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fatman17

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Sayed Sajad Haider born Sayed Sajjad Haider





In 1976 someone suggested I knock off one "J" and that would change my life.



I did that quite against my own convention of never believing in such superstitions. Well, I am glad I did because life changed for me dramatically!



The following is an introduction to my past, my present and my future. I hope in this you will find my transparency and humble presentation enticing enough to read “Flight of the Falcon”, an autobiography about my experiences and choices.



I was born in Sargodha to noble parents; Sayed Fazal Shah, a respected doctor, and Rashida Begum, a full time mother and disciplinarian, dedicated to our good heeling. She found time to do quite bit of social work for the poor and suffering, especially Tuberculosis patients.



I grew up in Quetta, amongst the fierce tribal culture of the Baluch and Pashtoons, such as the Bugtis, Marris, Kansis, Jogezais and Durranis.



My friends comprised of the tribal chief’s children and a smattering of Sikhs and Hindus. There was incredible cross-cultural harmony. Things were much simpler then.



Like any young growing boy, I had a dream; to grow up and make my parents' life comfortable after the WW II depression because of which there was a scarcity of essential products and necessities of life.



We lived off ration cards with which we were able to get sugar, flour, tea, eggs, cooking oil, petrol, Kerosene you name it. We didn't really feel the cold drift of War as mother made many sacrifices to keep us warm and well fed.



Once the WW II catastrophe was behind, my dream started taking shape. This dream found an expression when I first saw the Quaid-e-Azam, my idol. I sat in awe of him, 6 feet away from him at my old school in Quetta.



Together with my scrawny friend, we had carried the sofa upon which the Quaid sat. That is when the seed of becoming the defender of the nation became my obsession. The uniform I would attempt to acquire was also resolved when I saw some polished pilots at Café Stanley, a famous elitist hotspot in Quetta. With their hot rod, maverick attitude on their sleeves, there was something awesome about their demeanor.



The very next day I saw three Spitfires (WW11 Fighter aircraft) over head conducting a mock dog-fight. Now my dream had reached for the sky and I wanted nothing else in life than to become a pilot. The problem was that my father wanted me to become an engineer, somewhat Utopian considering my mediocre performance in studies.



The other was a serious emotional issue of my mother who absolutely refused to let me go for a perilous profession like flying. For her that was like courting death and disaster. It was a hard long battle till she let me go, not willingly but surely tearfully.



Between the ages of 14 and 18, I was a very mischievous kid, a constant worry for my anxious mother. I would try every trick, game and ruse; testing my endurance to the limit. That meant many small injuries and parental retribution, which came swiftly and was, at times, brutal. I didn't cower down after the searing pain from the punishments. Ostensibly, I had a nature and personality that sought constant challenge, fully cognizant of the consequences if caught.



I took a trip to Makran state to visit Pasni with a few friends who didn’t tell me how far and arduous the journey would be. That was to be my first night out of my home in my life and nearly cost me my life. I was rescued after 13 days. That story will be separately chronicled in my blog under “Death in the Makran Desert”.



Soon after, my quest to join the Air Force began in earnest. I was finally selected to join the 13th General Duties Pilot Course at the Royal Pakistan Academy. The prefix ‘Royal’ denoted Pakistan's dominion status as a former Colony. I was an average student and scraped through the course of one and a half year, commencing January 1952. But within months after getting my pilot's wings I blossomed to the top of my course where I had barely made the middle during the training period.



Posted to No.14 Squadron, I discovered that my flying talent was not short lived and confined to the Fighter Conversion school where I had suddenly catapulted to the top, only second to Sarfraz Rafiqui, a comrade who was an outstanding fighter pilot and was senselessly killed in 1965 war by an inexperienced Indian Air force (IAF) pilot, in a manner resembled by the death of German Red Baron, Major Richthofen during World War I.



While at the No.14 squadron, I acquired tremendous experience of operating from Miramshah, now the battle ground of the renegade pre-Islamic Taliban and Al-Qaeda. In 1953-54 we were operating against the renegade zealot Faqir of Ipi*, who was a Pakistan hater and had turned his guns against Pakistan from the retreating British, declaring Pakistan as a country of non-believers and heretics.



I was soon posted to the first Jet Squadron of RPAF. This was a great honour to fly the “Super-marine Attacker", a euphemism for a flying coffin, which proved a great asset when the PAF switched to the USAF Saber jet.



