Bangladesh has been pressing Pakistan to apologise for the genocide in 1971. In that context, the recent acknowledgment by the scientist came as a bit of respite.
Prominent Pakistani nuclear physicist and defence analyst Pervez Hoodbhoy said his country has mistreated, exploited and massacred the Bangladeshi people in 1971.
Pervez made the statement during his speech on February 1, at the second day of Adab Festival, a celebration of writers and artists in Karachi, Pakistan.
"We have not been honest with ourselves in the last 73 years. We are not being honest now. Pakistan is in a state of confusion because it was born in a state of confusion," he said.
The scientist criticised Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, and said he was "a confused man" and did not have a proper vision.
He dared to address the Bangladesh issue in public – a taboo subject in Pakistan - and said that he was doing so because it is not allowed in their official narrative.
"All we hear is that it was a conspiracy," he said, rejecting the Pakistani government's assertion that the crackdown in East Pakistan and the war that followed was simple military action.
In the speech, he also praised Bangladesh for its economic growth since 1971.
"Look at Bangladesh, who were our cousins, they are doing much better than we are. Their forex reserves are four times ours and their quality of index is so much better," he said.
Pakistani journalist Muhammad Ziauddin in a December article had also urged his government to apologise to Bangladesh.
He argued that Pakistan needs to apologise to Bangladesh for the mistreatment and also that Pakistan's reluctance to do so is unnecessarily adversely impacting bilateral ties between the two independent countries.
"Special forgiveness needs also to be sought from them for the bloody atrocities that were let loose against them in the last nine months that had led the dismemberment," he wrote.
But Pakistan did not budge even after repeated pressure from its civil society.
Pakistan has never formally apologized for the atrocities of 1971.
In 2002, then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf expressed regret for what he calls "excesses" committed in the Bangladesh war of independence.
In a message written in the visitors' book at the mausoleum to honour Bangladesh's war dead, the then president also wrote that "Pakistanis shared the pain of the war".
However, his government also did not make a state-level apology for the atrocities of Liberation War of 1971.
But his remarks, at the start of an official visit to Bangladesh, are the closest Pakistan has ever come to formally apologising for the war crimes in 1971.
On December 16, 1971, almost 100,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered in Dhaka, leading to the creation of the sovereign nation-state of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has been pressing Pakistan to apologise for the genocide in 1971.
In that context, the recent acknowledgment by the scientist came as a bit of respite.
Forty-eight years after the Liberation War of 1971, both the countries institutionalised a distinct memory of the events of that year.
In Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), the war is remembered as the Bengali's struggle against an oppressive Pakistan army. However, surprisingly on Pakistan, it is by and large considered an Indian conspiracy to break up Pakistan.
Pakistan resorted to selective forgetting of what happened in 1971 and brushed off the war from school and college textbooks as the incident was perceived as a humiliating defeat.
They call our Liberation War the "Fall of Dhaka".