“Bangla is an older language than Urdu yet in his 1948 speech in East Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam declared Urdu the national language of Pakistan,” Journalist Khalid Chaudhry said on Friday.
He was speaking at a discussion titled Fall of Dhaka Who is Responsible, here at the South Asian Free Media Association auditorium.
Chaudhry said not many countries were established on the basis of religion. “We should apologise to the Bengalis for the discrimination they faced,” he said.
SAFMA Secretary General Imtiaz Alam said the Hamoodur Rehman Commission report should be published and its gist included in the curriculum.
Alam said Bengalis were discriminated against. “Not a single chief secretary was from East Pakistan,” he said.
“The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) acted as an ally of Yahya Khan, who was responsible for the military operation.”
He said it was sad that Pakistan had not learnt from history. “We should apologise to Bengalis for their suffering at the hands of people from West Pakistan,” he said.
Reazud Din Ahmed, a Bangladeshi journalist, speaking via conference call said the people of Bangladesh were not happy with the PTI chief’s statement that Qadir was executed because he had been loyal to Pakistan. “Bengalis want an apology over this,” he said.
Awami National Party (ANP) Central Secretary General Ehsan Wynne said the Bengalis were tolerant people “otherwise East Pakistan would seceded much sooner.”
“The army and feudals in West Pakistan wanted dictatorship, Bengalis were in favour of democracy,” he said.
He said the political leaders of the time were responsible for the military operation of 1970. Wynne said East and West Pakistan had little in common “the way we forced them to seek separation wasn’t right.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2013.