Bangladesh independence 1971: Surrender at Chittagong

Published: December 16, 2011
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A Pakistan army officer recalls his experience with his Indian counterparts immediately after laying down arms.

A Pakistan army officer recalls his experience with his Indian counterparts immediately after laying down arms.

KARACHI: 

The last days of the 1971 war are often distorted, obscured or – perhaps worst of all – forgotten.

Forty years on, I want the next generation to glimpse the event through a person who was part of it. I hope my story will help younger Pakistanis understand how human behaviour changes when circumstances change, how it took the war to end for me to truly understand it.

At 6am on December 17, 1971, I reached Cadet College Faujdarhat on the outskirts of Chittagong. All Pakistan Army officers had been ordered at midnight to gather at the college and lay down their arms.

Indian Army Brigadier Sindhu, who had led the occupation of Chittagong, acted gracefully and did not humiliate us, as was done in Dhaka where fighting had ceased the previous day. One reason for this could be that Pakistan Army Brigadier Taskeenudin, who was surrendering, had been his instructor at the Indian Military Academy before Partition.

I entered through the college’s main gate and saw Lt-Col. Ashiq, who was commander of the force deployed on Comilla-Chittagong Axis, pacing up and down outside the main office building.

I was ordered to get hold of three captains and immediately contact the leading Indian force commander on Comilla Road. But most officers refused to accompany me, except Captain Sarfaraz of the East Pakistan Civil Armed Forces. With a white flag on top of our jeep, we moved out to meet the Indians.

We reached a nullah where a bridge had been demolished. A Sikh major, who had crossed the nullah with a platoon, appeared and told me to return with troop-carrying vehicles. I went back to the college and reported the matter to Brigade Major Fakhar who told me to take away all buses and trucks that were available. While the vehicles were there, all the drivers, who were civilians, had vanished.

I mounted a .30 Browning on my jeep and manned it myself. Meanwhile, I spotted Captain Mansoor who agreed to follow me in his jeep. As we opened the gate, the enraged crowd outside the college became silent. Fear and anxiety gripped me – we could not rule out the possibility of the crowd attacking us or at least shooting at us. We could identify the Muktis as they carried sten guns.

Nevertheless, Capt. Mansoor and I moved forward, with my finger on the gun’s trigger. Fortunately, the crowd remained motionless and, in fact, parted to make way for us as we drove along.

My painful journey to surrender

By the time we got back, the Pakistan Army’s company strength had crossed over the nullah and taken position.  The Sikh major retained all Pakistan Army captains and I was told to accompany a havaldar, who would escort me to Indian Brigade Commander Brig. Sindhu.

We descended into the deep nullah and saw Indian engineers building passages. As I passed them by, they saluted me even though they could tell I was a Pakistani due to my uniform. Their conduct left me with a positive impression about the Indian Army. At the nullah’s other end, I saw another Pakistan Army company strength mounted on vehicles, ready to go across.

I was put in a jeep to be carried to Brig. Sindhu. We had only covered a mile or two, when we saw the brigade commander approaching from the opposite side. Brig. Sindhu got off his jeep, I saluted and he shook my hand. I sat in the jeep, where his DQ was already sitting with a wireless set. But the jeep hit the nullah and we crossed it on foot, leaving the jeep behind.

At the other bank, a few civilians waited with a Mercedes to receive and greet the victors. A man introduced himself as a relative of a famous Awami League leader and offered the car to the brigadier who refused the car and, pointing towards my jeep, said, “I will use the Pakistan Army’s jeep.”

However, he did go for a meeting with them which I felt was pre-arranged. After the meeting, he came over to me and asked me for suggestions on taking over the city. I suggested only that all Bihari localities be protected immediately as they were at risk of attack by Bengalis.

By this time, the engineers had managed to bring across the brigadier’s jeep and a message was immediately passed to transport the Bihar Regiment to Chittagong to protect the Bihari population. The two captains who had accompanied me would serve as guides.

Brig. Sindhu then asked me to guide him to the commissioner’s office. I knew of its location as I had presided over a summary military court that was located there before General Yahya Khan declared war. The building was built on high ground, affording a view of a large part of the city. When we got there, only the brigadier went into the office and we were left outside on the verandah.

The joy of freedom

From there, I saw citizens of Chittagong celebrate India’s victory and their freedom. Jubilant young girls and boys, wearing colourful clothes, carried Indian and Bangladeshi flags. Vehicles playing loud music sped through the roads. People shouted anti-Pakistan and pro-India slogans and of course “Joi Bangla”. Within 20 to 30 minutes, the number of people and vehicles increased exponentially. I am the only unfortunate officer who witnessed that painful sight. The tormenting thought and feelings that crossed my mind can not be expressed through words.

The crowd eventually made its way to the commissioner’s office. People carried garlands and bouquets for the Indian army, their liberators. They came forward to place garlands around the necks of the Indian officers but one girl smilingly approached me and said, “I know you are Pakistani but never mind, you can also share our happiness”, and gave me a garland.

