Pakistan endorses demand for apology as colonial massacre’s centenary marked

In this file photo taken on February 20, 2013 British Prime Minister David Cameron lays a wreath in tribute to the Jallianwala Bagh martyrs at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar. The Amritsar massacre, 100 years ago this April 13 in which British troops opened fire on thousands of unarmed protesters, remains one of the darkest hours of British colonial rule in India. Known in India as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, it is still an emotive subject with many demanding a British apology — which so far has been unforthcoming. (AFP)
Updated 13 April 2019
0

Pakistan endorses demand for apology as colonial massacre’s centenary marked

  • Pakistan information minister says Britain must apologize to Pakistan, India and Bangladesh for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre
  • Massacre saw British troops fire on thousands of unarmed men, women and children in Amritsar on April 13, 1919

ISLAMABAD: Britain’s high commissioner to India laid a wreath on Saturday at commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the Amritsar massacre, one of the worst atrocities of colonial rule for which Pakistan has said London must apologize.
This week, Pakistan’s information minister said the country endorsed the demand that the British government apologize for the empire’s role in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre which saw British troops fire on thousands of unarmed men, women and children in the northern city of Amritsar on the afternoon of April 13, 1919.
The number of casualties from the event, which galvanized support for independence, is unclear. Colonial-era records put the death toll at 379, but Indian figures put the number closer to 1,000.
Even 100 years on, Britain has still made no official apology and Dominic Asquith, high commissioner, on Saturday followed suit at the Jallianwala Bagh walled garden where bullet marks are still visible.
India gained independence from the British in 1947 when Pakistan was culled out of India and made into a separate country.
“Fully endorse the demand that [the] British empire must apologize to the nations of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh,” the Pakistani information minister said in a twitter post on Thursday. “These tragedies are the scar on the face of Britain.”
In the memorial’s guest book Asquith, a descendant of Herbert Asquith, prime minister from 1908-16, called the events of 1919 “shameful” but stopped short of apologizing.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet called the tragedy “horrific” and that the memory of those killed “inspires us to work even harder to build an India they would be proud of.”
Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi was present in Amritsar and on Twitter called the massacre “a day of infamy that stunned the entire world and changed the course of the Indian freedom struggle.”
In a visit in 2013 then British prime minister David Cameron described what happened as “deeply shameful” but stopped short of an apology.
In 1997, Queen Elizabeth II laid a wreath at the site but her gaffe-prone husband Prince Philip stole the headlines by reportedly saying that Indian estimates for the death count were “vastly exaggerated.”
On Wednesday, May told the House of Commons that the massacre was “a shameful scar on British Indian history.”
“We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused,” May said.
Amarinder Singh, chief minister of Punjab state, said May’s words were not enough.
He said “an unequivocal official apology” is needed for the “monumental barbarity.”


Saudi envoy meets head of major Pakistani religious party

Updated 23 April 2019
0

Saudi envoy meets head of major Pakistani religious party

  • Maulana Fazlur Rehman appreciates deep rooted bilateral ties
  • Saudi envoy says Kingdom values relationship with Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The chief of one of Pakistan’s largest religious parties, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), met the Saudi ambassador to Islamabad on Tuesday, the embassy said, and discussed ways to boost bilateral ties between the two nations.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman met with Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, the ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan, at the ambassador’s office on Monday, the embassy said on Twitter.
According to the state Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Maulana Fazlur Rehman lauded deep-rooted brotherly rties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia while Ambassador Al-Malki said the Kingdom attached great importance to its relationship with Pakistan.
Earlier this month Sheikh Abdullah Awad Al-Juhani, an imam at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, visited Pakistan and met with the country’s top political and military leaders as well as religious clerics.