It is said victors write history.
This is true for 1971 events. No doubt 16 Dec is a tragic day in the history of Pakistan. Older Pakistanis avoid the subject whereas younger generation is influenced by India Bangladesh propaganda. The truth is shrouded in myths and lies. The commons myths are ; Pakistan Army killed 3 million Bengalis, over 200000/300000 women were raped, Pakistan army perpetuated in the orgy of loot and plunder, West Pakistan has been usurping resources of East Pakistan , all foreign exchange earned by export of Patsan fibre was spent in the building of Islamabad, there was no share of Bengalis in civil services and army, Bangladesh came in to being through war of liberation, there were 99 thousand prisoners of war , the civil strife in East Pakistan was as a result of army action commencing on March 25/26 and it was spontaneous, Agartala case was fabricated by Ayub. India’s attack in East Pakistan was a humanitarian action.
As the space in this expose do not permit to answer all the false hood, we will take few leading points to answer the false hood so crafted. It is our duty to educate younger Pakistanis about the events of 1971. Because of political expediencies in successive governments no serious debate ever ensued. Bangladesh and Indian propaganda has even influenced Pakistani writers who simply quote Bangladesh authors.
Awami league, and Indian intelligence link got established soon after 1965 war. India after the war quickly concluded Pakistan can not be defeated frontally. It was in 1966 Mujib and India channel was established in Agartala.
But ISI got wind of it and in 1967 Agartla conspiracy was announced and the suspects including Mujib were arrested. The trial commenced but Awami League termed it political vendetta of Ayub khan. Meanwhile Bhutto parted ways with Ayub khan and soon formed his own party. Ayub regime meanwhile launched decade of progress which again was debunked by Awami League and propaganda ensued against West Pakistan that it is Eastern wings share of money spent in West Pakistan. Opposition parties cashed student unrest in Rawalpindi commenced on a trivial issue and soon it spread throughout Pakistan. End point was Ayub resigned and Martial Law was imposed. A fatal political error perpetuated at the alter of General Yahya’s lust for power. In the parlays which had started prior with opposition, they forced release of Mujib. It was a turning point and Mujib cashed it in East Pakistan. Legal Frame Work Order was flouted by all parties especially Mujib in East Pakistan. Tensions started rising in both wings, especially in East Pakistan. Fifth column penetrated in all segments of society in East Pakistan. Even subversion penetrated in to armed forces, the result on 26 December 1971, they revolted openly. Overnight these rebellious troops got converted in to Mukti Bahani. Later reports indicated regular Indian Army officers were guiding them as part of Mukti Bahani. Every move of Awami League was preplanned to raise Mukti Bahni. This was in fact was the crux and Plan of Agartala.
Earlier clashes had started as early as in April 1970. A train carrying troops was attacked by Awami League Goons near Chittagong Industrial Area. Later Rajshahi university students went in to rampage. Prior to election in Sep 1971 a cyclone in Bay of Bengal destroyed coastal areas. It was only army which helped the distressed and buried thousands of dead. This was also used by Mujib as a whip against West Pakistan to instigate masses. Dacca Television Centre was churning out Sonar Bangladesh songs and we were helpless spectators. Simultaneously Awami League goons were threatening other party candidates. Some were even kidnapped. Daughter of a Muslim League candidate, Ilias, was kidnapped in Comilla and tortured forcing him to step down. It was in such a milieu 1971 election were held. To me these these were the most unfair elections in the history of Pakistan. I was incharge of Noakhli Dist. but helpless due to few hundred troops at my disposal. Returning officers just filled ballot boxes in favour of Awami League as there were hundreds of polling station.
Coming to March 1971, when Assembly session was postponed, Awami leaguer goons went in to anarchy and rampage. Killing of non Bengali population had started before Mijibs Address at Palton Grounds. Every one was expecting he would declare independence. But he stopped short which laid the table for talks till March 25. It failed due to adamant attitude of Bhutto and Mujib on one side and Yayhas greed to remain President. We were meanwhile besieged in Cantonments by Mukti Bahani and mobs who had cut off even supply routes .This period was sad chapter of Pakistan’s history. Bengali mobs guided by Mukti Bahni killed hundred of thousands of innocent non Bengali residents of East Pakistan. They were guided by Regular Indian cover officers and RAW. Reports of gory incidents were agitating soldiers and officers alike. In all major cities thousand were slain and even pregnant women were not spared. Even than Pakistan army kept its cool. On 25 March when talks failed, Bhutto and Yahya flew back ordering to restore the writ of the government. It was a tall order for just 8000 troops to restore order in an area larger than Many countries. Yet, by middle of June with the help of reinforcements of two partial infantry divisions Pakistan army restored peace. But Yahya failed to initiate political settlement. This failures was also part due to Indians who virtually kept Awami League leadership in Calcutta confined and did not allow any contact.
The myth that 3 million Bengalis were killed by Pakistan army is greatest lie of 20th century. The figure came from a report of Soviet Govt paper PRAVADA that 3 million were killed. Is was impossible for an army totalling only 22000 engaged in civil war against Mukti Bahni and regular Indian Army. As I narrated earlier by June peace had returned in East Pakistan, a new civilian set up was installed, media was lowed throughout the province , uprooted families were being supported and local Aman Committees were established to redress any complaint . Schools and colleges were reopened. Many Bengali army officers had rejoined and serving with units. But Indian media was continuing to blast Pakistan army. Indian troops would move in with Mukti Bahni volunteers in to villages, kill and rape women, leave some pakistan army uniforms. Next day India would non stop blame Pakistan army. On Pakistan side we were extremely weak to counter it and our Foreign Office was in a mess due large scale desertions of diplomats in Pakistan Embassies abroad. in exterior diplomatic manoeuvres Pakistan always was beaten . The figure of 3 million killed has now been refuted by many Bengali researches and independent foreign correspondents. The Committe set up up by Mujib could not come up and gave figure of 30000 or maximum 50,000 killed from both sides. Annoyed Mujib rejected it. Most of mass graves dug up were of non Bengali residents killed by mobs and Mukti Bahni. Even now DNA tests could ascertain the truth. Bengali researchers, Sarmila Boss, Chaudry Abdul Manum and many others also rejected it.
Rapes, another gory charge lumped on Pakistan Army, that 200000/300000 women were raped has by now proved wrong. Even Bengali researchers have debunked it. Also foreign researchers found no evidence. Mujib governments best effort, the figure did not Jumped more than few thousand. As a matter of record acts of rapes were carried out by Mukti Bahni and Indian army operating undercover. It was the same, as now, being repeated in Kashmir today and free licence has been given to Indian troops to rape Kashmir women.
Nevertheless, India media and Bangladesh media continues to harp on these figures. 22000 troops deployed along borders, engaged in skirmishes simply could not kill so many even if they were engaged day and night in such gory act. Pakistan Army was and is a highly trained and disciplined force and its discipline could never permit it. Undersigned personally operated as artillery officer between Chittagong and Sylhet and not a single report came up. Contrary to that, Pakistan army foiled number of attempts by Mukti Bahni and Indian troops to penetrate in to villages (Bari’s) and kill innocent population and then blame Pakistan army. Number of Bengali officers continued to be loyal and became prisoner of war. In Pakistan, on return some of them rose to rank of Brigadiers and Major General.
Time has come to expose Bangladesh propaganda. They are hanging JI leadership for crime they never committed. Most of Ji workers at that time were in early teens.
(To be Continued)