Suddenly, one of the Indian officers caught me by the arm and pulled me back, covering me, while yelling, “catch him”. I noticed a young boy holding a sten gun run out of the crowd. No one followed him. The boy was trying to shoot at me but before he could, the Indian officer saved me.

A round of the city

Brig. Sindhu then took a round of the city, particularly Bihari localities.

It was as if no one inhabited Bihar Colony. White flags, and not Bangladeshi flags, were put up on all the houses.

It was a painful sight for me and I thought of how young Biharis had wholeheartedly supported Pakistan during the nine months of civil war. Doors and windows were closed, but a few minutes later, we saw some people peering through. Brig. Sindhu asked me to call the residents out of their houses so that he could address them.

Initially, no one came out. But when I announced through a portable loudspeaker that I was a Pakistani and had brought Indians who will protect them, the elderly began to come outside. Brig. Sindhu, in his short address, told them that the Bihar Regiment had been deployed for their protection. The Biharis were visibly relieved.

I was gripped by guilt. I knew that these people had wholeheartedly supported Pakistan Army first against the Mukti Bahini and then against the Indians. And here they were, abandoned and desperate.

The situation was similar in Railway Colony and Adamjee Nagar. By evening, we reached Agrabad Hotel, a restaurant I used to frequent with other officers. Brig. Sindhu decided to have a cup of tea there, and the waiters, who recognised me, met me with mixed emotions.

Finally, I was relieved of the unpleasant duty. But I have the satisfaction that I was instrumental in ensuring protection for non-Bengalis at a time when they needed it the most.

But while the Indian officers escorted me to the Pakistan Army officers’ mess, they received another assignment which they wanted to complete through me.

They wanted me to make a list of people, confined in a big school building, who had survived the massacre of Bihari families in Karnaphuli Paper Mills and other industries that provided accommodation to their workers.

I entered the building and was shocked to see several hundred women and children. A few of them hurriedly approached me, asking if I had brought food. I could not bear it. I still shiver as I recall.

I immediately left the building and told the Indian officers that I would not do the job. Recognising my pain, they did not insist and dropped me at the officers’ mess to join all the officers of the Chittagong Garrison.

The writer is a retired major of the Pakistan Army who served as a first-line soldier in the 1971 war. 

Published in The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (92)

  • sam
    Dec 16, 2011 - 9:45AM

    traumatic,trajic,painful, shameful and difficult to face. 1971 hurts.

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  • Umair
    Dec 16, 2011 - 9:51AM

    I still can’t stomach the fact that an army of nearly 1 lac surrendered. Disgraceful.

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  • Pir Ali Raza
    Dec 16, 2011 - 10:21AM

    excellent piece of work. this puts a human face on what happend.

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  • vasan
    Dec 16, 2011 - 10:25AM

    Friends across the border can read about the gentleness of Indian army men expressed by your own army major. Does this not prove India has no enimity with Pakistan

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  • Scorpio
    Dec 16, 2011 - 10:36AM

    ….And what happened to those poor Bihari women and children at Karnaphuli Paper Mills, does anybody know or care anymore?

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  • Shahryar Ahmed
    Dec 16, 2011 - 10:48AM

    I cannot imagine the pain the writer can go through, after reading a bit about the 71 war if seems that the real problem was not the Bengali’s or even the Indian’s (they just expolited a situation to their benefit), it was mostly our own fault.
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  • Pravin
    Dec 16, 2011 - 11:02AM

    Shamshad-saab, salute. It needs courage to write something like this. It is very easy for civilians like us to talk about war. I felt relieved and proud knowing that the Indian army treated you with respect.

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  • lionheart
    Dec 16, 2011 - 11:37AM

    @vasan:

    Stop being emotional and get carried away. We may be repectful but It doesnt change the fact that we we do have an enemity with Pakistan. Maybe you arent from Mumbai….I am.

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  • Mehboob
    Dec 16, 2011 - 11:47AM

    Thank you for narrating this story. I don’t know why nation at large is being kept at this impression that Pakistan won the war of 1971 :( this is one fact from a lot which have been tailored to the needs of rulers of time in Pakistan.
    You story of surrender was touching and communicated what you went through when surrendering.

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  • NA
    Dec 16, 2011 - 11:54AM

    Everyone is talking about how Pakistani Forces defeated 1979 but no one looking at the circumstances that lead to this defeat. Pakistani force was fighting on two fronts at the same time, with Indians and Mukti Bahini terrorists. It was India who provided arms, training and support and today Indians are blaming Pakistan for sponsoring terrorists in India. Shame on you.

