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Posted 22 January 2011 - 05:35 AM
Start watching from 3 minutes.
In other parts of this same interview he is describing how to subvert a country.
Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:28 AM
Friday, December 16, 2011
Beginning with 1971, on every Dec 16 a wound reopens in the psyche of Pakistan and causes piercing pain. Forty years ago on this day, a unique vision for a nation-state became a traumatic vivisection. East Pakistan seceded – with decisive Indian help – to become Bangladesh.
Even as remembrance brings grief and the conditions in today’s Pakistan demand renewal rather than regression, the need to revisit some aspects of 1971 remains critical.
Some elements which comprise the catastrophic failures of both the political and military leaderships after the polls of December 1970 in West and in East Pakistan are established truths that require no revision One of the major facets that deserves reappraisal is the charge of genocide allegedly conducted by the armed forces of Pakistan, by Biharis and West Pakistanis seeking to exterminate the Bengali people of Bangladesh, particularly the Hindu population and supporters of the Awami League. Over the past 40 years this accusation has been repeated so often in Bangladesh and India and in Western discourse that it has come to be accepted as truth.
Specifically, it is claimed that in the period between March 16 and Dec 16, 1971, about three million people were killed and between 200,000 and 300,000 women were raped. No evidence has ever been offered as to how a mere 45,000 Pakistani troops – scattered in small formations across the province, dealing with a domestic insurgency, facing the prospect of an Indian invasion, short of supplies, without using any poison gas or weapons of mass destruction – could achieve this incredibly high number of casualties. (The 90,000 Pakistani prisoners-of-war included over 50,000 civilians.) According to this fabricated story, in only about 262 days, on every single day, over 11,000 people were killed and over 1,000 women were raped.
This bizarre fantasy has become a calumny which maligns both the people and the state of Pakistan, as well as the country’s armed forces and the Bihari Pakistanis, tens of thousands of whom still languish in Dhaka as Pakistanis abandoned by their own country. The falsehood is part of the history of the liberation of Bangladesh fed into the minds of millions of young children in that country, who grow up with the conviction that massive, merciless evil was perpetrated by Pakistanis. Leading journals, newspapers and favourably reviewed books around the world repeat the charge of genocide ad nauseam.
In some instances, in those nine months, some sections of Pakistan’s armed forces did commit atrocities. These include the attack on Jagannath Hall in Dhaka University on March 25, and subsequently in the villages and areas of Shankaripura, Jinjira, Tangail, Thanapara, Chuknagar and Boriotola. There was also the inexplicable murder of intellectuals on Dec 15 in Dhaka, apparently by pro-Pakistani militias.
In cruel counterpoint, mass killings of West Pakistanis and Biharis took place in Joydevpur/Gazipur, twice (1971 and 1972) in Khulna Jute Mills, Mymensingh, Santahar and Kushtia. Hundreds of West Pakistani army officers, soldiers and families were killed by their Bengali colleagues during the mutinies. If the factually supported versions are noted, which estimate that the total number of persons of all categories and from all sides killed in the conflict were between 100,000 and 200,000, then it is likely that as many West Pakistanis and non-Bengalis perished in 1971 as did Bengalis.
If apologies are to be tendered, as they certainly should be, there are strong grounds for mutual apologies, if not simultaneously then consecutively. Though Pakistan was fighting both a civil war and an external war, it should take the first step, with the understanding that the gesture will be reciprocated.
To revisit this facet is not to morbidly dig up graves and play a perverse blame game of numbers. There is profound sacredness to every human life and to the dignity of every human body. To raise this is not to diminish our affection and respect for the people of Bangladesh, our very own brothers and sisters, although alas now separated.
It is to reiterate our shared reverence and search for truth and justice.
Of all the studies this writer has read about this element of 1971, the book Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War by Indian Hindu Bengali writer Sarmila Bose, a senior research fellow at Oxford University, represents the most carefully researched, unusually balanced and searingly evocative analysis of this tragedy. (Oxford University Press, 2011.) Here are just two excerpts.
“There are reports that having publicly stated that three million Bengalis had been killed – on the basis of what he had apparently been ‘told’ after his release from imprisonment – Sheikh Mujib tried to establish the necessary evidence for it by setting up a committee of inquiry in January 1972. No further information appears to be available on the work of the inquiry committee or its findings. None of the popular assertions of three million Bengalis allegedly killed by the army cites any official report.
