Abdul Majeed in the Express Tribune:
When East Pakistan decided to break away from West Pakistan in 1971, one of the leading factors was the lack of importance accorded by West Pakistan’s bureaucracy and intelligentsia towards the other part of the country. It is not a surprise that the attitude did not change even after the separation of Pakistan’s two wings.
Pakistan’s textbooks are still silent over the atrocities committed by our armed forces and their proxies in 1971. Although West Pakistan may have forgotten, but the people who were subjected to the inhumane behaviour just because they dreamt of a better future, remember it all too vividly.
The demand to prosecute the criminals from 1971 has reverberated in Bangladesh over the years. It was only in 2009 that an International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) was formed set up in Bangladesh to investigate and prosecute suspects for the atrocities committed in 1971.
It should also be noted that Bangladesh’s original constitution of 1972 had declared it a secular state but the 8th amendment, put in effect by General Hussain Mohammad Ershad in 1988, declared Islam as the state religion of Bangladesh. Interestingly, Pakistan also had a notorious 8th amendment to the 1973 constitution, giving the power to dissolve assemblies to the president, put in place by none other than General Ziaul Haq.
In 2010, the Bangladesh High Court declared the constitutional amendment that had changed the country’s secular status to that of an Islamic state was done without lawful authority.