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  • Jp
    Dec 16, 2011 - 12:14PM

    I feal proud of the Indian Armys behaviour towards the pak army

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  • Indian
    Dec 16, 2011 - 12:15PM

    @Umair:

    Well the army of the 1 lack not only surrendered it keeps loosing wars also… So put it back and live your present, swallow and digest the ‘war on terror’ and then rebuild the ‘land of pure’ all over again…

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  • Dec 16, 2011 - 12:25PM

    Unfortunately, we did not learn lesson from the episode of surrender of East Pakistan.We must mend ourselves in order to differentiate between friend and foe.

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  • ishtiaer hussain
    Dec 16, 2011 - 12:25PM

    @vasan:

    I agree with you.

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  • Litmus
    Dec 16, 2011 - 12:47PM

    The surrender of Pak Army in 1971 is I guess the only instance in the Military history where such huge numbers of soldiers gave up their weapons. Such sheer national disgrace that we as a nation have to live up with, and the credit of all this goes nobody else than the politicians who took the events to such limits where nothing else could have been done. It indeed is a courageous attempt of the writter as he is living up his life tagged with 16th DEC.

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  • Straight_Talk
    Dec 16, 2011 - 1:02PM

    This touching piece tells me only one thing ——— soldiers are fighters and not murders. They also have a heart and that they have a very tough life. I am also overwhelmed by the effects of proper implementation of the Geneva Convention by the Indian army and how good an effect that can bring. I fail to realise what mentality would have inspired Pakistani soldiers to kill captured Indian soldiers like Late Captain Sourav Kalia and others so brutally during the Kargil War. At some level this India-Pakistan enmity is pure immaturity on our part much in the same way as this piece of personal memoir has an air of spirituality in its essence.

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  • Tony Singh
    Dec 16, 2011 - 1:23PM

    @Umair:
    Do you really think any purpose would have been served had these 1lac soldiers died in war? No Army (and that includes Pakistani) likes to surrender. But the commander has to weigh the cost of loosing 1lac soldiers to the benefit their death would have accrued. If he had chosen the path of putting his soldiers in the firing line, knowing fully well it would not alter the end result, you would be criticizing him for doing so. Remember such decisions are taken with a heavy heart. Under the circumstances it was the right decision.

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  • Wasim
    Dec 16, 2011 - 1:32PM

    Losing Bangladesh had to happen one day. In 1971, East Pakistan’s (Bangladesh) population was more than the entire population of West Pakistan, and the land size of Bangladesh is even smaller than Sindh Province of Pakistan. And we had no connection with Bangladesh, India was in between and Bengalis are culturally more similar to Indians than Pakistanis. Our army should have voluntarily given Bangladesh their independent country. The war was a waste.Recommend

  • M. Ahmed
    Dec 16, 2011 - 1:35PM

    The immigrants from Bihar in then East Pakistan were recruited as Al-Badar, Al-Shams, East Pakistan Civil Armed Forces (EPCAF) to aid and assist Pakistan Army during the 1971 war only to be abandoned and forgotten.

    Biharis in particular were punished for being patriotic and loyal to Pakistan. The price paid for patriotism was too high!

    Pakistani historians are quiet on this aspect of 1971 history.

    The case of Pakistani refugees in Bangladesh is history too.

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  • Acorn Guts
    Dec 16, 2011 - 2:04PM

    All I can say (and I say this having read the Hamoodur Rahman report) that it serves us right to be humiliated after what we did to Bengalis. I still consider them to be our brothers and I am happy that at least they are better off than us.

    @Indian:
    I like your ancestors better.

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  • hamid
    Dec 16, 2011 - 2:55PM

    I salute S.Ali khan for narrating the truth and being apart of saving urdu speaking people who sacrifice everything for the sake of pakistan,still 3 lak Bihari are living in Bangladesh in humiliating condition,what pak govt think about them?

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  • ProudPakistani
    Dec 16, 2011 - 3:08PM

    @Indian
    Winning one war with traitors doesn’t mean u have conquered the whole world….You cannot forget how Pakistan(a seven times smaller army) let u down in 1948,1965 & 1999…

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  • Ameer
    Dec 16, 2011 - 3:21PM

    @Shahryar Ahmed:
    “Indian’s (they just expolited a situation to their benefit)”

    Ya we Indians acquired the oil wells that the oil rich bengali's had..No no we were paid billions of American dollars for our war against genocide..No no no we Indians made Bangaldesh our puppet state and converted all Muslims into Hindus while exporting terrorists across the world..Yes Mr.Shahryar Ahmed we did indeed expolit the situation to our benefit..
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  • Dec 16, 2011 - 3:37PM

    Wow, my army made me proud of them all over again.
    What an irony, the biharis who fled bihar to find protection in pakistan were finally protected by their hindu brothers from bihar.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Dec 16, 2011 - 3:45PM

    Kudos to Pak Major for writing a true account of the surrender of 93000 Pakistanis soldiers and also presenting the true image the of Indian Army. India celebrates ‘Vijay Diwas’ ie victory day on this day each year. Lets hope that both countries live in peace and dont go to war anytime in future.