“In a report published in The Guardian entitled ‘The missing millions’ on 6 June, 1972, William Drummond wrote: ‘This figure of three million deaths, which the Sheikh has repeated several times since he returned to Bangladesh in early January, has been carried uncritically in sections of the world press. Through repetition such a claim gains a validity of its own and gradually evolves from assertion to fact needing no attribution. My judgement, based on numerous trips around Bangladesh and extensive discussions with many people at the village level as well as in the government, is that the three million deaths figure is an exaggeration so gross as to be absurd.’ “ (Page 176)
“Yet, many Hindus were also left unharmed by the Pakistan army during 1971. As the witness accounts in Chapter 6 show, many Hindu refugees were leaving their villages and fleeing to India not because of any action of the army, but because they could no longer bear the persecution by their Bengali Muslim neighbours. Much of the harassment of Hindus by their fellow-Bengalis appears to have been non-political, motivated by material greed. The intimidations, killing and hounding out of Hindus – whether by the army or by Bengali Muslims – amounted to what has later come to be termed ‘ethnic cleansing.’ “ (Page 182)
To reach the ideal of a jointly-written history of 1971 some day, sustained new efforts are required to build a closer, more constructive, rational and evidence-based dialogue between Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The writer is a former minister and senator. Website: www.javedjabbar.com
Posted 16 December 2011 - 03:40 PM
There are more Bengalis illegally living in Karachi who came here is 80s and 90s than Biharis living in Bangladesh...There has to be be a diplomatic solution to this problem than throwing out close to Million Bengalis from Karachi and Accepting another Million Biharis from Bangladesh.
We really ought to be ashamed of ourselves for leaving the stranded Pakistanis....Get the Biharis out and resettle them in Pakistan.
I wish someone had started a fund or something for these people because they stuck with us and were also punished as we left them stranded. It is our moral obligation...
Bengalis living in Karachi are unfortunately extremely poor and so are Biharis living in Bangladesh and a bilater solution will easy suffering from both sides
As Ex Senator Javed Jabbar put it (Thanks Mazhar for posting this) , "To reach the ideal of a jointly-written history of 1971 some day, sustained new efforts are required to build a closer, more constructive, rational and evidence-based dialogue between Bangladesh and Pakistan". But I don't think both nations are at that collective intellectual level yet.
Ideally every Pakistan officer or soldier or Bengali Mukti Bahini insurgent or Awami league leader who was involved in any killing of any Bihari , Punjabi or Bengali Hundu or Muslim should be at least named if not punished via a joint truth and reconciliation commission .
Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:28 PM
Pakistanis (irrespective of their standing in society) exult gossip, paranoia, superstition, and conspiracy theories more than the science of history- H Khan
Posted 17 December 2011 - 09:03 AM
I say those Bengalis who came over let them stay if they want to and give them our citizenship.
The reality is that we are a nation of bloody hypocrites. We cry day and night about Islam this and Islam that, yet we do not have it in us, a nation of 180,000,000, to absorb a few hundred thousand biharis and maybe a similar number of Bangladeshis residing in Pakistan and making them Pakistani citizens.
Suddenly all sorts of numbers and finances and the cursed ethnic excuses start coming up. These same bloody hypocrites who curse and decry the Jews should look up "Aliyah" to see how the ones you share your faith with should be taken care of.
What has happened to the Biharins is nothing but ugly selfishness and ethnic considerations getting in the way of bringing them over to Pakistan. We took in 10x more Afghans in so I am really at a loss as to why a 150,000 of these people could not be brought over??
When you see things of such nature, it really makes you realize that all his talk of Pakistan being this and that of Islam is just self serving bakvaas and the Almighty does not look upon such hypocrisy lightly. Many of the afflictions visiting us, such as the dismal leadership, remain because we are a nation which neither has the character nor the moral fiber to make decisions which are right. Last I read, ours was to be the homeland for the Muslims of South Asia, so not sure why the BDs and Biharis wanting to come over to Pakistan should be an exception to this case.
Edited by SSAAD, 17 December 2011 - 07:10 PM.
