Our 1971 debacle

Published: December 16, 2010
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The writer is chief executive officer of Bank Alfalah 
sirajuddin.aziz@tribune.com.pk

The writer is chief executive officer of Bank Alfalah sirajuddin.aziz@tribune.com.pk

December is cold. Its nights are long and the days are sun-starved. Every December, since 1971, I get into an unexplainable mood of depression. That year, I had stepped into my teens and was like any other young lad, passionately in love with my beloved country, Pakistan. It was during this time that my ‘ideals of Pakistan’ being a ‘citadel of Islam’ were crushed to a cold death. The unnecessary war of December 1971 with India, saw the dismemberment of the then, largest Islamic state and the event heralded in me, a new awakening — religion was not a binding force, anymore! The youthful and emotional ‘idealism’ of a unified, single Ummah caved into a dismal pit of anger and denial.

Asghar Khan in his book, We Have Learnt Nothing From History aptly remarks, “The verdict of the electorate (1970 elections) was unexpected and baffled not only the political pundits but also the contesting parties…The Bengalis had been known for their massive support to a single political organisation, once they believed it deserved their confidence…Amongst the provinces that later formed a part of Pakistan their contribution to the battle of the ballot was most valuable and their sense of patriotism probably the most developed”. So how was it, that the most patriotic segment of the country decided to revolt and secede?

Refusal to accept the results of the 1970 elections by the political parties of the western wing, who had the tacit support of the power-drunk generals, paved the way for the long-simmering hatred to surface with full might and venom. The military struck with all its might in March 1971, not realising that no army in history had ever won against its own people.

On December 17, I remember watching the six o’ clock English news on PTV, whereupon the fall of Dhaka — the humiliating spectacle of a ceremony of surrender at the Dhaka Race Course Ground — was shown to an aghast, shocked and miserably demoralised nation. In recent history, no army general had ever been stripped of his badges, in full public view. And here General ‘Tiger’ Niazi (may Allah bless his soul) who, a day earlier, had said “Dhaka — over my dead body” was signing the instrument of surrender! I cried bitterly, avoiding eye contact with other family members. We were all devastated. East Pakistan had been lost, Jinnah’s dream and effort lay in shambles.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, despite his histrionics and dramatic performance at the UN Security Council, seemed like a God-sent messiah to us, when he said: “We will make a new Pakistan”. He lifted our courage and morale for which he deserves full credit. He restored respect to the armed forces by declaring in every speech Pakistan lost a political battle, not a military war.

Sarmila Bose is assistant editor at the widely-read, Anandabazar Patrika, and a niece of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Writing on the 1971 war, she said something that we, today, would do well to heed: “There is much for Pakistan to come to terms with what happened in 1971. But the answers don’t lie in the unthinking vilification of the fighting men who performed so well in the war against such heavy odds, in defence of national policy. Rather, in failing to honour them, the nation dishonours itself”.

Oh! deathly cold December, thou shall always be in mourning.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (52)

  • CJ
    Dec 16, 2010 - 12:30AM

    Can you put some light upon a man known as ZAB for not accepting the verdict of 70 million east Pakistanis, why he did not sat in opposition? Why he declared that any one going to Dhaka for attending assembly session should buy a one way ticket.!
    Seem like PPP government is aiding people to distort history. PPP is crying Democracy is best revenge, but did not herself accept the results of ballot in 1970. Double standards!Recommend

  • Asfandyar
    Dec 16, 2010 - 12:34AM

    So, religion was not a binding force anymore because of the loss of East Bangladesh? With all due respect sir, that is cartoon logic and betrays quite a silly world-view that is held by a ‘certain’ segment of Pakistan. Recommend

  • UmEr
    Dec 16, 2010 - 12:39AM

    Sir, I thank ALLAH that we still have elders like you in our nation who DO NOT just criticize the Nation but speaks truth, May ALLAH bless you..

    We will make a New Pakistan Insh’ALLAH!Recommend

  • Dec 16, 2010 - 2:06AM

    In both this and the other article on East Pakistan/Bangladesh, while both revisit the events of that time, both have conveninetly forgotten to mention the fate of thousands of stranded Pakistanis stuck in Bangladesh for nearly 40 years, who only recently were granted Bangladeshi nationality. Both conveniently ignore the Hamoodur Rehman Commission report and its findings. The fact that it was suprresed till 2001 speaks volumes of the efforts made by some to protect those who were found to be guilty of what could be mildly called war crimes and that to perpetuated on its own citizens.

    Revisiting the past is fine, but getting excited on statements such as: He restored respect to the armed forces by declaring in every speech Pakistan lost a political battle, not a military war. So he perpetuated propaganda and revised history, and by doing that somehow the respect of the armed forces had been increased?