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  • Dec 16, 2011 - 3:51PM

    Thank you for writing this article. Maybe someone will write something more and actually start compiling the correct history of Pakistan. Throughout Pakistan, there is no mention of the massacre at Chittagong in book or educational institutions. Can someone share the Hamoodur Rahman Comission report. Thank you.

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  • Munir Ahmad Saeed
    Dec 16, 2011 - 4:06PM

    Dear Umair, it was not one lac army, infact the total number was 45000 which included 15 thousand paramilitary and police. This has been confirmed personally by Maj General Rao Farman Ali and Gen [email protected]:

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  • Hypervan
    Dec 16, 2011 - 4:09PM

    @NA:
    Both countries were fighting a war on two fronts,whereas Pak forces had superior air power & political support ,thanks to USA & China.(Don’t forget the USA 7th Fleet’s threatening posture in the Bay of Bengal!)

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  • Dec 16, 2011 - 4:14PM

    @Umair:
    honor and shame are medieval terminolgies…
    there is no rationality in fighting till the last blood…
    save as many lives as you can…
    you cant defend a place which has turned against you…
    painful decision but inevitably saved lives…

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  • vasan
    Dec 16, 2011 - 4:35PM

    Ameer : I like your comment

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  • Dec 16, 2011 - 4:58PM

    2 things:

    1) Indian Army’s behaviour makes an Indian proud. No wonder there hasn’t been a coup like it has happened so many times in Pakistan. They live to serve India, not their own interests by grabbing power.

    2) Just confirms what India and Bangladesh have been saying for so long!

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  • Cosmo
    Dec 16, 2011 - 5:03PM

    @ProudPakistani: Very true, not only india, but pakistan has let the entire world down at every instance of its existance.

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  • Tony SIngh
    Dec 16, 2011 - 5:04PM

    @ProudPakistani:
    Comments from people like you can bring the worst out of any Indian. BTW read war history carefully of 1948/65 and 99. Your ignorance will be shattered. But then ignorance is a bliss and you are not able to face the reality.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Dec 16, 2011 - 5:24PM

    @ProudPakistani:

    You cannot forget how Pakistan(a seven
    times smaller army) let u down in
    1948,1965 & 1999…

    No we remember those years rather well. Its just your knowledge of history that is letting you down.

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  • Bigboy
    Dec 16, 2011 - 5:26PM

    @Acorn Guts, “Indian I liked your ancestors better.”

    Bit too late isn’t it Acorn Guts? Your forefathers never liked Indian’s ancestors. That,s why the 1947 partition.

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  • Ali
    Dec 16, 2011 - 5:48PM

    A matter of shame for me as a Pakistani native.

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  • Akha
    Dec 16, 2011 - 5:49PM

    @author: Thank you for narrating your experience, my father then lived in Chittagong and i can recall how proudly he mentions supporting the Army during the war.
    It only sheds small light on how Biharis had to suffer, if only we can learn the lesson.

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  • Touched
    Dec 16, 2011 - 5:57PM

    I wish all our armymen learn from this piece of honesty, and get to tell us the real stories on what has and what is happening, and I am already proud of Pakistan Army. The world is yet to learn your potential, our heroes!

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 16, 2011 - 6:11PM

    that part was bound to fall considering the fact its separated from the mainland by thousands miles of enemy Territory and shortage of supplies and stupid political miscalculations.

    Let these indians enjoy a tiny victory. we know how they have failed time and again on the western front. in 1948 we liberated half Kashmir from their mainland with minimum capability
    similar is the story of 65 and 99. 1999 would have been a complete successful mission had it not been missing guts in the political leadership.

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  • M. Ahmed
    Dec 16, 2011 - 6:12PM

    It was the decision of Indian Defence Minister in 1971 late Mr. Jagjivan Ram (a Bihari himself) understanding the gravity of the situation to ensure that the Bihar Regiment marches into Bangaldesh first. This curtailed genocide of Biharis.

    Biharis were insecure. Biharis were under threat of life. Biharis were still looted killed at the hands of the victorious Bengalis.

    This is how the Bihar Regiment was present in Dhaka and Chittagong. It was policy of the Indian Government.

    Thank you Col. Bisla and Capt. Mitra both of Bihar Regiment for saving the life of my father in 1971 from Awami League in Chittagong.

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  • Babloo
    Dec 16, 2011 - 6:27PM

    I am extremely proud of the gallant conduct of Indian army. I am also thankful to the Pak major for giving a fgactual account , even though it shows the indian army in good light. The army truly reflected the great morals and humanity of the Indian civilization. True liberators who were kind to the oppressors too. India repeated that at Kargil, when it gace dignified burials with proper religious rights to all soldiers of Pakistan army, whom mr musharraf refused to claim as he was claiming that Pakistan had not invaded and occupied the Kargil heights.

