Distinguished Professor Ali Riaz has been quoted in a report of the German International broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW). The report “Should Pakistan apologize to Bangladesh for the 1971 war?” explores the relationship between Bangladesh and Pakistan, particularly recent overtures by both to improve the situation. Relationship between these two countries have remained strained since Bangladesh declared its independence from Pakistan in 1971. During the war of independence Pakistan Army perpetrated genocide, which cost millions of lives. The relationship further deteriorated in the past decade. Riaz, referring to the genocide and atrocities of the Pakistani army, underscored the need for an unconditional apology from Pakistan. He said recent engagements between Dhaka and Islamabad may be described as “ice-breaking” but that real progress also “hinges on Pakistan’s unconditional apology for the 1971 war.”
“A better relationship requires Pakistan’s initiative to address the 1971 war, especially the genocide perpetrated by the army,” he said. “Unconditional public apology from Pakistan is long overdue … no nation can move forward without confronting its dark past.” Riaz thinks Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to congratulate Bangladesh on its golden jubilee of independence last week indicates a willingness to re-strengthen ties. “In recent months, overtures from both countries indicate that they are trying to set aside their differences of the past decade. A telephone call from the Pakistani prime minister to his Bangladeshi counterpart last summer, for example, indicated that Pakistan is interested in turning the page,” Riaz told DW. “The Bangladesh government has appropriately reciprocated in recent months … these are positive signs,” Riaz said.