Internationally renowned Pakistani scholar Husain Haqqani firmly believes the people of Pakistan should urge their government to offer a formal apology to Bangladesh for all the atrocities that were committed in 1971.
Haqqani – also a former Pakistani ambassador to the US – made the remark on Monday in a virtual talk on "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: An Iconic Leader of People's Struggle for Freedom," adding that to this day, no apology [from Pakistan] has been forthcoming.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen joined the talk as the chief guest, while Bangladesh Ambassador in Brussels Mahbub Hassan Saleh moderated the event – organised by the Embassy of Bangladesh to Belgium and Luxembourg, and Mission to the European Union in Brussels.
Currently a senior fellow and director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute, Haqqani further said, "Bangabandhu is not only the greatest Bengali of all time, he is one of the greatest leaders emerging out of South Asia, a great leader in the history of the world, and an iconic figure of struggle for freedom that the world has seen throughout the 20th century.
"Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is in the same league of great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela."
Adding that the then East Pakistan was the "Golden Goose" to the Pakistani ruling elites as most of the foreign exchange was earned from the eastern part (Bangladesh), Haqqani said, "The feudal Pakistan rulers never considered Bengalis as equals and were not ready to hand over the power to the elected representatives of then East Pakistan after the electoral victory of Bangabandhu's party the Awami League in the national elections of 1970."
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said it was expected that Pakistan would apologise formally for the genocide committed by its military in 1971, on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee – the 50th Anniversary of Independence of Bangladesh this year.
Though the prime minister of Pakistan sent a message at the last minute on the occasion, but unfortunately, he did not apologise for the Genocide committed by Pakistan military on the unarmed Bengali civilians of Bangladesh in 1971, Momen added.
Bangladesh Ambassador in Brussels Mahbub Hassan Saleh said the words of Haqqani would help the friends in the international community, academics and researchers to better understand the struggle for freedom of Bangabandhu.
At the event, the foreign minister expressed his hope that Bangladesh would realise the dream of Father of the Nation – the "Golden Bengal," a prosperous, happy, non-communal and developed Bangladesh by 2041.