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  • Indian
    Dec 16, 2011 - 6:30PM

    @ProudPakistani:

    You are very welcome to say this story to your fellow country men who are accustomed to listen to ‘cock and bull’ stories on your mean stream media…

    You can lock yourself up inside your ego and make an endless argument with yourself but the fact stands Pakistan did not win any war and India did win few if not all..

    ‘a seven times smaller army’ – Yeah you can always find a defense. But, then defenses are only meant to defend your ego from ‘stark and harsh reality’

    Continue doing the same and you are doing a Bangladesh on your western front only the name will be ‘Baluchistan’ and this time it will be Afghans who will play the liberators rather than India.. ( read the article ‘Remembering 1971: A retired major tells the story he’d rather forget’ in this very paper on this very date especially the last paragraph)

    Did i hear you use the word ‘traitor’ for a Bangladeshi??. I invite the commentator ‘Bangladeshi’ to comment on this…

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  • Indian
    Dec 16, 2011 - 6:34PM

    @Acorn Guts:
    And no Indian will like what your ancestors have made your present generation into and your mentality… To learn from history or to repeat history is for every Pakistani to think.. If you don’t want to learn, well then continue your destruction/suicide.

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  • concerned
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:13PM

    where is the honour in surrendering….harakiri would have been much more honourable, then narrating the event in 2011…i know of soldiers and officers who fought to the last bullet even after the surrender

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  • Ashish
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:16PM

    Please try to understand the fact that if one person has to accept and narrate his loss , it is the trait which needs most courage and I salute the author for this.
    Introspection of one self also is a quality which comes with failure and it Pak has to learn its lessons from such incidences.

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  • Abdul bin Waleed
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:18PM

    @Hu Jintao:

    LOL, what make-believe world do you live in? Pakistan?

    As for Hu Jintao, ask how his country handles Muslims in Xinjiang…

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  • Amit
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:25PM

    @ProudPakistani

    You make nice jokes, Can you please give one favor to yourself and check internet neutral sources about 1948, 1965 and 1999 wars, in all wars Pakistan was on loosing side.

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  • sameer
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:32PM

    I think our Indian friend has not read article completely. Article does implicitly Pak soldiers were humiliated in Dhaka

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  • Faisel Hafeez
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:40PM

    The first and only Surrender of a Muslim Army in the entire Muslim History. And the most Humiliating one ever. The least we should have done was to observe a one minute silence, with our Flag at Half Mast , every year on the 16th. of December.
    This day should have been designated to ponder into our follies,with a resolve to never let such a Humiliation fall on us ever again.
    But sadly that never happened. We only fed more lies to our coming generations. The results are in front of everyone to see.
    Hammod ur Rehman Commission’s report should have become the guiding principle to set our course straight. But our Rulers in their wisdom, rubbished it.
    Nations are built on identifying their short comings, and then over coming them.
    Owning, and then correcting a wrong, does not make one small. But provides the correct prerequisites of consolidated growth.

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  • Babloo
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:54PM

    Bangladeshis , particularly Bangladeshi Hindus were butchered as Indian sympathizers.

    The Bihari Muslims sided with the Pakistan army and faught against Mukti Bahini. The Bihari muslims were anti-Indian. However, its the Indian army that protected them from massacre without any ill will or vengeance.
    The reason why 95% of Hindu/Sikhs are no longer in W Pkaistan is because the army and authorities in West Pakistan, did not protect the minorities. The reason why in India only 15% of Muslims migrated to Pakistan was because the orders to protect minorities at all cost, came from the very top – Gandhi and Nehru. Indians should be proud of our history and leaders.

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  • Cynical
    Dec 16, 2011 - 8:27PM

    Well done Shamshad saab.
    You are a truly a courageous man.Your family and friends would be proud of you.
    Wish you all the happiness in the coming years.

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  • Sanjeev
    Dec 16, 2011 - 8:38PM

    Thanks Mr.Shamshad for telling the truth.

    Could you please also elaborate things how did it turn up before December 17th in 1971, if you were present in Bangladesh.

    May be more eyes would open, with the truth.Recommend

  • khalis
    Dec 16, 2011 - 8:46PM

    @Faisel Hafeez:
    are you aware that arabs and egypt to be precise also surrendered in front of israel?

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  • khalis
    Dec 16, 2011 - 8:52PM

    on the other hand when israel went into war with arab states they had 20000 foot soldiers and left over tanks of britishers. they emerged victorious in the end of arab-israel war. where as 90000 pakistanis gave up their weapons.

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  • Yasir Mehmood
    Dec 16, 2011 - 9:30PM

    Some good filmaker should make a movie out of it.

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  • Bala
    Dec 16, 2011 - 9:44PM

    I salute the author for his courage to write this article and thanks for letting us know. I am sure Indians will be happy and glad to hear that Indian Army protected lives on all sides.

