• Sunday, Sep 20, 2020
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Arundhati Roy should have known better

  • Published at 12:00 am August 28th, 2019
Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy Collected

Defending Pakistan through false examples is not the way to present her argument

To this day, Pakistan refuses to acknowledge the atrocities committed against our people in 1971 -- crimes which included murder, torture, rape, and looting. 

That is why it is all the more inexcusable that a writer and activist of the stature and reputation of Arundhati Roy would make a blatantly false statement that aligns perfectly with Pakistan’s own denials of its crimes.

The Indian author said: "The State of Pakistan has not deployed the army against its own people in the way that the democratic Indian state has." We cannot agree with this statement, which at best is incorrect and at worst looks like an attempt to whitewash the sins of the Pakistan army.

Roy has long been considered a champion of the downtrodden and the oppressed, and for a writer of her level of erudition and sensitivity to completely dismiss the history of the Pakistan army’s atrocities towards the people of what was then East Pakistan and is now Bangladesh, is not just unfortunate, but potentially damaging.

While we can understand Roy’s desire to condemn India's actions and policies with respect to Kashmir, defending Pakistan through false examples is not the way to present her argument.

Indeed, it is not only the genocide committed against the Bangali population in 1971 that the Pakistani army needs to answer for. Whether we are talking about the Sindhis or the Balochis, the Pakistan army has a storied history of using force against its own countrymen.

We sincerely hope that the Booker-winning author and humanitarian learns the error in her statement, and corrects herself, because it is one thing to get small facts wrong, and an entirely different thing to dismiss the plight of millions across the sub-continent.


Editor's Note: A previous version of this editorial mistakenly identified the statement alluded to as "recent," and attempted to place it in the current context, when in fact it was made in 2011. The previous version also misquoted Ms. Roy. These mistakes have been corrected. Dhaka Tribune regrets the errors.

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