The F-86 was like a piece of cake to fly after the attacker. My life with the No.11 Attacker squadron will be elaborated in my book, “Flight of the Falcon”, which is due for release in the spring of ’09.



Currently, I am retired and living in Islamabad with my family and grand-children by my side who are all left with my history to carry forth.



*Don't be surprised by the CDA board in Islamabad , in shear ignorance of history and the odious role of Ipi, who have honoured him with mega avenue.
 

fatman17

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light of the Falcon
Story of a Fighter Pilot



I spent the better part of the last ten years working on a dream that sometimes lead me to tipping points where only my resilience and resolve to fulfill my duty of sharing the truth about history.



Pakistan has drifted far from the path originally chosen by the great Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah; a man who devoted his life and his legacy to the liberation of those persecuted people of the sub-continent who deserved the power to control their own destiny. He laid three pillars of strength – Unity | Faith | Discipline – three basic principles upon which Pakistan was to be built. Today, when we look around, we find ourselves lost in a cloud of disloyal politicians and armed bandits who took Pakistan by the horns and seized it for their own personal gain, neglecting the millions who have fought for generations to obtain their own identity.



Turning this dream into a reality has taken its toll, but it has been worth every drop of sweat, blood and tears I have shed. This story bears an immense weight; not any longer for my generation, but for the generations that have the power to regain control and steer us in the right direction.
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GriffinsRule

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light of the Falcon
Story of a Fighter Pilot



I spent the better part of the last ten years working on a dream that sometimes lead me to tipping points where only my resilience and resolve to fulfill my duty of sharing the truth about history.



Pakistan has drifted far from the path originally chosen by the great Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah; a man who devoted his life and his legacy to the liberation of those persecuted people of the sub-continent who deserved the power to control their own destiny. He laid three pillars of strength – Unity | Faith | Discipline – three basic principles upon which Pakistan was to be built. Today, when we look around, we find ourselves lost in a cloud of disloyal politicians and armed bandits who took Pakistan by the horns and seized it for their own personal gain, neglecting the millions who have fought for generations to obtain their own identity.



Turning this dream into a reality has taken its toll, but it has been worth every drop of sweat, blood and tears I have shed. This story bears an immense weight; not any longer for my generation, but for the generations that have the power to regain control and steer us in the right direction.
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One of the books I thoroughly enjoyed reading, as well as 'Cutting Edge' PAF by ACM M Anwar Shamim.
 

fatman17

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Falcons Pakistan Air Force
Pakistan



Falcons was the Pakistan Air Force aerobatic team.

On February 2, 1958, a formation of 16 PAF F-86 Sabre aircraft performed a loop for the first time during an air display at Masroor Air Base at Karachi.

This team was called the “Falcons”.
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Paybills aerobatic team
Pakistan


In 1952, No. 11 Squadron of Pakian Air Frce from Drigh Road (now Faisal) Air Base, formed an aerobatic team with the unusual name “Paybills”, which was actually the squadron's call sign.

The team flew Supermarine “Attacker” fighters and it was the Pakistan Air Force’s first jet aerobatic team.

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Rattles and Tigers
Pakistan


In 1969 in the Pakistan Air Force, a “Rattles” aerobatic display team was created at Sargodha Air Base flying with Shenyang F-6 (a Chinese-built MiG-19) fighters which were painted all black. The team existed for only a few months.

In 1980, another F-6 (MiG-19) aerobatic team, known as the “Tigers”, was created at Sargodha. This time all 5 aircraft were painted in special colors - yellow and red. This team lasted a little longer than its predecessor.
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Red Dragons
Pakistan


The first formation aerobatics team in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was formed by No. 9 Squadron using Hawker Sea Fury aircraft. Named the “Red Dragons”, the team performed officially for the first time in 1951 at Peshawar. The occasion was the farewell ceremony for the PAF's outgoing C-in-C, Air Vice-Marshal R.L.R. Atcherely.

The “Red Dragons” thus gained the honor of being the first aerobatic team on the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent.

Another team with same name was created in 1967 flying with red-painted F-86 Sabres. This newer team performed its first display on March 9, 1967.
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Sherdils
Pakistan


The "Sherdils" are the current Pakistan Air Force (PAF) aerobatic display team.

The team consists of six K-8 jet trainers painted in overall white, red and blue colors and the team's pilots are instructors from the Pakistan Air Force Academy based at Risalpur Air Force Base.