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  • Mr. Khan
    Dec 16, 2011 - 9:46PM

    Still we have not learnt anything from the hsitory and its a well said quote that if u gorget history, you will be history.
    What is happening in Balochistan is cent percent same what was happening in East Pakistan prior to independence of bangladesh. same is the role of army, pakistani people, our media, our bureaucracy towords balochistan as it was towards Bengal. they are exactly following the footsteps of their elders which costed us Bangladesh.

    Get up Pakistan or let’s repeat it again as we are doing so…!!!

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  • shamedLahori
    Dec 16, 2011 - 10:26PM

    Thanks to the author.

    I would like to congratulate Pakistanis on the wonderful sense of nationalism we have. And how well we treated our Bengali countrymen.

    soon we will do the same with the Balochis. Recommend

  • khaki
    Dec 16, 2011 - 11:45PM

    it’s a brave effort . hats off to the author for being courageous with his pen and thoughts. men like him in khaki, back then, did the job in troubled times. i m happy that a Major decided to pen it down finally. it was up to this rank that people did whatever they could, obeyed orders carried out tasks. wish the brass could have done the same. i’m thankful to you Major Shamshad Ali Khan for sharing this piece with us, for taking us through times. wish there were more veterans like you ready to share the experiences (though painful) with us the younger ones. a Mighty Thanks

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  • khaki
    Dec 16, 2011 - 11:46PM

    it’s a brave effort . hats off to the author for being courageous with his pen and thoughts. men like him in khaki, back then, did the job in troubled times. i m happy that a Major decided to pen it down finally. it was up to this rank that people did whatever they could, obeyed orders carried out tasks. wish the brass could have done the same. i’m thankful to you Major Shamshad Ali Khan for sharing this piece with us, for taking us through times. wish there were more veterans like you ready to share the experiences (though painful) with us the younger ones. a Mighty ThanksRecommend

  • Abdul Rehman Gilani
    Dec 17, 2011 - 12:21AM

    Had only the Khakis been hanged at that time, there would have been no bravados by Musharrafs.

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  • Yash
    Dec 17, 2011 - 12:33AM

    @To all those pakistanis who say that their nation hasnt learnt from the past

    my all sympathies with u….bt the problem with pakistan is that in pakistan the main objective of teaching history has diminished…

    around the world…history is taught so that the mistakes committed by the forefathers should not be repeated again

    however in pakistan, history (or rather i would say distorted history) is taught as false propaganda to glorify the country and make people more proud than ever (the “i am the best and rest all are pests” attitude)…

    a nation which does not know its history does not have a future….i request you people to please write and make efforts to bring in true content to public eyes…although pakistan has faced hard times…its never late…do this not to demoralize people…bt to bring in a new hope of light

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  • Hassaan
    Dec 17, 2011 - 1:01AM

    Indian army acted out of respect for fellow military men and that is how an officer and gentleman should behave.
    @Litmus please talk on the basis of facts.
    No this wasn’t the biggest surrender by an army of 100,000 men. and PLEASE our army DID NOT number 100,000 it was a significantly smaller number. This number was actually of 93,000 which included
    1. Police
    2. Para military
    3. Irregular units (Militia)
    4. Regular units
    and a whole bunch of other branches including civil services. The Pak army was out manned outmanoeuvred and with little or no supplies left at various fronts. it was a defeat a humiliating defeat but it couldnt be won.

    Every one talks of the bengali massacre but what about the Loyalists who got killed in their thousands and the butchery mukti bahini did.
    AND another thing the data on number of bengalis killed! are you guys actually serious? how many atomic bombs did pakistan drop on bangladesh cause that level of death can only be achieved through atomic means. WE didnt have resources to fight the indians how in the hell could we have killed so many bengalis??

    1.2.4.4.

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  • Sunny
    Dec 17, 2011 - 2:15AM

    It’s India who won as said bye one of my friend’s friend who is Bengali himself bye dividing the 2 Muslims states separately and India who took over. Bangladesh might think they won, but that is not the real deal if you think about it. If this had never happened, we would most likely be stronger than we are today.

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  • Anjum
    Dec 17, 2011 - 2:29AM

    @Hu Jintao:
    Please,, stop! We have a proud, courageous, strong military, but in the hand of stupid And incompetent leaders who have failed to win back Kashmir and alienated our bangali brothers and sisters. They have let down our boys time and again and mislead them and the public. Whenever I see Pak army I get happy. Yahya Khan or bhutto? Both let down our boys to face the humiliation of surrender and left Biharis behind. These people have blood over their hands. Pak zindabad.

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  • Anjum
    Dec 17, 2011 - 2:40AM

    @R S JOHAR:
    You celebrate this day? Well enjoy, you deserve this victory against 30000 Pak troops. Up against the local muktis and military it was very poor odds. A black day for Pak, If feel sadden that our brave and strong soldiers and the biharis was abandoned by our corrupt military and civilian leaders who put them in a mess and left them behind.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Dec 17, 2011 - 9:21AM

    @Anjum: to R.S.Johar “You celebrate this day? Well enjoy, you deserve this victory against 30000 Pak troops.”

