silent spectator on the defeat of Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah in the presidential election, for not raising their voices when the innocent students and intellectuals were killed in Dacca University, when Bacha Khan was forced to live in exile, when Liaquat Ali Khan was killed in broad daylight, and no sincere investigations were conducted.
It’s a long list of errors and mistakes not only on the part of the people in authority, leaders and ruling elite, but also the layman who is fully responsible for the present-day crises.
My Reply: Dollars to Donuts, DAWN, wont publish anything defending Pakistan
With respect to Mr. AAMIR AQIL’s Feb 28 letter “Apology to all”. As a citizen of Pakistan, I would be more than happy to apologize for the purported massacre of Bengali intellectuals. One proviso: I would like to see some remorse from the Bengalis for the mass slaughter of West Pakistanis and Biharis in East Pakistan. And I suppose its too much to hope that anyone will apologize to the hundreds of thousands of Biharis still stranded in Bangladesh thirty-five years after the 1971 war.