    And then we have: * in defence of national policy* Yes, people died needlesly in defence of policy, but by no means was that national policy. That policy reflected the warped mentality of the West Pakistani elite who made little effort of hiding their biases against fellow Pakistani’s.

    Every event in Pakistan’s history is coloured and rewritten. No wonder we fail to learn from the past. Recommend

  • Mir Agha
    Dec 16, 2010 - 2:28AM

    “cartoon logic” is correct. There is no holy grail of what a binding force is to a nation. For some, naturally its religion (i.e. Israel, Pakistan, England, etc.), for some its a mythological history, for some its culture, and for most its a combination of everything. It’s as simple as letting everyone in on the decisions or at least giving them the illusion that they matter combined with peace and prosperity for all. If that’s not there, one could easily tear apart even the most homogeneous of states. The bangla debacle was a political travesty for sure, but to draw conclusions from its regarding “nationhood” is thoroughly asinine, the hallmark of half-baked historians and pseudo-intellectuals that affect this country and the region. The other side of the coin is that if democracy was preserved through accepting the votes of the east, it wouldn’t mean that Pakistan is still the ‘citadel of islam’, it would just mean that a large section of the state felt that their interests were still secure in the system, whatever interests they might be.Recommend

  • G. Din
    Dec 16, 2010 - 3:17AM

    @Asfandyar
    “…With all due respect sir, that is cartoon logic and betrays quite a silly world-view that is held by a ‘certain’ segment of Pakistan.”
    Sir, could you expand on why it “betrays quite a silly world-view”. Not all will accept your statement just on the basis of your assertion. Recommend

  • Nowsherwan
    Dec 16, 2010 - 9:29AM

    I completely agree with you sir, religion isn’t a binding force anymore and apart which religion are we talking about, which sect or faction will bind the nation? It’s a dilemma that we were exploited in the name of religion in the past and there still are people ever ready to exploit and get exploited by the protagonists of religion.Recommend

  • Nasrat baloch
    Dec 16, 2010 - 10:31AM

    The bottom lines is: have we learnt any lesson from that? Recommend

  • Romano
    Dec 16, 2010 - 11:50AM

    Jinnah’s 11th August speech MUST be made a part of he Constitution. Unless we do that, we will continue to flounder. An edifice without foundations. No wonder we have members of Parliament shouting down the Late Minoo Bhandara, ‘our history begins with Muhammed Bin Qasim!’.

    We cannot deny our varied pre Muslim past; and continuing to do so will keep on bringing us up against the same wall again and again. As a political commentator recently wrote in an article, we must address the issue of, ‘who are we?’Recommend

  • Irshad Salim
    Dec 16, 2010 - 12:00PM

    A very nice personalized article on Dhaka debacle appears on :

    Stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh: Did They Commit Some Mistake of Judgment?

    http://pkonweb.com/2010/12/stranded-pakistanis-in-bangladesh/Recommend

  • Haris Masood Zuberi
    Dec 16, 2010 - 12:21PM

    A warmly written piece about that cold December–good read Mr Sirajuddin.

    Though born many years after the Dhaka debacle, from what I’ve read and learned extensively about that fateful year and showdown in December 1971 from elders, every year even I can feel the chill in the air from many Decembers ago, that will always haunt our nation–which is good, since we mustn’t forget.
    The elder generation must keep reflecting and telling us the younger lot how mighty miserable it all was, and how helpless an individual Pakistani felt in his/her living room watching that historic footage, which was conveniently destroyed by the Bhutto govt later and is absent in PTV archives.

    Meanwhile I agree with Sarmila Bose who’s very right;
    “There is much for Pakistan to come to terms with what happened in 1971. But the answers don’t lie in the unthinking vilification of the fighting men who performed so well in the war against such heavy odds, in defence of national policy. Rather, in failing to honour them, the nation dishonours itself”.

    Even FM Sam “Bahadur” Manekshaw couldn’t help but admit that the fighting cadres did well what they ought to, the failures were political.
    What creates panic is that 39 Decembers on, an average Pakistani is still self-inflictingly helpless-voiceless, and failures are all political, while the blames are conveniently shifted to the Khakis. Recommend