    That is a bit effeminate don’t you think ?

    The only victory that Muslims accept as fair is the one in which they are the victors.

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  • Yash
    Dec 17, 2011 - 10:15AM

    @Hassaan:

    well if u wonder how can that amount of deaths are possible without atomic means…i recommend u shud read hitler’s genocide against the jews

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  • Roy
    Dec 17, 2011 - 10:40AM

    Delusions and denial are the last psychological defense against bitter realities.

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  • hammad
    Dec 17, 2011 - 11:50AM

    we have not learned anything from history. this all started back in 1947. west pakistani guys used to say nasty words about eastern guys. about their color,language,height. i dont need to explain that all.
    And this is the first time i havecome to know this tale about indian army. he could have told this before. anyways bangladesh is reality now and this is the time to learn from past and save the remaining land. our historians never tell us the truth.:sRecommend

  • Zahid J.Bhatty
    Dec 17, 2011 - 11:58AM

    Even after this long span of period my heart aces.I was 17 years old at that time.Dacca fall was the day i saw my Abba gee crying uncontrolabley first time in my life.Two days before this tragic even Gen Niazy stated Dacca will fall on my dead body.I just wish he had full filled his promise.Had he been dead by fighting till his last breath or even committed sucide.He would have been a “Shaheed” for us “the Nation” for ever.But the way he surrendered he proved he was a coward.

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  • Observer
    Dec 17, 2011 - 12:49PM

    @Hassaan:

    “Every one talks of the bengali massacre but what about the Loyalists who got killed in their thousands and the butchery mukti bahini did.”

    Any atrocities committed by the Mukti Bahini on the civilian Pak loyalists/beharis must be condemned. However, it must be noted that these acts were an angry reaction to the atrocities committed by the Pak army and its East Pakistani loyalists. Once you start a genocide, an opposite reaction is bound to happen. So, the Pak army and its supporters must take the primary blame for the atrocities.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Dec 17, 2011 - 1:45PM

    @Anjum:
    More than the celebrations by India and our army, it is Bangla-Deshis who celebrate their liberation since they were butchered mercilessly and whose independent estimate is between one million to three million and also one and half lacs women raped. I hope you know that it was your army who committed these atrocities against their own counrtymen. Therefore, there is nothing to be proud of your army who still has not learnt any lessons from its past blunders and employing the same tactics against Balouchis.

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  • Anjum
    Dec 17, 2011 - 3:46PM

    @Yash:
    Im sorry Yash, you dont relate to facts. Did Pak army arranged death camps? Pls. man, get out your false illusions. Sir!

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  • korhimal
    Dec 17, 2011 - 3:57PM

    @AZ:

    I recently came across the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report You may visit the following web site to read the report:

    http://www.pppusa.org/humudurrehman.htm

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  • Anjum
    Dec 17, 2011 - 4:19PM

    @R S JOHAR:
    sorry Johar sb, by repeating you cant make things true. We, pakistanis wants to know what our army did of attrocities, and who did what and how much. I state again, no matter what the Bengalis state of deaths: it is physical impossible for the Pak army to have done attrocities of the scale they (and Pak) is claimed of. If facts are not put on table a consiliation cannot be done. You and the Bengalis live in a cloud of your own. Facts should also be in your and Bengalis interest. Insead of beliefs. Wish you a nice day!

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  • naax
    Dec 17, 2011 - 5:38PM

    beharis gave very daring and selfless support to pakistan. still pakistanis, whether he belong to punjab, or so called urdu speaking connected to different indian cities, humiliates them for being behari at jobs, in studies or even in marriages. please note, its the mentality and circumstances that lead one to act abnormally, not the whole nationality or provinciality.

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  • Arslan Sahi
    Dec 17, 2011 - 8:58PM

    @Indian:
    One defeat dosnt mean all the wars..The Americans lost in vietnam,the russians in Afghanistan and the Indians against China does that mean you put the armies back???

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  • Nadia
    Dec 17, 2011 - 10:07PM

    you can make someone awake if he is sleeping but you cannot wake up some one if he is pretending to sleep..Recommend

  • Tanveer
    Dec 18, 2011 - 1:29PM

    After reading all comments, at least one thing has proven again “Defeat is always orphan, victory has many godfathers.”

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  • Punjabi
    Dec 18, 2011 - 3:05PM

    @ProudPakistani:

    My Pakistani bro i love Pakistani people as they are our part before 1947 and never see them as an enemy but please don’t make the false comment by saying that Pakistan won or successful in 1947,1965 and 1999 wars because you can’t change your past or history and the facts shows that Pakistan never won any war against India but successful to defend the county.History is always stay there you can’t change it but you can change your future by doing the good things in your present because i heard that in Pakistan school text books they taught that Pakistan won every war against India which is not true please educated your student what is true and right don’t try to hide the history or fake it.even India capture the whole Siachen Glacier in 1984.no offense but the truth is always bitter.