Posted 17 December 2011 - 12:02 PM
Posted 17 December 2011 - 01:13 PM
Its a disgrace that you have traitors allowed to go back and forth in pakistan and even run for high office but loyal and faithful Pakistanis are cast adrift and left stranded in a foreign land.
Shame on us
Posted 17 December 2011 - 01:21 PM
I think you will find the "common man" will be quite welcoming of these stranded Pakistanis but its the vested interests higher up in the food chain and vested interests that have for ever cast a stain on us.
Its a disgrace that you have traitors allowed to go back and forth in pakistan and even run for high office but loyal and faithful Pakistanis are cast adrift and left stranded in a foreign land.
Shame on us
what are the vested interests in this matter?
Posted 17 December 2011 - 01:56 PM
I say those Bengalis who came over let them stay if they want to and give them our citizenship.
What would be logic and reasoning for Pakistan to unilateral grant close to 1 million Bangladeshi's Citizenship while Bangladesh denies Citizenship to 500,000 Biharis.
Why is such easy solution that we would do it only on Quid pro quo basis so much against "Islam"....Bangladesh is Muslim country after all.
Granting such a large Number of Bangladeshi's Citizenship is equivalent to General Zia's Islamic act of granting 50,000 Afghanis Pak Passports within weeks on pre-text of well they need to Perform Hajj ...No questions asked ....Why can't rich Saudi grant them Citizenship so that they can perform Hajj ...well they are not that Stupid.
Most of such passports end up in hand of Anti Pakistan Talibans and Northern alliance ...there is a good chance Both Mullah Umer and Karazai might have Pakistan Passport too...
If Pakistanis do not respect Pakistan Citizenship ...no body in world will. Pakistan was not formed on notion of Islamic state with free entry for whole world Muslims and struggle for Pakistan was altogether not for that ..Constitution of Pakistan limits citizen ship to all Indian Muslims after 1956 as it allowed enough time for Muslims of subcontinent to decide they wanted to be Pakistan or India Citizen.
Regarding 1971 repatriation , Pakistan should ask Bangladesh to grant Beharis equal Citizenship in every aspect so that immigrant Bangalis get same status as this conforms to all international laws ...If State of Bangladesh refuses , Pakistan should accept all Biharis willing to come to Pakistan while sending back all Bengalis who fail to furnish proof of Citizenship,
It is not very difficult to establish Citizenship of Pakistan and NADRA has list of documents which can be used if birth certificate is missing including house registry before 1970 , pension books of father/grand father , land ownership documents etc. Also Child born in Pakistan when both Parents are Pakistanis , becomes Pakistan national so no matter how cruel it sounds, It is the law and it should be respected.
Posted 18 December 2011 - 08:18 AM
Four decades on and where are we?Ardeshir Cowasjee | Opinion | From the Newspaper (10 hours ago) Today
TWO days ago the nation ‘commemorated’ — or it should have even though to the majority it may have little significance — the 40th anniversary of the signing of the instrument of surrender by the commander of the Pakistan forces in East Pakistan and the commander of the Indian forces of Eastern Command at Ramna race course at one minute past five in the afternoon of Dec 16, 1971.
Thus died the Pakistan founded and made by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, a mere 24 years previously. It had had a brief painful life with acrimony never absent between the two wings of the country separated by ‘enemy’ territory.
Writing elsewhere, a columnist last week suggested that “the first order of national business should be on the teaching of history. For this is a country with no use for history”. No, history plays no part in the national psyche nor in the thinking process (if there be one) of those who have over the years been put into or taken over the leadership of this nation divided unto itself.
It has been forgotten amidst the present-day hysteria of anti-Americanism that has overtaken both rulers and the ruled, fuelled by what is known coyly as the ‘establishment’ that in 1971 the breakaway of East Pakistan was the most traumatic event in the country’s short life.
The population of what was left of Pakistan was reduced by more than half (and, boy, have we now made up for that with an unwieldy population of 180 million that cannot be supported in far too many ways). Territory was lost as was the geopolitical role in Southeast Asia, plus a significant portion of the economy.
Arrogance battling with ignorance and a false sense of superiority led the west wing, whilst the east wing fretted and fumed.