  • Moazzam Salim
    Dec 16, 2010 - 12:40PM

    Who in Pakistan wouldnt want to honor the men in uniform who fought for their country… or did they? The debacle of 71 was not a political crisis it was a disaster initiated by the same men in uniform who were supposed to fight for Pakistan not against it. Sarmila Bose is an indian writer and hasnt had any experience of being conquered by the same army which has taken the oath to serve India, therefore, she is in no position to advice on an issue which is unique to Pakistan and its people. “IF” is a very dangerous word but it has its moments. Imagine, if, Ayub hadnt declared a Martial Law in 1958 the things would have been different for Pakistan. Even before him Major General Iskander Mirza, although not in uniform, but still a trained General made political blunders which can only be expected from a non-thinking man in uniform. Later episodes have proven one thing that the Generals have not learnt anything from history they keep on invading their own country for their petty desires thus taking Pakistan into a chaotic phase after each intervention. And each such interventionn leaves Pakistan to deal with their legacies. Political leaders, not chosen by the masses of their free will, but enforced upon them by these military interventions have led to more chaos and political instability. Jinnah was a visionary, however, his dream died when the first General took power and broke every law of the Country. East Pakistan and the consequent events remind us that until and unless we are going to obey law and make sincere efforts to have constant political dialogue amongst the nations making up the Federation of whats left of the original Pakistan we are not going to make it. Pakistan is a country of proud and hard working people all they need is a law abiding leadership and overall rule of law. Recommend

  • Human OHM 786
    Dec 16, 2010 - 1:40PM

    @ Writer and Specally Romano: It’s an Awesome feeling to Read you people.. True and Daring Journalism… Pakistan is Blessed to have you people and Awaiting an Incredible reform…

    Sir, I would Like to know that
    1)What kind of Social Reform you Have in your Sight for Pakistan?
    2)What kind of Social Structure you think could Help Pakistan becoming a prosperous and peaceful Country?
    3)What Efforts needed to Bring these Reforms and What Help or Efforts Pakistan wish from India’s Side in all Sectors.
    4)What kind of Relations you see, Pakistan should Build in coming 20 years, as they are Going to be very very crucial and Defining years for the World, With India and Other nations.
    5)Where do you see Pakistan, 20 Years from now, if Pakistan follows the Same practices, Tactics and Policies?

    I see a lot of Similarity Between Ground Level Problems, Which India and Pakistan Share together, So much Similarity in Culture, So many things(Economically specially), Where they compliment each other. But, the 65, 71, 99 wars and Mumbai Like Attacks, and Many people within Both sides of the Border Who have Vowed to Hate and Spread Hate against each others, Without looking at future and Being Totally illogical about Historical and Geographical facts too, are the Biggest Problem in the Trust building process between the 2 Countries.
    DO YOU HAVE A ROAD MAP IN YOUR SIGHT, Which could Initiate this process and some solid future oriented goals for Both.

    when I look at the Things from Pakistan’s side, I feel you are already late, and it’s Urgent for you to think and do something About it, lest you see yourself far behind the world after 20-25 years( because CHINA alone could not bring a world status and Overall reforms in Pakistan.. )
    Don’t Just refuge it by just saying me to “mind my own business”..

    Best Wishes..Recommend

  • ashok
    Dec 16, 2010 - 1:44PM

    Atal bihari vajpayee who was in opposition party that time in 1971 said to then PM of India Ms.Indira Gandhi “Maa Durga” after the separating the pakistan in two and added “Ms.Gandhi is the only man in her cabinet” Wish we can have someone like Indira again who had strong will though she mad some wrong political decision but by saparating pakistan she became the only PM of india who could walk the talk. Recommend

  • Tanveer Khadim
    Dec 16, 2010 - 5:13PM

    In my opinion its wrong to target 1970 elections only, because the role of Muktibahini and propaganda begins before elections. The result of ’70 elections turned to be a triger to exploit the situation.

    Just suppose for a minute that we are in 1970 and the power has been transfered to Mujib ur Rehman, now what is the post power transfer scenario. Has Muktibahini been eliminated from east Pakistan, Has the Indian insurgency been targeted and eliminated from east Pakistan, Has Mujib ur Rehman’s propaganda been stopped and last but not the least the hate in the heart of Mujib ur Rehman for Pakistan and Pakistanis turns into patriotism. UNFORTUNATELY the answer is negative.

