The South Asian nations should come together as one family
It has been 50 years since Pakistan split in two states and Bangladesh became a separate country. Nationalist elements in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh continue to sing their songs of wars and victories, recalling created memories to justify the positions they took and actions taken in pursuit of their political goals.
They engage in wars of words, create trending hashtags and try to flood the airwaves.
On the Indian side they start early, months in advance, to ensure that their voice is louder than others around December. They revive the narrative that has been going on since independence in 1947. They also lend support to the Bangladeshi lament of atrocities by Pakistan and Pakistani institutions.
Those on the Pakistani side of the exercise defend, counter, react and fight what they complain is the unfair advantage of two against one. It is hard for them to find any purchase for their version. Fifty years on, there is finally some realisation around the world that the Indian and Bangladeshi narratives are marred by inaccuracies, exaggeration and misnomer.
It is time we move toward mending and building relationships. After all, we are virtual siblings to one mother. There is no denying that a united South Asia will be a stronger presence in global affairs.
There is a view in the Pakistani camp that there is a need to acknowledge some mistakes; that important political leaders in the West Pakistan may have been misguided and immature. Further, that it is also time to expose and deny the falsehoods. Some people have been working on the numbers and have concluded that these are grossly exaggerated. Another trope is that atrocities were committed on all sides and one should not be selective in highlighting or condemning those on one side while ignoring the rest.
It is time in fact to end the blame game and move towards mending and building relationships. After all, we are virtual siblings to one mother. A united South Asia will be a stronger presence in global affairs.
A recent documentary written and produced by Javed Jabbar is a push in this direction. It presents some evidence in support of a certain narrative and tries to avoid emotional rhetoric.
Acknowledging the truth about a troublesome past is the first step towards rebuilding relations. It is time to put the past behind us and stop the blame game. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are children of the same sub-continent. It is time the sibling rivalries are put to rest and the nations come together as one family.
The writer is a public relations expert with over 15 years of experience in Pakistan.