History must never be manoeuvered by anyone. Anyone means everyone, including powerful men and women in power offices. This also includes those, who had the privilege of serving as the COAS in a country continuously nurtured by sham democracy. All countries should be free to decide their priorities. But are there any moral foundations of politics and strategies? What should be the course of action for a country like ours on seeing a picture of humiliation and trauma on the 16 of December for the last 51 years? What should Pakistan do for the course correction? Countries have their national interests. They have to appear authentic, and fair. However, this standing cannot be achieved by responding to history with propaganda, pseudo-intellect and hokum distraction (this also pertains to many Bollywood movies). While reading some books written with “data and knowledge of warfare, lawfare and IR lenses,” I identify many unconscious biases towards this issue. Trying to write and raise my sort of lone voice about the forgotten Pakistanis in the ghettos of Bangladesh, without becoming bitter and biased, has been a personally challenging task. Meeting and listening to the victims and going through eyewitness accounts of 1971 have been exceptional life-changing experiences for me. Even today, I have to struggle to admit that the unconditional patriotism, unprecedented sacrifices, and massacre of Biharis, failed to move the right quarters in Pakistan. Their nationalities were discarded by a military dictator when he was ruling my homeland as the President. It requires intellectual courage and a humane soul to imagine the grief of those patriotic Pakistanis on realising that the planes from Pakistan would never land in Dhaka to take them back to their homeland. I have yet to come across any political voice that can measure the agony of being betrayed in a community. Wonder, if the readers could dare imagine the anxiety or agony of Pakistanis with a new label of the stranded and stateless when negotiations for the POWs were done. Those “Biharis,” who escaped genocide (not mental and sexual violence) were successfully and systematically erased from the popular memory and official records. Many brilliant minds in media, academia, think tanks and the voluntary sector have the audacity to repeatedly degrade them and admonish (the Bangladeshi Government?) to retain them. This blatant violation of their human rights and murder of truth is shamelessly equated with the right of freedom of expression of many mighty ones here. There are powers who pretend that they have learnt from history, yet they repeat many follies. An eminent philosopher Prof George Santayana was also extraordinarily courageous (as he left Harvard). Known for his maxims too, he once said that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This original quote is often attributed to Churchill, who, in 1948, while addressing the House of Commons, actually reshaped this adage of Santayana when he articulated that: “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” Ironically, some powers pretend that they have learnt from history, yet they repeat many follies like wars, killings, wartime rape, exploitation of innocent people, etc. In sophisticated lingo, such acts are seen as collateral damages or lessons learnt. This translation or rendering may be due to the fact that in the real world, all humans are not equal. Whether history repeats or whether it is worthy to be designated as a teacher is the prerogative of the subject matter experts. In spite of their intellectual strengths, most of them have to remain a slave in the rigid framework of technicalities to remain valid in a myopic but a system that rewards those who remain “pragmatic.” Since this scribe has no such strings and is a perpetual student of life, she qualifies as a nonexpert to share some of her thoughts for a largely despised, stigmatised and abandoned community aka stranded-Pakistani Biharis in relation to a most deceptive and demoralising chapter of our Pakistan’s history. History was never my subject of interest due to two personal biased reasons. One, it sounds just masculine in English, it seems (and a face as well) that it has always been His Story and Her Story has always been hidden and hammered. Two, in Pakistani high school textbooks, I have not noticed (since my student days till now) any substantive account on the making of Bangladesh (refraining on purpose to please some of my firebrand feminist nationalist friends who do not stand terms like Tragedy of East Pakistan, dismemberment etc). However, while doing so, I question myself too. Is this abstinence and trying to appear acceptable before a few or even large groups of “ideological” beings an act of nobility, cowardice or good PR, or may there be none? I also ask myself more difficult questions and then become more anxious. At times, I cry too. But tears like heart-touching poetry and melody have never solved any problem nor washed away the scars on the souls and hearts. New narratives cannot be constructed by demolishing a past that is still the present-day reality of many millions, not only in three countries–India, Bangladesh and Pakistan in South Asia but the diaspora, globally. There is no easy way out for us as Pakistan, but as a naïve, who has been exposed to many worldly realities and who follows this saying of Santayana that only the dead have seen the end of the war, I still want to opt for honesty, forgiveness, atonement and then moving forward. The muteness of our civil society (including the champions of human rights and women’s rights on the predicament of the stranded Pakistanis and overall atrocities affiliated with 1971) and their lack of solidarity towards this community have stopped surprising me. We all have our inadequacies and priorities and perhaps no donor agencies are interested in this area as well. However, I was surprised to receive an invitation from the Army Institute of Military History, Pakistan for a consultative meeting with the Vice-chancellors of different Universities from all provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan on the tragic 1971 et al events. The leadership of this institute and all team members consisting of brilliant young people and seasoned warrior scholars must be accredited. They have at least started an academic discourse in difficult terrain and dispersed the seeds of critical thinking. I look forward to the day when multi-disciplinary academics and regulatory authorities will collaborate more effectively to create tangible actions that go beyond rhetoric. For instance, linking empathy with public policies, reviewing and improving discriminatory practices, laws and procedures, promoting harmony among youth so that they can mature without ethnic biases, engaging with the foreign offices of Bangladesh and Pakistan, establishing Pakistan-Bangladesh study Centres for finding solutions to apparently deep-rooted problems and issue of stranded Pakistanis. From deliberate denials, the country has to move to desired dissents. This would not be a spiritual journey (only), but it has its definite economic advantages too. The writer is a free thinker.