    These are the sources below to prove my facts that Pakistan haven’t won any war:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-PakistaniWarof1947
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Pakistani
    Warof1965
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-PakistaniWarof1971
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kargil
    War
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siachen_Glacier

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  • Dec 18, 2011 - 4:33PM

    Mr Asghar Khan was the chief of Pakistan Air Force a number of years, talked to BBC Urdu recently. One can keep on disputing the figures about the people who suffered but that is not going to bring back anyone to life. He puts the blame squarely on two persons, a politician and the other one a military man.

    Gul Hassan and Sahibzadah Yaqub Khan refused to kill their own people, which was recommended by Bhutto to Gen Yahya. Bhutto’s right hand man, Tikka Boti Khan had no qualms about doing so.

    Asghar Khan demands decency to be shown by the GOP who should ask for an unconditional pardon from Bangladeshis.

    Asghar Khan’s Interview

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  • Honesty
    Dec 18, 2011 - 11:08PM

    @Yash – Then with the same token you should acknowledge that a modern day genocide is being committed on Pakistan (about 38,000 plus killed not including the displaced and maimed) whether drone, Indian proxy war . . etc etc, it is still a genocide!
    All genocides must be acknowleded and investigated!!

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  • Yash
    Dec 19, 2011 - 5:43AM

    @Anjum:

    did i ever say that pak had death camps (its actually known as concentration camps)??….

    there they were concentration camps…here it was operation searchlight….m talkin abt the results….

    try to understand the point made and dont dig into technicalities every now and then…

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  • Yash
    Dec 19, 2011 - 5:49AM

    @Honesty:

    yes obv it shud b acknowledged and investigated…i totally support u with this…bt the problem is…that these stupid world leaders do not consider deaths over large period of time as genocides…

    Indian proxy war??…thats sumthin weird…pak never raised this issue with india or the UN…i dont think theres such kind of thing….

    bt if it does….even though m an Indian…i strongly condemn it at every step…

    bt ryt now i still dont believe sucha thing exists…coz india is known to learn from other countries…pak has been playing proxy wars for long time now…today its not in a gud state…so do u think india will follow the same path??

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  • Abhishek
    Dec 19, 2011 - 7:48AM

    @ Faisel Hafeez
    it was not the first surrender of muslim army in subcontinent.
    Do learn some history. you will be surprised at what you find out.

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  • indian response.
    Dec 19, 2011 - 11:34PM

    I am so proud of the Indian army for treating enemy soldiers with respect, although I seriously doubt I would have extended the same courtesy. But then again that is the reason why I am not in the Indian army. The Pakistanis should appreciate the sane respect the Pakistani soldiers have been given and must abandon all those in their country who are anti – India. In the end India does not want to take back Pakistan because Pakistan’s problems becomes its problems. Recommend

  • Mehdi Hassan Zafari
    Dec 23, 2011 - 8:07AM

    @ Indian

    Indian Army is known for issuing fake medals for undead soldiers. Kargil was a good lesson when India had to deploy its whole army to Tiger hills in response to a bunch of Pakistani soldiers and Atal Bihari Vjpayee was running to the US and UN for stopping Pakistan.Recommend

  • indian
    Dec 24, 2011 - 8:46PM

    well i am an indian.i know how pak army should have felt after a humiliating defeat in indian army in four different instances 1949,65,71,99.i don’t think war is necessary b/n india and pak.remember india and pak r seperate only of the stupid british.also these war is not because of the pak people or pak armed forces but because of some leaders like gen.yakhya khan,musharaf,zulfikar ali bhuttoetc.but it is the same place where some great leaders like jinnah and khan abdul gaffur khan r frontier gandhi.so let peace prevail.no more war & blood shed pl.not pak vs ind but pak & indRecommend

  • Abrar
    Dec 24, 2011 - 11:18PM

    @Mehdi Hasan Zafari – You are so correct!! A handful of Pakistani forces were confronting a huge Indian Army in Bangladesh war to their surprise. This was all preplanned by India to break the East wing of Pakistan to benefit India strategically and the Indians would have lost badly had UN not interefered. Vajpayee raced to the UN to use their muscle to stop a small army of Pakistan who was merely trying to save its own country from the greatest Indian espionage!! But alas through out history, UN and big powers have always helped India with its evil designs on Pakistan whether consciously or unconsciously. We must however, acknowledge India for its strong Indian lobby and propaganda machine. Pakistan is just a simple country and should always watch their backs when it comes to India.Recommend

  • mO
    Jan 3, 2012 - 12:32PM

    I think India, Pakistan and Bangladesh should reunite and become one country again with muslim rule. Thumbs up agar aap log agree kerte hain! Lets start the movement to reunite and spread the love……muslim style!

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  • Noise
    Jan 4, 2012 - 1:26AM

    @mO
    Its been done before and it turned out bad. Better for the subcontinent to unite under democratic rule under common law which gives each community and sect equal rights.

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