All the team's planes are equipped with white, red and blue colors smoke systems.

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Before switching to the Karakoram K8s, the Sherdils performed on the Cessna T37A/B/C Tweety Bird.
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GriffinsRule

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Thanks for the posts @fatman17

For all the people who have been calling on PAF to quit displaying altogether after the unfortunate accident, here is a reminder of our history and tradition as well. Pakistan was perhaps most 'broke' right after independence, yet it did not deter, rather reinforced PAF's commitment to its duty by performing for its nation and people because it serves a deeper purpose then to just bring smiles on people's faces and entertaining them.

August 15, 1947: First formation flying display by RPAF, comprising of 4 Tempests over Karachi, to mark the occasion of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah's assumption of the office of Governor General of Pakistan. Flying Officer N A Siddiqui overnight had painted the crescent and star on his aircraft to replace the RIAF markings.

March 21, 1948: As a publicity measure, over Lahore, RPAF carried solo aerobatics by a Tiger Moth, formation flying on Harvards, and a mock chase by two Tempests, which also carried out rocket firings and dive bombing displays. One of the pilots on the Tempests, F S Hussain would go on to become a legend in Pakistan for his aerobatic skills.

The same Flying Officer F S Hussain later in the year, on August 10, went on to create the record score in air-to-air firing scores at the RAF Central Gunnery School in England.

In 1948 he also performed a solo aerobatic display for the Shah of Iran at Risalpur in a Hawker Fury. The Shah, also a pilot, was so impressed with the precise low-level aerobatic display, that he had his court poet write a song in praise of the PAF pilot. For his continuing prowess at flying and displays, he would go on the become another legend in Pakistan as well as around the world and his initials F S would become synonymous for low-level aerobatics.

December 14, 1950: First ever formation aerobatic display by PAF was given at Risalpur where two Tempests. Both pilots took turns sliding back and forth as lead & wingman during the display.

It was this display that led to the formation of Pakistan's first team. PAF's oldest and the most respected No. 9 Squadron, formed the 'Red Dragons' aerobatics team. The name derives from the squadrons crest. It performed in 1951 on AVM Atcherley's farewell ceremony.

1952 also saw No. 11 Squadron form the first jet aircraft team called the 'Paybill' which happened to be their callsign as well.


Another lesser known display team from Mauripur AFB (now Masroor) was the Red Sabres (Not Red Dragons as erroneously mentioned on some sites), that comprised of 5 brightly painted F-86s in red included the leader Wg Cmdr Wiqar Azim, Sqn Ldr Shabbir and Fl Lts Akbar, Farooq F & Cecil Chaudhry.

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fatman17

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Standing 2nd from right is my father-in-law Major Abdul Qadir Khan. Just before 1965 War an IAF Gnat was forced to land at Pasrur airfield. Sqn Ldr Sikand , the pilot, was apprehended by Major Qadir. In 71 War, he commanded 105 Bde which captured Fakhr e Hind. Commanded 111Bde .
October 1965
4 FF at Zafarwal

standing in centre
Brigadier "Makhmad" Hayat
Sitara-e-Jurat

standing left-most
Major Muhammad Akram
Nishan-e-Haider
OC 'C' Coy 4 FF at Hilli '71 https://t.co/hLZCJDidOM
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fatman17

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You are here: Home / Article topics / Publications / Naval Historical Review / A Submarine Episode during the Indian-Pakistan War of 1971

A Submarine Episode during the Indian-Pakistan War of 1971

March 5, 1979

Author
Corau, A., Capitaine, FN
Subjects
History - general

Publication
March 1979 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
This article was first published in English in the Pakistan Navy News, but this version was in the original French and has been translated by the Editor. The article describes the sinking of the Blackwood class frigate Khurkri by the Daphne submarine Hangor.

THE INDIAN-PAKISTANI WAR OF 1971 resulted in the defeat of Pakistan and the transfer of the Pakistani province of Bangladesh to Indian authority. During the war, which lasted less than a month, a Pakistani submarine of the Daphne class, the Hangor, gave chase to two Indian frigates, sank the Khurkri and hit the Kirpan and then escaped from a hunt lasting several days.

Already devastated a year earlier by an exceptionally severe cyclone, Bangladesh was the scene of civil disturbances all through 1971. This agitation, conducted primarily by the Awami League, was very severely suppressed by the Pakistani Government, resulting in hundreds of thousands of victims, and six million refugees made for India.

