“Those who do not remember the past

are condemned to repeat it.”

–George Santayana


December 16th is a cursed day in the history of Pakistan. Two tragedies on this day in different years had jolted the entire nation to its core. The first one was the fall of Dhaka in 1971; the second tragedy was the Army Public School Peshawar (APS) massacre. Today marks the 47th anniversary of the fall of Dhaka and 4th of the APS massacre.

The irony with learning from history is that people seldom learn from it. What the fall of Dhaka should have taught us is yet to be learnt. What the massacre of Peshawar should have realised us is yet to be understood.

Instead of cultivating a deeper understanding from the two events, we have appealed to emotions in both cases. In the defeat of 1971, the state took a bare minimum action when radical and severe steps were needed in political and economic affairs of the country. Unable to learn from what happened to the sovereignty of Pakistan back in 71, the state is again in turmoil, as the separatists in Balochistan feel aggravated over the exploitation of the province, and Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) agitates against the state excesses in the recently merged Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) post 2001.

In the latter case, despite devising a National Action Plan, the like of Khadim Rizvi are polluting the social environment with their toxic messages that are the leading cause in making our society intolerant. This day every year calls the leaders of the state for introspection – an exercise that our elite rarely engages in.