    Actually it was power struggle of Mujib ur Rehman, it was nothing to do with Rights of Bengali people. There were group of people who used the slogan of Bengali Rights just for their own agenda on the behest of India particularly right after 1947. And after 24 years they had the chance to accomplish their goal.
    It has nothing to do with religion !!!Recommend

  • Arifq
    Dec 16, 2010 - 5:13PM

    Dear Mister Writer, millions lost their lives and many more were left displaced, and here you are talking about your shattered dreams and gloriying the same armed forces responsible for rape and plunder of the very same citizens they had vowed to protect. Iam afraid, the same mistake is being repeated in Baluchistan because we do not learn from history. Recommend

  • murassa sanaullah
    Dec 16, 2010 - 6:42PM

    the creation of Pakistan or the partition of India was only due to the fact the one party never wanted to give rights to the other,creation of Bangladesh also had the same reason, one party was deprrived of their rights we as a nation has forgotten are mistake or don’t know how to learn from our mistakes we are doing the same thing.just like in71 our generals still thing they are the saviours, the journalist mixing correct news with thier views, the politicians fighting for their rights not for the peoples,this all proves history is waiting to repeat it self.Recommend

  • Humanity
    Dec 16, 2010 - 7:50PM

    A state is only a geo-political entity that is supposed to safeguard the rights of its citizen through equity and justice.Islam gets in extreme danger whenever a state asserts to be a citadel of Islam. Only when a human heart become a citadel of Islam, is when the beauty of Islam radiates and illuminates every thing around it.

    When the state starts to meddle with divine affairs, all hell breaks loose. The proof is in the pudding called Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The fissures and warts of this mutated entity were exposed clearly on December 16, 1971. And yet the saviors of Islam, the superior Muslims failed to see the problem. The rapid decline into a lawless society where every evil is justified in the name of Islam is undeniable.

    The people dazed with the opium of religion dream of utopia and yearn for the 7th century state of Medina. That was an exemplary state based on a system similar to a secular system. Coercion of religion was forbidden. Who so ever claimed to be a Muslim was considered a Muslim. The state guaranteed the safety of the non-Muslims. It were the hearts of the Muslim believers that were the citadel of Islam in the 7th century sate of Medina. And it had a unique leader in the form of the Holy Prophet(saw). Isn’t it blasphemous to assume or expect that the superior Muslims of Islamic Republic of Pakistan can duplicate the state of Medina.Their colossal ignorance and their arrogance is shameless.

    The lesson to learn is when religion is used as political tool by the politicians, generals, and the mullah to perpetuate their self-interest, the resulting state is a living hell. The lesson to learn is that the state must stop shoving religion down every one’s throat. The state’s job is to guarantee safety and rule of law to all its citizens. People will be productive and they will blossom and thrive in a free environment. That is when those who call themselves Muslims can be sure that they are Muslims because of their free will and not because they hold a state issued certificate! The heart of a believer become a citadel of Islam, when s/he submits to Allah of absolute free will!Recommend

  • JA
    Dec 16, 2010 - 9:09PM

    @G. Din
    Sir, am quite content for people not to “accept” my statement (assertion?).Recommend

  • Anoop
    Dec 16, 2010 - 9:26PM

    “Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, despite his histrionics and dramatic performance at the UN Security Council, seemed like a God-sent messiah to us, when he said: “We will make a new Pakistan”. He lifted our courage and morale for which he deserves full credit. He restored respect to the armed forces by declaring in every speech Pakistan lost a political battle, not a military war.”

    –> If you think about it ZAB is one of the guys responsible for 1971 war. He foolishly supported the 1965 attack on India by Pakistan, thinking India would not hit back. Not only did India hit back and defeated Pakistan, it decided that a two-front war with Pakistan might pose problems and wanted to pay back for the attack on India in 1965. 1971 was an ideal way to get back at Pakistan for the ’65 betrayal.

    So, in effect ZAB is in a way hugely responsible for the breakup of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Human OHM 786
    Dec 16, 2010 - 10:41PM

    I see the very hope in Pakistani Media(To whom many Extremists in Pakistan call Fifth Column of enemy instead of 4th Column of Democracy..), which seems now very tolerable, flexible and Open even after the many Obstacles it faces.. The very fact is that as Much thoughts you let in your System, as much you enrich Your society an it’s Consciousness, Let them decide what is right and what is wrong … Recommend

  • Maestro96
    Dec 16, 2010 - 11:27PM

    @Anoop. The 1965 may have been a folish adventure but the 7 times stronger Indian military never defeated Pakistan. By all neutral accounts, IAF badly lost the air war. Please check your facts before making a claim on a public forum.Recommend

  • G. Din
    Dec 17, 2010 - 2:45AM

    @murassa sanaullah
    “…the creation of Pakistan or the partition of India was only due to the fact the one party never wanted to give rights to the other,”
    If the allusion is to Indian Congress “never wanted to give rights to the other,” other meaning Muslims, you would be dead wrong. What Jinnah and Muslim League wanted was “reservation for Muslims in corridors of power”. No one would agree to that as that would be negation of democratic principles of “one person-one vote”. Having observed how Muslim League conducted governance (terribly badly) of the provinces it controlled, agreeing to reservations would have spelled disaster for the whole country similar to how you are destroying Pakistan today. Since Jinnah would not budge, it was decided to go our separate ways. So, it was not that any rights were being denied to Muslims but it was to preclude communal mischief.

