As Bangladesh unites to celebrate language day, its citizens recall Pakistan's horrific role in liberation war

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Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina

At a time when Pakistan is making all attempts to woo Bangladesh, Islamabad’s role in the 1971 Liberation war keeps coming back to haunt.

According to a report published by Economic Times, Bangladesh celebrated the international mother language day on Sunday with much fanfare. The initiative, to celebrate international mother language day taken by Bangladesh, was recognized and approved by UNESCO General Conference in 1999. Since 2000, this day has been observed throughout the world to uphold the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity.

The ET report highlighted that different socio-cultural organisations and civil society platforms took to celebrate the day. Thousands of people took part in seminars and processions while forming multiple human chains.

“While paying homage to the brave-hearts who lost their lives, speakers recalled with horror the role of Pakistan occupation forces to suppress the movement and brutal crackdown on innocent citizens,” the report said.

The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh. It was approved at the 1999 UNESCO General Conference and has been observed throughout the world since 2000.

"Mother Language Day gives a space for promotion of cultural diversity…this needs to be cultivated for developing a culture of humanity," Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said last week, according to the Daily Star.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has brought up the issue at several forums. In December, she even told Pakistan High Commissioner to Dhaka Imran Ahmed Siddiqui that the pain of the 1971 genocide will remain forever. “The incidents of 1971 can’t be forgotten. The pain will remain there forever,” Hasina had told Pakistan ambassador when he had decided to pay a courtesy visit on her last month.

Hasina had brought up the issue while addressing the UN General Assembly in 2017 too.

In March 2017, the Bangladesh Parliament passed a resolution to observe March 25 as the Genocide Day.

In the 9-month-long war of liberation against Pakistan about three million innocent people were killed and more than 200,000 women were violated.

The ghastly episode started at the midnight of 25 March 1971 when the Pakistan army cordoned Peelkhana, the headquarters of the east pakistan rifles (EPR), Rajarbagh police barracks, and the Ansar headquarters at Khilgaon. About 8,000 to 12,000 people were killed every day—the highest in any genocide history.