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Should Pakistan apologize to Bangladesh?

an has not acknowledged its past history.

“The state has institutionalized the erasure and forgetting of past history from textbooks, museum exhibitions and mainstream narratives,” he told Deutsche Welle.

He further said, “It is very painful for the surviving Bangladeshis and their families to deny or underestimate the atrocities committed 50 years ago. It is also very difficult for Pakistan to accept this history. No nation can erase their history and move on with it. Our past will drive our present unless we deeply understand it and learn from it. ‘

According to Ali Riaz, a professor of political science at Illinois State University, the recent communication between Dhaka and Islamabad may be called ice-breaking, but the real improvement will come when Pakistan unselfishly apologizes for the 1971 war.
“Pakistan’s apology, especially in the wake of the 1971 war, especially the genocide perpetrated by the Pakistani army, can only lead to a better relationship,” he said. ‘The people of Bangladesh have long owed a selfless apology to Pakistan. No nation can move forward without facing its black past. ‘

Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, a Washington-based think tank, is not particularly optimistic about the current political situation in the two countries.

“It’s a very complex and sensitive issue,” he said. Bilateral relations could be in a better position than they are now if Islamabad believes that such a big step is politically possible – but I am skeptical. ”

Relations between Dhaka and Islamabad have been strained for years. In 2016, the dispute over the execution of the leader of an Islamic political party escalated to the diplomatic level between the two countries. Both sides called each other’s ambassadors.

Pakistan’s deepest regret over the execution of Mir Qasim Ali, the leader of the top Islamist party, as a war criminal, was seen as Islamabad’s interference in Bangladesh’s internal affairs.

Strengthening relations, small steps of financial support

But according to Riaz, the decision to send a congratulatory message to Imran Khan on Bangladesh’s Golden Jubilee last March has sparked interest in reviving the relationship.

Riaz told Deutsche Welle: “The recent communication between the two countries indicates that the two countries are willing to put aside their past differences and move forward. For example, a telephone conversation between the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh last summer indicated that Pakistan was interested in turning the page.

Kugelman thinks there is an opportunity to increase trade communication in the future.

“Economic aid is a logical step towards a step-by-step approach to cooperation,” he said. It is relatively secure, which will build trust between the two countries and ensure good relations and cooperation in other areas as well. ”

He said that although Bangladesh-India relations have grown significantly due to the efforts of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, some of the policies in Delhi are seen by some in Bangladesh as discriminatory against Muslims.

He added, “The concern of some Bangladeshis about India’s inequality may be another opportunity for Pakistan to develop relations with capital Bangladesh.”

(Courtesy – Deutsche Welle)

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