    @JA
    “Sir, am quite content for people not to “accept” my statement (assertion?).”
    So, sir, was it to titillate others that you asserted your unfounded views?Recommend

  • Ramzaan
    Dec 17, 2010 - 2:49AM

    its shameful when I see people talking of Muslim UMMAH… this is anti secular a word to the core… muslims it seems will never comprehend the true meaning of secularismRecommend

  • FF
    Dec 17, 2010 - 4:00AM

    Please get your terminology correct and accept it. It was not just war it was genocide.

    -FFRecommend

  • Salim Ansari
    Dec 17, 2010 - 5:58AM

    @murassa sanaullah : “…the creation of Pakistan or the partition of India was only due to the fact the one party never wanted to give rights to the other,”

    The Muslim league wanted a revival of “Muslim rule” in India and was not interested in a one-person one-vote parliamentary system, as is functioning in India now. Had the Muslim League agreed, the entire sub-continent would have been a secular nation with religion a private matter. Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Dec 17, 2010 - 9:37AM

    I was a young student in late sixties and few of our class mates were Bengalis. I still remember how badly we use to treat them. Hatred, racial comments and light beating was normal and never I saw a teacher or elder ever had stopped us and told us to treat Bengalis as equal. Now those respected teachers if they are still alive and their distinguished students are just wasting their crocodile tears in newspaper articles. Fact is, most Punjabis never treated Bengalis with respect. Separation of East Pakistan was inevitable.Recommend

  • Anoop
    Dec 17, 2010 - 10:37AM

    @Maestro96,

    Read some International material rather than propaganda of Pakistani History Text Books and Media.

    In Military terms when you launch an offensive and you dont achieve your objective, its considered failure and a defeat. Pakistan launched Operation Gibralter and if it had succeeded Pakistan and India wouldn’t be fighting over Kashmir now.

    India military strength didn’t have that great of an edge over Pakistan then, that it has now. Supposing it did have a “7 times” greater military prowess than Pakistan, then it makes the decision to launch operation Gibralter a even more foolish one.

    Due to that foolishness Pakistan lost half a country. I’d not be feeling proud of 1965 if I were you. It started a chain of events that led to the ultimate surrender of the Pakistani army while exposing the Genocide of Hindus in East Pakistan.Recommend

  • Dec 17, 2010 - 11:46AM

    @Tanveer Khadim

    Actually it was power struggle of Mujib ur Rehman

    OK so Mujib-ur-Rehman single handedly cast all the votes in favour of Awami League. And it was Mujib and his ‘power struggle’ that decided that the election results will not be accepted. Simply brilliant logic.

    it was nothing to do with Rights of Bengali people

    If that be the case, then what was the need of unleashing a reign of terror in East-Pakistan once Mujib had been duped into coming to west Pakistan and was arrested and put behind bars.Ever heard of Dacca University Massacre, what was that about?

    There were group of people who used the slogan of Bengali Rights just for their own agenda on the behest of India particularly right after 1947.

    Look around carefully, you may find Indian agents talking about rights of Sindhis, Baloch, Ahmadis, Ismailis and horror of horrors unclean (napak) minorities, the sooner you eliminate them the better.GOOD LUCK.

    PS – Have you consulted any source of information on 1971 apart from your Pakistan Studies text books. Try Bangladesh government sites for a change, or read a book called Murder of History, written by (an Indian agent) Pakistani historian called KK Aziz.Or just read a blog on this very site
    http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/3479/december-16-bangladeshs-day-of-liberation/Recommend

  • Waqar Toor
    Dec 17, 2010 - 12:10PM

    @Humanity.!

    Dear! You are SpotOn! I 100% agree with your point of view.

    You know the ultimate objective of every system is humanity and to have such a system in place, where every one has got his/her fundamental right been assured by the state. Social Welfare state is the objective which every system tend to achieve. Islamic system, system of Democracy and Socialism all talk about equality, tolerance and freedom. Our problem is that we have never ever been able to follow Islam or Democracy in its true spirit. A state has nothing to do with religion as religion is the private matter for every human being. The state has to safeguard the rights of an individual regardless of his/her religion, creed or identity. So the day we declared pakistan “Islamic Democratic state”, that was the first day of our decline. Lets sit together that we want Democracy or want a pure Islamic system. Once decided, we should follow the principles strictly. We have combined these two by leaving too many loopholes for the corrupt ruling class.!. And one thing that we are continuously missing is that Islamic system is not all about enforcement of Hadd and Punishments, it tends to ensure the basic rights and then comes the penal part..! So if any govt. which claims to be an Islamic govt. can ensure the basic fundamental rights of individuals, it can go ahead and get the penal part executed against the wrong doers. And If we go for Democracy, its first principal is to give the right of people and empower them for self governance..!!!!! Recommend

  • harkol
    Dec 17, 2010 - 1:34PM

    Maestro:

    The 1965 may have been a folish adventure but the 7 times stronger Indian military never defeated Pakistan.