India, which wished to create an independent state in Bengal, was very preoccupied by the problems arising from the exodus of Bengalis, in Calcutta in particular, and had concluded a treaty of friendship with the USSR on the 9th August 1917. On the signing of this treaty 5,000 tons of war supplies were delivered.

Pakistan on the other hand continued to obtain war supplies from the United States, but France and Britain had stopped all deliveries in July.

The conflict started in October, but the war really began on the 3rd December by an attack in the Israeli fashion with raids on Indian airfields by the Pakistani Air Force. But rapidly the Indians became mistress of the seas and sky. By the 17th December the eastern province was entirely in Indian hands when the Pakistani general Niazzi surrendered his troops on the race track at Dacca. From that time the official existence of Bangladesh began.

On the 9th December 1971, it was a fine evening at the entrance to the Gulf of Cambray, to the north-east of Bombay. At the time the sea was like oil and the night pitch black. On board the Indian frigate Khurkri, the sonar operator Kunwar Pal Singh was on watch. He had just started his watch and once more he tried to believe that he might locate one of these famous Pakistani submarines, the only valuable units in their whole Navy he thought. With such good conditions for operating the sonar he reckoned he could not fail.

While still concentrating his attention on the job, Singh went over the latest sequence of events in his mind. The war had only been going on for six days and the victories had all been on the Indian side. It had started on the first day with a submarine contact in the Bay of Bengal. This was Khurkri’s bad luck as the contact had been on the other side of the sub continent where India’s only carrier, the Vikrant, had been sent to avoid any risk from submarines. In the end the Pakistani submarine Ghazi had been sunk. Although the submarine had been built in the United States during the 1939 war, it did prove that the Indian Navy with its old destroyers and frigates and its Russian instructors was fairly efficient.

After this incident, the Vikrant’s Sea Hawks and Alizes had everything their own way; military and harbour installations in Bengal were bombed and practically destroyed – Chittagong, Cox’s Bazaar, Chandur, Munola, Chalna and Khulna. One of the Alizes which had taken part in the attacks managed to land although badly damaged, and it was said that some escorts had steamed up the delta of the Ganges- Brahmaputra and bombarded Chandpur. Really the Pakistanis were non existent.

The Khurkri’s captain announced to his ship’s company that there had been a great victory near Karachi on the previous evening. The two cruisers Mysore and Delhi (ex HMS Achilles) had been engaged, as well as escorts and also six guided missile patrol boats. At Karachi they must have wondered how these small craft managed to reach the area. It was considered that these small craft had sunk four or five ships on their own. These craft were Soviet built and similar to the Egyptian one that sank the Israeli frigate Eilath.

Pal Singh realised that the frigates’ zone of surveillance was to protect the Indian forces against submarine attack. Leaving Bombay had not been without some difficulty as there was a big commotion at the entrance of the port in the middle of a minefield designed to attract enemy submarines. The passage through the swept channel had not been too easy. The Khurkri had then started her patrol with Kirpan following a track which seemed to be a rectangle based on the direction Bombay – Karachi. At the same time three trawlers in line ahead carried out a radar sweep in the adjoining sector. Singh tried to imagine what a Pakistani captain would see through his periscope after exhausting his batteries chasing them.

Khurkri sonar operator was thinking about this when a small echo attracted his attention. He was about to analyse the echo when there was a violent explosion followed by several others. Two minutes later all was over, Singh found himself swimming in the sea and oil. He was one of the 67 survivors.

For nearly 30 hours the Pakistani submarine Hangor of the French Daphne class had followed the two Indian frigates, 30 hours during which there had been little sleep for any of the crew, because they felt they were nearly at their goal and their dreams would at last be realised.

Soon the Torpedo Gunner’s Mate Gulham Ghous would be able to tell his six year old son how he fired the ‘fish’ which sank the enemy frigate. He would also be able to tell the boy how hard it had been to control the hydroplanes during the hunt as they were making 11 knots at a depth of 32 feet or snorkeling at 12 knots with the valve at the sea end locked open.

But all this was nothing compared with what they had experienced in home waters and in France.

But Commander Taznim ruled the ship’s company with an iron hand and was detested for his harshness while the training progressed. Any mistake was punished severely, sometimes with loss of leave.

But now it was felt that his strictness in training would bear fruit. Ghulam Ghous was ready in the torpedo compartment with his hand on the firing trigger, ready to fire as many torpedoes as necessary to prove to the Indians that Allah alone is Great.

