Have we learned?

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Naseebullah Khan
Expectations of good from an arch-enemy are never a smart move. The CAW plan of India was no doubt emphasized to bifurcate Pakistan__which was further cemented in the famous statement of Indra Gandhi after the breakup of Pakistan. The questions are, were we not responsible for alienating our brothers? After the debacle of Dhaka, have we learned from harsh truths? We must accept that our leaders lacked farsightedness concerning the economic potential of Bengal, its resources, and the strategic importance of Chatagang port. At present, Bangladesh’s economy is more strong than ours in almost every sphere. During the time of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the language issue was mashed. After his demise, it again become a huge concern of the province of Bengal. The hide and seek concerning that challenge continued until the separation. At a time when their grievances had been increasing, we were at the peak of stubbornness. From 1947 to 1970, a huge gap of per capita income grew to 400 pc in East and West Pakistan. Mehboob ul Haq in 1966 observed that West Pakistan had political, economic, and administrative hegemony on East Pakistan. East Pakistan was a raw material producing area and contributed a significant share in the exports of Pakistan, but was not getting an equitable share in the national income. From 1947 to 1965, a lot of development happened in West Pakistan due to foreign aid and income from exports of raw materials. Heavy industries, big dams, and communication networks were established, economic activities accelerated, public and private investments were encouraged, basic health and education facilities were provided. But during all this process East Pakistan was excluded or only received a small share. Why did the need for six points of Mujeeb Ur Rehman occur? Were they not negotiable? The proponent of the six points had himself hinted that the six-point were neither the points of the Holy Quran nor the Bible. Despite considering some of the points, the Agartalla case further increased misunderstanding.Democracy focuses on the rule of the constitution, accepting the decision of the masses through the election, and valuing the majority. Regrettably, the two famous statements of Mr. Bhutto by saying you rule there and we rule here__ and that I will break the legs of parliamentarians whosoever go to Dhaka, reflect the dearth of political sanity and maturity.The announcement of elections by General Yahya Khan was an admirable step but, on the other side, the last blow was his catastrophic error of operation searchlight from March to December 1971, which further alienated the Bengalis and created a sense of deprivation. History gesticulates that the use of power against own people has never worked. The same happened in the case of East Pakistan. No authoritarian rule has ever silenced the voice of the common folk. After the split, although Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and later on Pervez Musharraf regretted the past. The question arises as have we learned from the debacle and the repentance of our leaders? When we observe the situation of Balochistan and ex FATA, the answer is uncertain. The policymakers must change their mindset and accept the shortcomings by safeguarding the grievances of the people. Cementing the rest of Pakistan will prove our saneness.

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