    In a war defeat is about failing to meet objectives. In each of the indo-pak wars, Indian army met its objectives, and Pak army did not.

    If you mean by defeat a complete destruction of enemy, and invasion of entire country, then you don’t know warfare.

    For eg. USA never achieved its objectives in Vietnam, that’s why it is widely considered to have been defeated and that war was a huge disaster for US. Same is the case with USSR in Afghanistan.

    India lost its objective of recapturing Indian territory in Indo-China war, thus it is said to have lost the war.

    Pakistan army has attempted to fight India with various objectives (Foolish or otherwise) and not once has it achieved its objectives.Thus it lost each of those wars.Recommend

  • ABHISHEK
    Dec 17, 2010 - 3:37PM

    If Pakistan, as a State, Would have Learned a lesson from 1971, Kargil Were not Happened… By attempting Kargil at a time, When Peace process was on track, was even bigger or i will say the biggest mistake by Pakistan in it’s 63 years History…. Your Statesmen and the Policy makers Pushed back your country Years behind by that and then Consequent Incidents in last 11 years.. If Pakistan would have moved with India in 1999 with the warmness that ignited that time, Imagine the Scenario and the level of trust which would have developed between two countries today.. But Pakistan’s Policy makers and Power Holders(I struggle for a suitable word which would not be edited by ET) kept and Continuously keeping the nation in Dark and now if you Look at the Situation around you, your Policy makers are only finding the ways to get Strategical Advantages over India instead of Finding the ways to Live Peacefully with Honor and Dignity… Doing Mistakes and continuously repeating them is The Biggest national Policy of Pakistan Today, where every one Seeks the ways to Come in power instead of enriching it’s people…
    Recommend

  • Tanveer Khadim
    Dec 17, 2010 - 5:38PM

    @ Vikas Ranjan,

    Why are you so hyper ? Try to understand the thing in its context.

    Its needless to say that there was no Indian involvement in East Pakistan, if not, than why Indra Gandhi said it openely on record in one of her interviews that India supports the uprising in East Pakistan. And why this statement came from India before the advent of the war that in coming days India will be hosting lot of refugees from East Pakistan. THESE ARE THE OPEN FACTS THAT CAN’T BE DENIED !!!!

    Moreover I didnt say that Mujib ur Rehman was doing it single handedly. I wrote “There were group of people who used the slogan of Bengali Rights just for their own agenda on the behest of India particularly right after 1947. And after 24 years they had the chance to accomplish their goal.”
    I am talking about GROUP of People and Mujib ur Rehman was their face. Its always lethal to brainwash the locals by using their own language and using their own people as puppets. Its OPEN EXAMPLE is 1971.

    There were misunderstandings and there was some political upheavel, but it was all internal matter between the both wings of Pakistan, THERE WAS “NO” justified moral right for Indian army to cross the international border.

    Its useless to talk about Balochistan, right now everyone in the whole world is well aware of the fact that India is again trying to play the same game in Balochistan.

    Its so funny to make India a sacred cow, because from last more than a half century Indian occupied Kashmir is a perfect example of genocide, brutality … TRUE FACE OF INDIA.

    Every country has some clashes between the communities over religion, ethnicity, language and distribution of funds etc, this what we are facing in Pakistan, so its useless to mingle Ahmadis, Ismailis, Christians and Sindhis with “BALOCHISTAN” . If you deny this fact than why Muslims, Christians, Lower cast Hindus and the Communist people are facing so much devastation and why are they being pushed against the wall by the fundamentalist Hindus who are in majority.

    It is also a fact that there are people who wrote and present history always in a “apologetic” way. Moreover visiting Bangladeshi govt website is useless because for Bangladesh it will always be a freedom movement and for Pakistan it will always be a “Civil war / Uprising” .

    Those people who witness the events and stands in the eye of the storm , always talk on facts. Fortunately or unfortunately Pakistan has many such people who witness the 1971 living in east Pakistan. Recommend

  • Anwar Khan
    Dec 17, 2010 - 7:54PM

    The seeds of Bangladesh were planted by our forefathers when they declared Urdu as our National language in the then East Pakistan,Recommend

  • Dec 17, 2010 - 8:21PM

    @Tanveer Khadim

    If you deny this fact than why Muslims, Christians, Lower cast Hindus and the Communist people are facing so much devastation and why are they being pushed against the wall by the fundamentalist Hindus who are in majority.