For the Captain as well, Lieutenant Commander Taznim Hamad, those thirty hours had proved very long. But he felt he would gloriously crown his efforts, which had begun by an endless period completing the submarine in France (wonderful people, the French, and they built remarkable submarines; but they lacked the ardour for war).

For nearly a year, since his return to Karachi, he had been forced to start again almost from nothing training his ship’s company. The greater part had left, including his second in command and his torpedo officer. As there were no warships available, he had begun by dummy attacks on merchant ships for three consecutive weeks. Then he had started dummy attacks on the Indian Navy itself in front of Bombay. In this way he acquired an excellent knowledge of this area and of the traffic, tides and underwater currents. He deliberately tested the bearing and range of the Indian’s sonar and their tactics when he deliberately allowed himself to get in contact. He exhausted his attack team, but the crew became so confident that they felt they would always win and their submarine was almost unsinkable.

Shortly before the outbreak of war, the captain found himself forced on account of lack of trained personnel to work up in five days instead of what normally would take a month.

Unfortunately, shortly after reaching the patrol area, the air conditioning system broke down; in the hot weather air conditioning played a vital role not only for the electronic gear. There could be no question of returning in view of the very serious tension between the two countries. So at night they had to come up to the surface showing the fishing lights of a trawler. An Indian warship had approached. What on earth could they do? If they submerged the submarine would be immediately spotted. So they had to stay on the surface ready to launch a torpedo. The warship came within 4,000 metres without using her searchlight and then left.

A little while later, just before the outbreak of war, Commander Taznim had to watch an Indian fleet pass by on a good bearing; these were practically all the ships available to the Indians on the west coast. The captain’s officers and crew begged him to attack. Not having received his orders, he had to let the warships go although it broke his heart to do so.

But now this time the enemy was on a good bearing. At the beginning on the afternoon of the 8th, there had been only two radar echoes, detected twice in the same formation at an interval of one hour; this was enough to class them as warships on a southeasterly course. The hunt began.

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Since the sighting the enemy had continued to change course, which gave the hunter some problems. On the evening of the 8th the enemy was on a north-westerly course, then on the morning of the 9th they changed to a north-easterly course, then to a south-easterly course about noon.

Commander Taznim now realised that the enemy ships had been on a course that described a rectangle. Then at 1900 the ships set a course to the north west. At 1915 Commander Taznim estimated their mean course and dived to attack. He altered course on the frigate on the western side (Kirpan) at very slow speed in order to present the smallest silhouette to the enemy’s sonar. He decided not to hurry the moment of firing, but to wait for the moment the enemy would be on target, judged to be at 2000.

At 2013 a sharp order broke the silence: ‘Fire‘. Everyone was tense. The torpedo left the tube and was heard moving towards the target, but then they heard it passing under without exploding.

There was no time to criticise this failure. The frigate on the eastern side (Khurkri) passed in her turn at high speed at a range of about 500 metres. There was just time to set the range and at 2017 a second torpedo was fired. At the sonar, Mohamed Miskeen, disappointed with the first firing, concentrated all his efforts on the hydrophones. Suddenly he heard a tremendous roaring – he snatched the hydrophones from his ears and in his joy prostrated himself on the deck shouting ‘Allah is Great!

Kirpan returned to pick up survivors and her course brought her in line with the submarine, which promptly fired a third torpedo, but the frigate was prepared for the attack and left at high speed. After 8 or 10 minutes a very clear explosion was heard, followed by the stopping of the Kirpan’s machinery. Commander Taznim considered that he had hit the frigate, but he decided to abandon the attack and made for deep water. Kirpan had a badly damaged stern and was unable to steam, she was finally towed into Bombay.

There followed three days of depth charge attacks by Shackletons, Alizes and escorts. The submarine suffered 156 depth charges, most of which were a long way off. Every time the submarine used the snorkel it was spotted by aircraft, but the escorts led to the position by the aircraft never made contact. Finally the Hangor managed to escape and carry on her mission.

On the morning of the 18th December, a long black silhouette glided into the port of Karachi.

All on board were exhausted but triumphant. The crew were seen lined up on the casing. Commander Taznim felt very strongly about the uncertainty which dominated the capability of his command until the first engagement. Two of his men had broken down during the encounter, one of whom was one of his most capable officers.

