Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina Wajid has refused to participate in the D-8 Conference about to be held in Pakistan. Though no official reason was given, a Bangali newspaper referred to some advisors of her government who had cautioned her against attending the meeting unless Pakistan tendered an apology for the 1971 war. It is surely no time to rake up old wounds, all the more so when Islamabad has repeatedly conveyed to Dhaka its grief over the tragedy. Goodwill demands that both the sides reconcile with history and each other. To obsess over apportioning blame as an end itself, may not be a wise approach. The conflict that led to large-scale killings was a maelstrom so to speak that saw a number of factors for shaping the course of events. There were years of internal strife, discontentment and finally a conventional Indo-Pakistan war.

So the sane approach is to strengthen ties into a friendship that could make up for the mistakes of the past. Both the countries share a common sea coast that offers opportunities for trade as well as cultural contacts. Bangladesh is now a free sovereign state; its leaders have a duty to their people to cement new and stronger alliances, not to encourage old animosities, which should long since have been overcome.