    Ever heard of a lady called Sonia Gandhi, and ever wondered what is she doing as the most powerful person in ‘fundamentalist Hindu majority’. No , never? I thought so.
    You also must be completely unaware of another lady called Mayawati, Chief Monister of the largest state of India, elected by popular vote in ‘fundamentalist Hindu majority’.
    Ever heard of a state called West Bengal, where communista have been in power for nearly 30 years now, again in ‘fundamenatalist Hindu majority’.
    And ever heard of the fact that about 20 million Bangladeshi muslims who have illegally migrated to ‘fundamentalist Hindu majority’ India. Ever wondered why they did not migrate t Pakistan.

    for Bangladesh it will always be a freedom movement and for Pakistan it will always be a “Civil war / Uprising” .

    Well if it was either a ‘reedom movement’ or an ‘uprising’ then why are you frothing at the mouth about a conspiracy. Take a deep breath , clear your head, make up your mind(?) about what 1971 was. a ‘freedom movement’ an ‘uprising’ or a ‘conspiracy’, and then come back with some arguments based on facts.Recommend

  • MS Hasan
    Dec 17, 2010 - 8:59PM

    Bhutto is the person responsible. Mujeeb was only asking for his legitimate right to form a govt. Today they have beaten us in all compartments of life……. Recommend

  • salim
    Dec 17, 2010 - 9:33PM

    Having done a lot of reading on the fall of East Pakistan I have come to the conclusion that this shameful debacle occured fot the following reasons:

    ` West Pakistan hegemony

    ` ZAB

    ` ArmyRecommend

  • JA
    Dec 17, 2010 - 9:38PM

    @G. Din
    “So, sir, was it to titillate others that you asserted your unfounded views?”
    – For the sake of non-argument = yes!Recommend

  • Irshad Salim
    Dec 17, 2010 - 9:41PM

    Here’s another interesting view (from a writer in Bangladesh) on this matter:

    Biharis In 1971: Used And Left Behind By Pakistan Army

    http://pkonweb.com/2010/12/biharis-in-1971-used-and-left-behind-by-pakistan-army/Recommend

  • Tanveer Khadim
    Dec 17, 2010 - 10:43PM

    @ Vikas Rajan,

    Anything that is fact for me will remain conspiracy for you and any thing which is fact for you will remain conspiracy for me. it is wastage of time for both of us , we will never agree with each other, So I dont want to indulge in anymore baseless arguments.

    But I want to ask you just two things :

    1, Have you ever heard about Gujrat Massacre and Nirander Moodi ?

    2, Have you headr about Naxalite movement ?

    Let alone Kashmir.

    Vikas I already cleared it that for us it was / is and it will remain uprising and a civil war , and for Bangaladeshi govt it was / is and will remain freedom movement.

    So now its time for you to take a deep breath and serach logical answers somewhere else :)Recommend

  • MilesToGo
    Dec 18, 2010 - 5:53AM

    Sometimes it feels strange that both Pakistani and Bangladeshi are mad at india for 1971. I mean if there is so much love, then go patch up and reunite –Recommend

  • Avanti
    Dec 18, 2010 - 6:26AM

    I was a teenager, but on the other side of the border – in Calcutta and Assam. Still remember the headlines of “Amrit Bazaar Patrika”. We had blackouts, sirens, and a lot of scare. So many Bangladeshi refugees came to our area. They were truly tortured. Young girls were raped. Intellectuals murdered – never made it. I rather not think about that period, to be honest.

    A few years later, I came to the US to get my Ph. D.. For the 1st time in my life, I met Pakistanis, and it so happened, roomed with one – Shakeel. We used to have heated political discussions – face to face. That is when I realized how distorted Pakistn’s history books were. Shakeel and his friends new all about Bombay film industry (Rafi and Kishore Kumar were still alive!). I also realized how backward Pakistan was in terms of industrial development. “You mean those things are made in India” Shakeel used to wonder because it seemed like everything in Pakistan was imported!