Also he thought that he had returned safely because he had taken risks, which would not have been acceptable in peacetime, and had not taken certain risks which his crew would not have been able to sustain.

But his thoughts were interrupted by the fanfare and ovations which came from the quay. The time for risks and loneliness were now finished for him, now came the time for honours.
 

fatman17

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Group Captain (retd.) Shah Khan
Sitara-e-Jurat
Sitara-e-Imtiaz
Gilgit Scouts / PAF
Gilgit-Baltistan War of Liberation

a royal son of Hunza, he commanded the Eskimo Force, crossing the Deosai Plains & the Burzil Pass to make crucial gains in Kargil, Drass & Zoji La. https://t.co/2h2nDZItbQ
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Esgalduin

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Man, I would say that Sajad Haider was one of the greatest generation of the PAF; the generation that fought in both 65 and 71. He knew Cecil Choudry, Sarfaraz Rafiqui, Bha Munir, Alauddin "Butch," Arshad Sami, MM Alam, Aftab Alam etc. He destroyed Indian tanks in Chawinda and made Patankhot airbase go up in flames. One of my favourite episodes in the book is when he went abroad to a war college in the US/UK and met an Indian pilot who was hiding in the trenches during the attack at Pathankhot (unable to get to his Mig 21). Sajad shb surprised all the foreigners by treating the Indian with warmth and respect. He even dared to call out Zia ul Haq on his BS and soundly criticized Ayub and Musa Khan for their failed strategies.
 

Ghessan

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mothers who sacrifice their lives to bring up kids to become a gentleman,
father is the personality in ones life that bring will, confidence and passion.

no one can repay their parents in kind,

i salute them and salute to the heroes.
 

fatman17

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Debunking The Myths of 1971 Bangladesh

Ancient Pakistan

Jun 3 ·

Just days after the Fall of Dhaka, General Abdul Siddigui and his Bengali nationalist guerrilla fighters (Mukti Bahini) are photographed using bayonets to torture and kill four Bihari men suspected of “collaborating” with Pakistan. This scene was repeated across Bangladesh weeks after 16 December 1971, in which minority communities like Biharis, Chakma Buddhists and even a small Punjabi community in Dhaka, were brutally murdered.

Mature nations should be able to question their own history, and accept interpretations which may differ from the one they were led to believe. This is particularly true in cases of conflict. As time passes and cooler heads prevail, we can start piecing together the facts, and shunning away the propaganda and exaggerations. History cannot be changed, but it can be reassessed.

I, as a historian and a Pakistani, personally hold no grudges against Bangladesh today nor am I interested in “reclaiming” East Pakistan. But the truth of 1971 must be told — ever since then, Pakistanis have been led to believe a masochistic version of history that holds us responsible for everything that happened in that war. But the actual evidence and sequence of events tells us a very different story, one which morally bankrupt pseudo-historians and cherry picking rights activists like "); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">Pakistan Votes and "); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">Brown History, would rather ignore.

The fact is non-Bengali minorities were brutally murdered by Bengali fascists. What exactly was the intention of targeting them is not fully understood, but a case of “ethnic cleansing” can surely be made. This is something the Government of Bangladesh (the Awami League in particular) would rather hide than accept, and to this day, the crimes committed against these minority communities by Bengali nationalists are either ridiculed or simply dismissed by the Awami League. It is particularly this reason why Bangladesh never made any efforts to involve the international community in going after and charging Pakistani generals involved in the 1971 war. Mujib knew very well that if an impartial, independent, international tribunal were to be set up, like the Nuremberg tribunal was after Nazi Germany fell, that the truth of their own war crimes against non-Bengalis would be exposed to the world.

The 1933 document “Now or Never”, Chaudhary Rehmat Ali defines the word PAKSTAN (Pakistan) as an acronym of the historic nations that would form the country in the future — Punjab, Afghania (KP), Kashmir, Sindh and BalochisSTAN. He made no mention of Bengal.