When things came to a head after atrocities committed by both sides during the fraught year of 1971, and hostilities broke out — war with our large neighbour — it was the state-controlled media that covered up any and all truth — just as the free media, subject now to self-censorship, sensationalism and hysteria is fuelling a ‘crush USA’ campaign rather than as it was then a ‘crush India’ mode. This country never seems to have had an awareness of its own weight and strength.
Lest we all forget, and for those that just do not know, reproduced here is the instrument of surrender signed on that sad day long ago when perhaps, at a rough guess, two-thirds of our population were not even born. The people, plus the leadership, need to either remember or know:
“The Pakistan Eastern Command agree to surrender all Pakistan Armed Forces in Bangla Desh to Lieutenant-General Jagjit Singh Aurora, General Officer Commanding in Chief of the Indian and Bangla Desh forces in the Eastern Theatre. This surrender includes all Pakistan land, air and naval forces as also all para-military forces and civil armed forces. These forces will lay down their arms and surrender at the places where they are currently located to the nearest regular troops under the command of Lieutenant-General Jagjit Singh Aurora. “The Pakistan Eastern Command shall come under the orders of Lieutenant-General Jagjit Singh Aurora as soon as the instrument has been signed. Disobedience of orders will be regarded as a breach of the surrender terms and will be dealt with in accordance with the accepted laws and usages of war. The decision of Lieutenant-General Jagjit Singh Aurora will be final, should any doubt arise as to the meaning or interpretation of the surrender terms.
“Lieutenant-General Jagjit Singh Aurora gives a solemn assurance that personnel who surrender shall be treated with dignity and respect that soldiers are entitled to in accordance with provisions of the Geneva Convention and guarantees the safety and well-being of all Pakistan military and para-military forces who surrender. Protection will be provided to foreign nationals, ethnic minorities and personnel of West Pakistan origin by the forces under the command of Lieutenant-General Jagjit Singh Aurora.”
Signed by J.S. Aurora and A.A.K. Niazi on Dec 16, 1971.
So, 79,700 regular Pakistani soldiers and paramilitary troops were prisoners of war in Indian hands, together with 12,500 civilians. Thirteen hundred men were lost in battle — as opposed to how many thousands lost in today’s battle fighting the scourge of terrorism, mainly homegrown.
The army had told the nation it would fight to the last man. It failed in its promise. Military and civilian governments over 24 years, in their arrogance and incompetence, which had seeped down into the masses, had played their part in the loss of half a country.
Horrible things happen in war — that is what war is all about, killing. We are up in arms about the Salala tragedy quite forgetting about the thousands of other soldiers who have lost their lives battling with terrorism inflicted by our own people through circumstances of our own making. Pakistan does not stand tall and proud, despite what the establishment-geared government might tell us. And it cannot afford to stand alone for too long.
America is no pushover. The prime minister has made noises about soon reverting to what was ‘normal’, cooperation in an attempt to sort out the dangers posed by the Afghan situation. It will have to happen.
Pique over what may well have been an accident and dreams of ‘strategic depth’ are not going to get us far. The pity is that in the US we are now left sadly short on the diplomatic front. Voices of sanity are few, and to them no one listens. Skill is needed to ward off the isolation
now faced and any further humiliation.
Edited by SSAAD, 18 December 2011 - 01:18 PM.
Posted 18 December 2011 - 01:14 PM
I find it funny that you compare the Bengladeshi Refugee issue to the Afghan Refugee issue. Were these not our countrymen at one point? The Biharis were loyal to Pakistan yet they are being punished for their loyalty and unfortunately we lack the morality to do the right thing. It seems like you keep forgetting this major point that Bengladesh was once part of the Federation.
Comparison of Bangladesh refugees and Afghan refugees is based on Laws which currently exists and universal principles of fairness and state responsibilities...Pakistan Accepted Bangladesh as sovereign state in 1974 which means after 1974 any one who came in Pakistan without legal documents , should be checked to see if he /she is Citizen of Pakistan or Not.
This is one of state responsibility. Now Most ethnic Bangalis who came to Pakistan in 80s and 90s because Bangladesh was going through internal unrest and turmoi during 80s and 90sl...If you give them refugee status , this mean now they have to go back to their country as Bangladesh is doing very well and there is a legitimate government over there which can look after all its Citizens and should look after all its Citizens.
