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Apology for genocide of 1971

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December 16, 2011



His Excellency The High Commissioner of Pakistan

Dhaka, Bangladesh


Dear Sir/Madam:


Subject: Apology for genocide of 1971


1.      The Lahore Resolution, the basis of Pakistani independence, was presented by Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Haque of Jhalokathi, Bengal, on March 1940, calling for greater Muslim autonomy. It was his vision, as was the vision of the 15 million Muslims in Greater India that we would be granted with political autonomy that we were historically deprived of.


2.      It was the Bengalis of the erstwhile Pakistan who first stood up and revolted against the oppressive regime of Field Marshal Ayub Khan. The Bengali community repeatedly called for national elections and the democratization of Pakistan, the culmination of which lead to the end downfall of the Ayub Khan era.


3.      The Awami League were the rightful victors of the First National Elections of Pakistan, 1970, securing 160 out of the 300 seats of the Pakistan National Assembly – a majority – thus enabling the party leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to form the first democratically elected government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.


4.      Time and time again, the Bengalis of the erstwhile union rose to the occasion and fulfilled their roles as responsible Pakistanis, nurturing the fundamental tenets of the Lahore Resolution – autonomy for the Muslim populace of India. However, time and time again, Bengalis of the erstwhile union were not allowed to attain that very political autonomy that they strived for.


5.      In an attempt to further subjugate the patriotic Bengalis of Pakistan, the Pakistan Army launched Operation Searchlight, killing 8,000 unarmed Pakistani brethrens, specifically targeting the youth, and later the Government of Pakistan declared a war against its People in the East. It is in this context that the People of Bangladesh decided that this arranged marriage was no longer a viable solution and hence retaliated for the protection of their lives and properties, and joined the Liberation War to seek the autonomy that they were never given.


6.      During the War, the Pakistan Army and its accomplices were involved in the systematic arson, loot, rape and murder of the Bengalis, especially the Hindus. This was a categorical violation of the basic human rights of the People of Bangladesh. The magazine Time compared the enormity of the genocide in 1971 with the Holocaust, saying that, “It is the most incredible, calculated thing since the days of the Nazis in Poland.” International media reported a loss of up to three million civilian lives, with another ten million fleeing to neighboring India, because the Government of Pakistan refused to uphold their rights.


7.      The Pakistan Army also systematically eliminated most Bengalis intellectuals living in Bangladesh during the time, in an attempt to debilitate the base of the future Bangladesh.


8.      It is to be noted that, during the entire War, the slaughtered and fleeing Bengalis were still considered Pakistani nationals by the Government of Pakistan, protected by the Pakistan Constitution. It is also to be noted that more lives were lost per day on average during the Liberation War than the per day loss of lives during the Holocaust, illustrating the depravity of the actions of the Pakistan Army.


9.      We, the People of Bangladesh believe that our forefathers were historically wronged by the Government of Pakistan during the 24 years of union, and the genocide of unarmed Bengalis was a violation of our human rights, as protected by the international treaties of the day, the Pakistan Constitution, and the Holy Quran. Therefore, we feel that the People of Bangladesh rightfully deserve an apology from the Government of Pakistan for their treatment of the Bengalis.


10.  Calls of apology have been made by the civil society of both Bangladesh and Pakistan. Every Bangladeshi national believes that they are entitled to an apology from Pakistan, and the civil society of Pakistan believes the same.


11.  A sincere apology from Pakistan would not correct any past misdeeds, but will certainly bring closure to the People of Bangladesh, especially to those who lost their parents, spouses, children, and other loved ones during the War. After the years of oppression and the nine months of bloodshed, we, the People of Bangladesh, believe this is the least that we can expect from Pakistan, and that an apology is long overdue.



The People of Bangladesh

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