But let’s take a step back for a second and go back to 1933, because this is an important fact that people seem to miss. The fact is the conflict in East Pakistan should have never happened in the first place, because East Bengal was never meant to be part of Pakistan. This can be attested to the 1933 document “Now or Never”, written by Chaudhary Rehmat Ali, whereby he defines PAKSTAN, an acronym of the historic nations that would form the country in the future — meaning Punjab, Afghania (KP), Kashmir, Sindh and BalochisSTAN. Bengal was never in the picture to begin with, but in the hastiness of partition it appears the two Muslim wings were simply lumped together. Had our leaders had the foresight after 1947, East Bengal should have either become independent or become an autonomous territory within Pakistan. There were three major issues why this should have occurred:

Ethnolinguistic differences
East Bengal had a relatively homogenous ethnic population and spoke one language, whereas West Pakistan (comprising of Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan) was multi-ethnic, multilingual and multicultural.Population
East Bengal was overpopulated — roughly the size of Sindh, it had a larger population than all of West Pakistan’s provinces combined.Geography
East Bengal was thousands of kilometres away from West Pakistan, and was an enclave surrounded on all four sides by India — its total border length with India was 4156 km, with an additional 270 km with Myanmar.

With all these factors highlighted, East Pakistan was simply a disaster waiting to happen. Since this is a very long topic, I will divide it into four major parts:

Part 1: Debunking The 3 Million Myth
I have only used non-Pakistani sources from Bangladesh’s own Foreign Secretary to the British Medical Journal. Sources have been provided for each quote.

Part 2: Ethnic Cleansing by Mukti Bahini
The murder of Biharis is well known, but what is not known are the massacres committed against Chakma Buddhists in Chittagong Tract Hills and the small Punjabi business oriented community within Dhaka. With this in mind, the case of “ethnic cleansing” could surely be made.

Part 3: International Crimes Tribunals (Bangladesh)
This court was setup domestically within Bangladesh in 2012, based off the ICT Act which Bangladesh passed in 1973. The word “international” shouldn’t fool you, since the international community played no part in the trials. It was simply added in to look as if they did. Foreign observers have criticized the tribunal, mentioning government interference, restrictions on public discussion, not enough time allocated for the defence, the kidnapping of defence witnesses and a judge resigning due to controversy over his neutrality.

Part 4: What Pakistan Got Wrong In East Bengal
To suggest Pakistan had no role in the debacle of 1971 would be silly. This is why the Hamoodur Rahman Commission was setup to understand what led to the conflict of 1971. However, as you’re all well aware, it was classified at the behest of the military. The commission was highly critical of Pakistan’s military interference in East Pakistan, misconduct of politicians as well as intelligence failures of the ISI and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Justice Hamoodur Rahman and Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

PART 1 — Debunking The 3 Million Myth
I’ll start off by addressing the most controversial issue here — the myth that three million people were killed in East Pakistan by the army. This allegation was first made by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 8 January 1972, and is widely circulated as fact. But sources from within Bangladesh seem to question its authenticity.

Serajur Rahman, a journalist and broadcaster with BBC Bangla Service at the time, wrote a piece in 2011 for The Guardian explaining how the three million figure came to be:

“On 8 January 1972, I was the first Bangladeshi to meet independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after his release from Pakistan. He was brought from Heathrow to Claridge’s by the Indian high commissioner Apa Bhai Panth, and I arrived there almost immediately. Mujib was puzzled to be addressed as “your excellency” by Mr Panth. He was surprised, almost shocked, when I explained to him that Bangladesh had been liberated and he was elected president in his absence. Apparently he arrived in London under the impression that East Pakistanis had been granted the full regional autonomy for which he had been campaigning. During the day I and others gave him the full picture of the war. I explained that no accurate figure of the casualties was available but our estimate, based on information from various sources, was that up to “three lakh” (300,000) died in the conflict. To my surprise and horror he told David Frost later that “three millions of my people” were killed by the Pakistanis. Whether he mistranslated “lakh” as “million” or his confused state of mind was responsible I don’t know, but many Bangladeshis still believe a figure of three million is unrealistic and incredible.”

— Serajur Rahman, from the article “"); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">Mujib’s confusion on Bangladeshi deaths” published in The Guardian on 24 May 2011

However, Bangladesh’s first foreign secretary Sayyid A. Karim, wrote a different story about how the three million deaths claim came to be:

“As for the number of Bengalis killed in the course of the liberation war, the figure of 3 million mentioned by Mujib to David Frost in January 1972 was a gross overstatement. This figure was picked up by him from an article in Pravda, the organ of the communist party of the Soviet Union.”

—Sayyid A. Karim, from his book “"); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">Sheikh Mujib: Triumph and Tragedy”

But where did Mujib get his hands on Pravda in London? That answer lies in an article written in the “Bangladesh Observer”. It reads:

“The Communist party news paper ‘pravda’ has reported that over 30 lakh persons were killed throughout Bangladesh by the Pakistan occupation forces during the last nine months, reports ENA. Quoting its special correspondent stationed in Dacca the paper said that the Pakistan Military forces immediately before their surrender to Mukti Bahinis and the Allied forces had killed about 800 intellectuals in the capital city of Bangladesh alone.”

