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Remembering genocide and persecution: Why does Pakistan tremble in March?

Reflecting on the month of March evokes a sombre contemplation for the people of South Asia, particularly in Pakistan, where it serves as a poignant reminder of historical atrocities and ongoing struggles for justice. March holds significant remembrance days for two regions deeply entwined with Pakistan's narrative: Bangladesh and Balochistan. For Bangladesh, March 25th marks Genocide Remembrance Day, commemorating the horrors of the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, perpetrated by Pakistan's armed forces and their radical Islamist allies. Meanwhile, March 27th stands as Balochistan Black Day, symbolizing the prolonged struggle against suppression and injustice faced by the Baloch people since Pakistan's inception.

Genocide Remembrance Day in Bangladesh brings forth chilling memories of Operation Searchlight, an onslaught unleashed by the Pakistani military in 1971, plunging the nation into an abyss of unimaginable suffering. The scars of that dark period remain etched deep into the collective memory of Bangladesh, narrating a tale of resilience amidst unparalleled agony. Beyond mere commemoration, this day serves as a rallying cry for justice and sovereignty, demanding international recognition for the millions slaughtered and the hundreds of thousands of women subjected to unspeakable atrocities. However, despite the international community's familiarity with the conflict, the echoes of Bangladesh's suffering continue to fade into the annals of history, underscoring humanity's collective failure to uphold the vow of "Never again" after the Holocaust.

In contrast, Balochistan Black Day casts a shadow over Pakistan's history, commemorating the annexation of Balochistan in 1948 and the ensuing decades of systemic oppression against the Baloch people. March 27th resonates with the cries of a marginalized populace, denied the right to self-determination, and subjected to ongoing injustices. It serves as a stark reminder of unfulfilled promises and ignites flames of resistance against tyranny and oppression.

Both Genocide Remembrance Day in Bangladesh and Balochistan Black Day pose significant challenges to Pakistan's national unity and global reputation. They serve as reminders of unresolved wounds within the nation's psyche, demanding recognition, reconciliation, and redemption. However, the international community's response remains inadequate, reflecting a reluctance to confront past injustices and uphold universal human values.

As the world observes these solemn commemorations, it is imperative to recognize the interconnectedness of these struggles and the urgent need for international solidarity. The seeds of a brighter future lie within the collective resolve of the region's people, fuelled by the belief in inherent dignity and rights. International recognition of past atrocities serves as a beacon of hope, urging accountability and signalling a commitment to prevent future atrocities. It is time for the international community to stand in solidarity with the oppressed, holding perpetrators accountable and ushering in an era of justice and reconciliation.

In conclusion, March may be haunted by the ghosts of the past, but it also holds the promise of a future where suffering is drowned out by the chorus of freedom and equality. Acknowledging past injustices and taking decisive action is essential to prevent further trauma in South Asia and uphold the vow of "Never again."


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