    On a sad note, though, 3 years later, Shakeel was killed in a car accident. Just weeks before his death, he and I went to JC Penney and I bought a handbag for $6. It’s been 27 years. I still have that bag – never used it, but always kept it. A “nishaani” of one of my best friends. Shakeel. A Pakistani.Recommend

  • eleena
    Dec 18, 2010 - 7:49AM

    @Ashok Indira let those war criminals walk free.Do you know how many east pakistan/Bangladesh people including children and women were murdered?
    How many women including muslim women were raped by pakistan Army.
    West pakistan people consider Bangladesh people were vermin deserve to die.
    Ultimately what happened now?Bangladesh developing faster that pakistan.Recommend

  • Sirajuddin Aziz
    Dec 18, 2010 - 10:07AM

    It is encouraging to see the response of so many readers! the whole idea in recalling the events of 1971 is to revisit history. The distortions in history should be corrected and one must have the courage to accept reality! my effort was to pen my views ; i take no sides!
    The engagement in dialogue must remain disspassionate ,impartial and un biased.
    with best wishes to all who commented.
    sirajuddin aziz.Recommend

  • Raj
    Dec 18, 2010 - 1:01PM

    We met a Pakistani Christian who claimed that Pakistan won the 1971 war. According to him, this is what is being taught in Pakistani schools. ( The gentleman himself was a school teacher in Pakistan). We pacified him that if loosing half of the country in war means a win, then Pakistan definitely won the 1971 war.Recommend

  • Dec 18, 2010 - 1:23PM

    @Tanveer Khadim

    But I want to ask you just two things :
    1, Have you ever heard about Gujrat Massacre and Nirander Moodi ?
    2, Have you headr about Naxalite movement ?
    Let alone Kashmir.

    Yes, I have heard/read about all three. What I would like to know is, which of these happened on 16th December, 1971, or 16th December of any year for that matter as the present article was all about 16th December.
    If you would rather discuss India-Pakistan or Hindu- Muslim relations, we can do that too, but why call Bangladeshi nationalists, Indian agents.
    Write a piece on the three things that you would rather talk about and I promise to come back with my views on all of them.Once again, GOOD LUCK.Recommend

  • A Pakistani
    Dec 18, 2010 - 1:58PM

    Pakistan Army could have fought the war in the Chittagong Hill Tracts for another ten years or longer. Our soldiers should have eaten bamboo shoots like the Japanese in the jungles of Myanmar (Burma) during World War II. But Alas! Tiger Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi chose the way of disgrace.

    It has been reported that his service revolver rests at the Indian Military Academy, Dhera Doon for the Indian Cadets to draw the inspiration of victory for all times to come.

    PPP Government later honours the retired general and makes him the Governor of Punjab.

    Now this was hand-in-glove action by Bhutto Government on the act of surrender of Pakistan Army in 1971.

    Why PPP rewarded Lt. Gen(R) A.A.K. Niazi for his act of surrender to Indian Army in 1971 ?

    Any comments please !Recommend

  • Anoop
    Dec 18, 2010 - 5:05PM

    @Avanti,

    Thats a really touching story.Recommend

  • A Pakistani
    Dec 18, 2010 - 5:32PM

    Anoop,

    The story is indeed touching. Let me narrate further. Late Jagjivan Ram of Bihar was the Defence Minister of India in 1971.

    On his instructions, Bihar Regiment of India was the first military contingent to march into Bangladesh on 17th December, 1971 to eliminate the imminent bloodshed of Biharis at the hands of Mukti Bahini.

    I salute the foresight of this great son of India for protecting the minorities in Bangladesh.

    Thank you Jagjivan Ram. You live in the hearts of the affected.Recommend

  • Sundee
    Dec 19, 2010 - 3:46AM

    Pakistanis will never learn from history. I respect the writer as he has the courage to speak the truth. The writer has only mentioned about the election won by east Pakistani which was denied by Wast Pakistanis. I would rather add to that Bengali people of east pakistan was majority than West. So Bengali laguage was supposed to be the national laguage of Pakistan. But what west Pakistanis did? they denied n disrespect the east people and made Urdu as national laguage of Pakistan. The revolt started from there.Recommend

  • Dec 19, 2010 - 8:04AM

    Sharmila Bose is not a niece of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. His father, Sisir Bose who drove Netaji out in the latter’s famous escape was his nephew. And one point. Zulfiqar Ali Bhuto’s call for socialism as gaseous as his statement that Pakistan had lost a political, not military battle, as otherwise he would not have gave call for one thousand year war against India.But certainly, Bhutto did his best to free Pakistan from the cobra-hold of military-feudal nexus albeit in a limited way.Recommend

  • Hamid Khawaja
    Dec 19, 2010 - 11:41AM

    Pakistan has neither been successful in national integration nor has it been to overcome its crises of legitimacy and identity. The separation of East Pakistan was the result of these simmering problems which culminated in December, 1971. While those in power then are to blame, they are not the only ones. Many before them contributed to this final debacle. Sadly, we have learnt nothing from it and the same crises continue to threaten another debacle. Recommend

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