Logo
25th-Nov-2015

Historical hatred and bitterness is not easy to deal with

By MAINUL HOSEIN

We do not want to be reminded of the traumatic days of occupation of our people by the Pakistan army in 1971. Apart from anything else, our experiences of those days were too painful to forget easily but not to be able to forget is also too heavy a burden for building a hate free peaceful Bangladesh.The true division of Pakistan began with the subjugation of our people by the Pakistan army following an unforgivable conspiracy hatched under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He became the leader of the majority in West Pakistan in the election of 1970 held with the promise of settling the dispute over autonomy for East Pakistan. The famous Six-Point demand of Awami League outlined the nature of the autonomy.While expressing deep concern at the execution of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed for the crimes committed during the military occupation of Pakistan in 1971, the spokesman of Pakistan Government's Foreign Office  highlighted the need for reconciliation in Bangladesh in accordance with the spirit ofPakistan-India-Bangladesh agreement of April 9, 1974. The agreement calls for a "forward-looking approach in matters relating to 1971. This will foster goodwill and harmony," he said. Pakistan also obtained under the agreement pardon for the war crimes of Pakistan army personnel from Bangabandhu.It is also a matter of public knowledge that Bangabandhu had forgiven the war criminals in Bangladesh on the condition that they would be trialable for crimes against individuals. Of course the present government has different interpretation and see Pakistan's statement as interference in internal matters. They have reason of their own to feel angry. Surely, no country can live with unhappy past for its own good. Reconciliation among us is essential for our national unity. But those  in Pakistan who are now anxious to sympathise for the execution of those who have been found to have committed crimes against humanity must know and recognise behind the scenes  the heartless politics of Bhutto  and how Pakistan army used  them to commit the vengeful killings of unarmed people. They will also have to consider seriously when telling us about the need of reconciliation if their past leaders had shown any consideration of reconciliation with our people when it was needed most.It is not that we are not anxious to reach reconciliation among us. We need not to be told about such need. But circumstances have not proved helpful.After the election of 1970, the army was supposed not to have any political role to play. It was Bhutto who made it impossible for the Martial Law Chief General Yahya Khan to convene the elected National Assembly of united Pakistan. It was Bhutto and some coconspirator generals who forced on our people a military settlement of the political issue.Bhutto should have been tried along with the obliging Generals for their crimes committed against humanity and brutality against our people. But Bhutto was accepted as President of Pakistan. The army should not have been allowed to indulge in brutalities against its own people if the intention was to keep Pakistan together. They treated the people of East Pakistan as enemies and thought it better not to negotiate. No move was taken for reconciliation while tolerating the atrocities month after month for nine months.Bangabandhu was kept as prisoner in Karachi but nobody in West Pakistan cared to talk to him about the situation that prevailed in East Pakistan.Pakistan could have logically insisted that its army would surrender to Bangabandhu. It would have been unthinkable for India to say no. No consideration of reconciliation was shown at that stage also. We could have been separated peacefully. Our information is that both General Rao Farman Ali and General Pirzada are still alive. They should give the accounts of what were going on. General Pirzada was in particular informed about abusing our women suggesting that let the war remain a man to man affair. He felt the necessity of taking some initiative. But nothing worked.There was no situation of humanity to care about how the enemies of the country were being treated. Pakistan became a country of West Pakistanis alone.Nobody's good sense prevailed. The hatred and madness were let loose. To our surprise the political leaders in Pakistan remained silent spectators.The present government (of Pakistan) can say that whatever happened was the doings of the Generals in the past and they should not be held responsible for the past. That is a hard logic but human reasoning cannot ignore the human sensitivity and context of bitter history.What we mean to say is that nobody is holding the present government guilty for the past but expected it to be aware of the burden of sins committed in the past which they are also carrying.It is true that recent executions have been criticised by Turkey and many others. But Pakistan was the sinner and members of the Pakistan army were liable for genocide in East Pakistan as principal accused. So their right words also do not appear right.The present leadership in Pakistan has to understand the wounds inflicted by Pakistan occupation army on us was too deep and the situation left behind was also too complicated and lonely for us to deal with.The inhumanity and heartless conspiracy of those days are still haunting us making things difficult for us also to overcome the divisions and hatred so created.Pakistan is not also having an easy time. It is in danger of being further split up. We have our sympathy for the people of Pakistan.