All Baharis who came to Pakistan are already Pakistani Citizen....Remaining Beharis are not only responsibility of Pakistan but Bangladesh ....No Law in this world allows state of Bangladesh to discriminate against them , deny Citizenship rights to them and put them in refugee camps...If Bangladesh continues to do that Pakistan should accept all of them while deporting out equal number of ethnic Bengali refugees from Karachi .
There has to be fairness in this whole process
Posted 21 December 2011 - 08:48 AM
In those dreadful dungeons, the only ray of kindness was a Hindu Duty Havaldar who would throw in a toffee, a candy or some such thing through the window and mutter softly a few words of sympathy and solace
By January 1972, our plan to escape from the Agra Central Jail that was refitted as PoW (prisoner of war) Camp 44 had been finalised. To escape from the PoW camp is the duty of every captured soldier and to stop him the right of the captor. What happens in that little battle of wits and guts is a given accepted by both parties to the conflict, which includes blood and gore. By April we were quite advanced in digging a tunnel that was to pass under the huge inner and outer walls, surfacing a few yards beyond but for a catastrophic accident. Just after the first wall, water began to slowly dribble into the tunnel from its ceiling and before we knew it the tunnel on the other side of the wall collapsed as the soil was unfortunately terribly sandy. We were later told that there was a small used water pond overground on the other side that seeped down and killed the plan. It took them very little time and a lot of anxiety to single out our barrack that conceived and executed the escape plot.
We became kind of instant celebrities and objects of curiosity simultaneously. Here was a real life escape attempt by the prisoners of war; therefore, officers, families and children began to visit and chatted excitedly about the adventure. Although we may have been despised a bit at that time, there quietly walked in a soothing whiff of sanity and a lurking longing about our own folks. Except a stealthy, hesitant waving of hands here and there to an irresistibly lovely child, we were careful not to spoil their fun. We were locked up in any case. Misery is not always physical; it can be infinitely more painful when emotional. Hatred like any other ecstasy does not normally last long, its scars do.
Shortly, the entire barrack — about 30 of us — were marched out to death row cells in a different compound and sentenced to solitary confinement for three months. This was a unique experience: ugly, terribly oppressive, and extremely taxing. The incubators were a regulation eight feet long, about as much high and four feet wide. The door was a block of heavy iron plate with a small sliding window, both bolted from outside. A hole with metal grill near the ceiling was, I guess, a ventilator. A water pitcher and an open native bed pan at the end of the cemented bed served as a toilet. Summers were at their peak in Agra, temperatures raging anything up to 110 to120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sizzling heat, incessant sweating and huge swarms of mosquitoes soon turned us into walking dummies full of all kinds of sores, bites and scars. I had never seen prickly heat the size of a pea before. Our responses to smell, pain, hunger and sleep withered away beyond a certain point some weeks into the confinement. We were let out for 10 minutes each in the morning and evening to go to the community toilets where all pretensions of privacy got effectively dismantled.
In those dreadful dungeons, the only ray of kindness was a Hindu Duty Havaldar who would throw in a toffee, a candy or some such thing through the window and mutter softly a few words of sympathy and solace. May that noble man’s goodness be rewarded and his bliss increased manifold.
We kept steaming in that swelter in filth and privation and knew it was part of the package, therefore no complaints were made. Then one day it was announced that we had been declared the ‘Most Dangerous PoWs’ and were to be shifted by rail to Camp 95 Ranchi in Bihar. Ranchi was a British-era Cantonment located among lush green tea gardens. The journey was to take three days and three nights. Major Naseebullah was from the seniors barrack; he made a great effort and succeeded in getting himself included in the transfer list. A Kashmiri and Special Services Group (SSG) officer, he just had a handbag and a small pocketbook with a photograph of his wife and lovely children. He was very fond of them and talked about them with deep affection. Basically, he was a very cheerful and restless man. Shortly before departure he had started to offer prayers regularly as it seemed to make him at peace with himself in an imperceptible way. Sadly, he was not to reach Ranchi alive.
