THIS is apropos of the news report, ‘Let bygones be bygones’ (Nov 10). According to this news report, the prime minister during his visit to Gwadar on Nov 9, while speaking to reporters on the Balochistan situation, urged that we should forget past mistakes and atrocities committed by the previous government in Balochistan and move forward to achieve the goal of development and make it a prosperous province.
Now, it is both easy and convenient for the perpetrators to push into oblivion the memories of the wrongs committed by them on their compatriots.
This can be achieved by giving a self- serving twist to happenings in the area. By doing so the slate of consciousness is wiped clean and perpetrators of wrongs can continue in their old way without feelings of guilt or remorse.
For those who have been victims it is impossible to forget the various wrongs and excesses committed on them by their compatriots in the past.
Asking them to do so would not only be callous but would also tantamount to detracting from their humanity. This is so because a people's collective consciousness is formed, among other things, from their perception of the wrongs and excesses perpetrated on them over the years in the past.
Truth and reconciliation commissions that were constituted in different countries over time to find a way out from the situations of serious conflict and strife recognised this reality.
Through the mechanism of these commissions the parties to the conflict were tasked to reveal and acknowledge the various wrongs and excesses committed by them and to abjure from them in future whereupon the victims were to forgive them.
This act of forgiving is done as a matter of rational, pragmatic and conscious policy. It may be noted that the victims are not asked to forget but to forgive.
I may add that forgetting the past wrongs and excesses, particularly at the instance of others, have pathological implications whereas forgiving someone consciously is morally edifying and places the forgiver on a higher pedestal morally.
In view of the above, I seriously think that the prime minister was thinking of forgiveness and that use of the word forgetting with reference to past mistakes and atrocities there was an inadvertent slip of the tongue.
KHALID IDREES Islamabad