The day we were to leave for Ranchi, a row erupted. We refused to be handcuffed and shackled before departure to the railway station. Finally, we agreed to be handcuffed two together and that could be hidden easily while walking out of trucks to the railway compartment. We hid our prized possession: a broken steel cutting file carelessly discarded by some workman while the jail was being refitted for the PoWs. Captain Shujaat Latif and I were handcuffed together; we were also course mates. This man Shujaat was made of pure mercury, fearless, eruptive and utterly restless but awfully accident-prone. During the insurgency he surprised a Mukti position across a small river when he suddenly charged with his LMG blazing over the bridge and straight into their strong point that was holding up his unit’s advance. The moment we stepped into the train, we began to figure out an escape plan and soon finalised it. It was simple but workable.
(To be continued)
The writer is a retired brigadier of the Pakistan Army. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The train escape that could have been — II —Mehboob Qadir
My sheered handcuff and the dangling chain was enough evidence to show my complicity. I was promptly handcuffed afresh to the iron leg of the seat, hunched up like a pet on the floor
Ours was a third class compartment with barred windows normally meant for female passengers in the subcontinent, and had a washroom at one end, with passenger doors opening on either side of the passage. The guards had planted themselves in that passage. It looked like a Sikh Para Battalion Guard and their compartment was right next door. We had decided to file our handcuff chains, turn by turn, with the broken iron saw and in the next step to saw off an end each of the two lower bars of the window farthest from the guard so that one could slide through the gap easily. We had found out the first night that the guard would do the last head count by about 10 pm and then huddle in the passage for the night till the morning roll call. That meant we could have six to seven hours of darkness available for the escape. Everyone wanted to leave first, therefore, lists had to be drawn. Shujaat turned out to be the first to go and I had to be the next to jump. Major Naseebullah was handcuffed alone and his turn was somewhere in the middle. We decided that the escape attempt would be made the third night as most of the handcuff chains would be sheered by then and we would be somewhere in Bihar where one could possibly merge in the mixed population reasonably, we guessed.
By the third night we were still short of Banaras (Varanasi). Just as the nightly headcount ended the train began to slow down as if on cue. Quickly we flexed the weakened link and pulled the window bars inwards. Shujaat slid out and soon was gone into the night. As I prepared to slide out, the train began to pick up speed and for the next two hours or so made it at a fast pace. Suddenly the Guard Commander appeared in the passageway walking up towards us, possibly on a hunch. We sank into our seats feigning sleep. Major Naseebullah moved closer to me to show that we were handcuffed together. It turned out to be a snap count as he switched on the bogey lights. He counted once, then again and the third time by touching each head physically. There was one less, he could not believe. Quickly he went to the guard passage. The guard stood to, their weapons pointed at us. Recount began; again there was one missing. The train was stopped at the next station. The Train Adjutant and the Subedar Major came in to count for themselves. By then they were sure that a prisoner of war (PoW) had escaped but the question was how? They thought that the one handcuffed alone must have been the one who got away. Every place under the seats, in the toilet, along the walls of the compartment and its floor was checked looking for the escape hatch but in vain.
It was full daylight and the train was parked at a deserted platform when a Sikh Para Soldier walked up to our window and said, “You people do not let an opportunity go, now why do you not tell us how he escaped?” We kept quiet and prayed hard as he had placed his hand on a bar just above the ones that we had sheered and pushed back in place. Disappointed he turned to go when his hand brushed over the loosened bar. Instantly he turned and pulled the suspect bar, which gave way easily. Soon an officer arrived. Myself and Major Naseebullah were asked to stand up. My sheered handcuff and the dangling chain was enough evidence to show my complicity. I was promptly handcuffed afresh to the iron leg of the seat, hunched up like a pet on the floor. We could see a sort of Para Guard War Council in session at the other end of the platform but could not make out what was being discussed so heatedly.
By the evening the train began to chug out of the platform on its way to Ranchi. This time the sentries were not taking any chances. A few hours into the night a sentry walked up to me and asked if I wanted to go to the washroom. I did want to, more for the very uncomfortable position that I was chained in. Major Naseebullah intervened and insisted to go first. After an unusual haggling the guard agreed. As Major Naseeb turned right in the far end of the passage towards the toilet, we heard a distinct weapon cocking sound followed by Major Naseeb shouting: “What are you doing?” The guard fired a burst from his automatic weapon. Whistles were blown, the train slowly came to a halt and then began to reverse. After some time Major Naseebullah’s dead body was brought in. He had received nine bullets in his chest from a very close range and the impact must have thrown him out of the door, possibly, kept open for just such a thing. That is perhaps what the Council of War was about.
By morning the next day we reached Ranchi Camp. After a few days Shujaat joined us in a terribly bashed up shape but unbroken in spirit. His nose fractured, a few front teeth gone, a foot in plaster and awful bruises all over the body. As he jumped out, his big toe tangled in the low running signal cable, his head hit the rail track and he passed out. Locals found him and handed him over to the police. The story in the newspapers said two Pakistani PoWs attempted to escape from the train, one was captured and the other got killed. Quite understandable. Since the start of the war this was the fourth time I survived purely by chance. I carried his bag and pocketbook to Pakistan.
The writer is a retired brigadier of the Pakistan Army. He can be reached at email@example.com
Posted 07 January 2012 - 02:01 AM
Lets not forget that the Two-Nation-Theory is the prime opposing viewpoint to Indian Nationalism, the major force behind Indian Independence Movement. From that perspective, not only should we be ashamed and sad about separating the Bengalis, we should be taking steps to eventually reversing the bitter divide between the brothers (at least culturally/politically if not geographically).
Dreamers are always laughed at, but I hope some day in distinct future we can join hands to form atleast a loose federation with the Bengal and undo the injustice done by our parents' generation.
Blaa blaa blaa about bengali, or floods or muktibani or population or lack of spirit.... All Things Considered.
"Gentlemen! Our Army can be your Army." General Ayub Khan in U.S
Posted 19 January 2012 - 06:13 AM
Even as the role of the Indian military in giving birth to the new nation is celebrated, the role of its intelligence services remains largely unknown.
Forty-five minutes before 12.00 pm on December 14, 1971, Indian Air Force pilots at Hashimpara and Gauhati received instructions to attack an unusual target: a sprawling colonial-era building in the middle of Dacca that had no apparent military value whatsoever.
There were nothing but tourist maps available to guide the pilots to their target — but the results were still lethal. The first wave of combat jets, four MiG21 jets armed with rockets, destroyed a conference hall; two more MiGs and two Hunter bombers levelled a third of the main building.
Inside the building — the Government House — East Pakistan's Cabinet had begun an emergency meeting to discuss the political measures to avoid the looming surrender of their army at Dacca 55 minutes before the bombs hit. It turned out to be the last-ever meeting of the Cabinet. A.M. Malik, head of the East Pakistan government, survived the bombing along with his Cabinet — but resigned on the spot, among the burning ruins; the nervous system, as it were, of decision-making had been destroyed.
For years now, military historians have wondered precisely how the Government House was targeted with such precision; rumours that a spy was present have proliferated. From the still-classified official history of the 1971 war, we now know the answer. Indian cryptanalysts, or code-breakers, had succeeded in breaking Pakistan's military cipher — giving the country's intelligence services real-time information on the enemy's strategic decision-making.
India's Army, Navy and Air Force were lauded, during the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh's independence, for their role in ending a genocide and giving birth to a new nation. The enormous strategic contribution of India's intelligence services, however, has gone largely unacknowledged.
Seven months before the December 3 Pakistan Air Force raid that marked the beginning of the war, India's Chief of Army Staff issued a secret order to the General Officer Commanding, Eastern Command, initiating the campaign that would end with the dismemberment of Pakistan.
Operation Instruction 52 formally committed the Indian forces to “assist the Provisional Government of Bangladesh to rally the people of East Bengal in support of the liberation movement,” and “to raise, equip and train East Bengal cadres for guerrilla operations for employment in their own native land.”
The Eastern Command was to ensure that the guerrilla forces were to work towards “tying down the Pak [Pakistan] Military forces in protective tasks in East Bengal,” “sap and corrode the morale of the Pak forces in the Eastern theatre and simultaneously to impair their logistic capability for undertaking any offensive against Assam and West Bengal,” and, finally, be used along with the regular Indian troops “in the event of Pakistan initiating hostilities against us.”
The task of realising these orders fell on Sujan Singh Uban. Brigadier — later Major-General — Uban was an artillery officer who had been handpicked to lead the Special Frontier Force, a secret army set up decades earlier with the assistance of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency to harry the Chinese forces in Tibet. The SFF, which until recently served as a kind of armed wing of India's external covert service, the Research and Analysis Wing, never did fight in China. In Bangladesh, the contributions of its men and officers would be invaluable.
Brigadier Uban — whose enthusiasm for irregular warfare was rivalled, contemporaries recall, only by his eccentric spiritualism — later said he had received a year's advance warning of the task that lay ahead from the Bengali mystic, Baba Onkarnath.
The war he waged, though, was less-than-holy. In July 1971, India's war history records, the first Bangladesh irregulars were infiltrated across the border at Madaripur. This first group of 110 guerrillas destroyed tea gardens, riverboats and railway tracks — acts that tied down troops, undermined East Pakistan's economy and, the history says, destroyed “communications between Dhaka, Comilla and Chittagong.”
Much of the guerrilla war, however, was waged by the volunteers of the Gano Bahini, a volunteer force. The Indian forces initially set up six camps for recruiting and training volunteers, which were soon swamped. At one camp, some 3,000 young men had to wait up to two months for induction, although the “hygienic condition was pitiable and food and water supply almost non-existent.”
By September 1971, though, Indian training operations had expanded dramatically in scale, processing a staggering 20,000 guerrillas each month. Eight Indian soldiers were committed to every 100 trainees at 10 camps. On the eve of the war, at the end of November 1971, over 83,000 Gano Bahini fighters had been trained, 51,000 of whom were operating in East Pakistan — a guerrilla operation perhaps unrivalled in scale until that time. In the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Brigadier Uban sent in Indian soldiers or, to be more exact, CIA-trained, Indian-funded Tibetans using hastily-imported Bulgarian assault rifles and U.S.-manufactured carbines to obscure their links to India. Fighting under the direct command of RAW's legendary spymaster Rameshwar Kao, Brig. Uban's forces engaged in a series of low-grade border skirmishes.
Founded in 1962, the SFF had originally been called Establishment 22 — and still has a road named after it in New Delhi, next to the headquarters of the Defence Ministry. The organisation received extensive special operations training from the U.S., as part of a package of military assistance. In September 1967, the control of these assets was formally handed over to RAW — and used in Bangladesh to lethal effect.
From December 3, 1971, Brig. Uban's force began an extraordinary campaign of sabotage and harassment. At the cost of just 56 dead and 190 wounded, the SFF succeeded in destroying several key bridges, and in ensuring that Pakistan's 97 Independent Brigade and crack 2 Commando Battalion remained bogged down in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Some 580 members of Brig. Uban's covert force were awarded cash, medals and prizes by the Government of India.
November 1971 saw the Indian-backed low-intensity war in East Pakistan escalate to levels Pakistan found intolerable — pushing it to act. On December 3, Pakistan attempted to relieve the pressure on its eastern wing by carrying out strikes on major Indian airbases. India retaliated with an offensive of extraordinary speed that has been described as a “blitzkrieg without tanks.”
Rejecting an offer for conditional surrender in the East, the Indian forces entered Dacca on December 15. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi promptly ordered a ceasefire on the western front as well: “if I don't do so today,” she said of the decision to end the war, “I shall not be able to do so tomorrow.”
How important was the covert war to this victory, and what cost did it come at?
India's new communications intelligence technologies were clearly critical; three decades on, the government would be advised to make fuller accounts public, and publicly honour the anonymous cryptanalysts who achieved so much.
The 1971 war history records that their efforts meant “several important communications and projections of the Pak[istani] high command were intercepted, decoded and suitable action [was] taken.” Indian communications interception, the history states, even prevented a last-minute effort to evacuate the Pakistani troops from Dacca, using five disguised merchant ships.
The role of irregular forces, though, needs a more nuanced assessment. There is no doubt that they served to tie down Pakistani troops, and derail their logistical backbone. They were also, however, responsible for large-scale human rights abuses targeting Pakistani sympathisers and the ethnic Bihari population. There is no moral equivalence between these crimes and those of the Pakistani armed forces in 1971 — but the fact also is that the irregular forces bequeathed to Bangladesh a militarised political culture that would have deadly consequences of its own.
India's secret war in Bangladesh would have served little purpose without a conventional, disciplined military force to secure a decisive victory — a lesson of the utility and limitations of sub-conventional warfare that ought to be closely studied today by the several states that rely on these tactics.
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