— Bangladesh Observer article entitled “"); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">Pak Army killed over 30 lakh people” (see section 82 of link) published on 5 January 1972

It is unclear how Pravda got a hold of this figure — the newspaper simply quotes its special correspondent, which in turn is quoted by the Bangladesh Observer. It’s pertinent to note that the USSR played a big role in the secession of East Pakistan and riling up Bengalis. In a television interview, retired KGB Psychological Warfare Officer Yuri Bezmenov explains in detail how the USSR aided Mujib by using India.

What Happened In East Pakistan, by Yuri Bezmenov

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In 1974, Bangladesh apparently tried to calculate the number of people who had died in 1971. However, upon most of the study being completed, the actual number calculated came to around 250,000 dead and was nowhere close to the estimated 3,000,000 Mujib had claimed in 1972. Upon hearing the number, Mujib had the entire study shut down. Lawrence Lifschultz, a resident correspondent with the Far Eastern Economic Review in Bangladesh, wrote about this in detail:

“In the course of my reporting I met a very interesting man who had a very intriguing story to tell about the work he had recently been doing. He was employed by the Home Ministry and was part of a team of researchers conducting a study that was trying to assess the total number of casualties that had occurred during the nine months of 1971 as war raged across the country. The Home Ministry study was trying to assess how many people had died directly from the armed violence of the Pakistan Army and their local collaborators. They were also trying to estimate how many people had died on the road or once they reached refugee camps across the border in India. Many of these deaths were among children and the elderly. The study was conducted by field workers systematically asking families in villages about those who had died from their village during the war and under what circumstances. They were slowly building up a picture across the country. At the time we met, the Home Ministry team had completed their survey in approximately a third of the districts. My Home Ministry source told me that based on their projections the number of deaths from the war was estimated at 250,000 people. As I recall, this did not include the young, the ill and the elderly, who died either in the refugee camps or as they fled the Pakistan Army. A quarter of million people dying from armed violence is by any measure a terrible and tragic number. However, according to my source, the study was abruptly shut down and discontinued. The reason was that the survey was moving toward a statistical conclusion that differed with the prevailing orthodoxy that three million people had died from armed violence and refugee migration.”

— Lawrence Lifschultz, from his article “"); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">A Man & History On Trial” published on 9 October 2014

And the controversy continues to this day. Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief and former Prime Minister of Bangladesh Khaleda Zia herself has questioned the validity of the three million claim:

“There is a debate about how many hundreds of thousands were martyred in the Liberation War. Different books and documents give different accounts.”
— Former Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Khaleda Zia ("); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">Source)

Former Bangladesh Prime Minsister Khaleda Zia

In Volume 30 of the Population Studies: A Journal of Demography, published in 1976, the study ”Demographic crisis: The impact of the Bangladesh civil war (1971)” "); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">estimates around 500,000 deaths in Bangladesh during the conflict.

In the 2008 Volume of the British Medical Journal, the study “Fifty years of violent war deaths from Vietnam to Bosnia: analysis of data from the world health survey programme” "); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">states around 269,000 deaths (allowing a possible range of 125,000 to 505,000) occurred in Bangladesh during the 1971 conflict. Earlier estimates of casualties during the Bangladesh war were in the region of 58,000, the study noted. The objective of the survey was to provide an accurate estimate of deaths in wars. The study analysed estimated deaths from war injuries in 13 countries over 50 years.

Despite factual evidence available from non-Pakistani sources debunking the myth of 3 million, some Bangladeshis, and many Indians for that matter, continue to believe this ridiculous number. M. A. Hasan, convener of the “War Crimes Fact Finding Committee” in Bangladesh says that:

“The figure of liberation war martyrs is one such issue which no one should question.”

The fact this is coming from somebody who heads a “Fact Finding Committee” is quite disturbing. It’s evident from this quote that fact finding is not the objective here, but rather cementing the myth is. Since the Awami League came to power again in 2009, it has tried to use the emotions surrounding the 1971 war to justify a move toward authoritarian one-party rule in Bangladesh. In its version of history, only the Awami League is the party of liberation, and therefore of government, and opposition parties are branded as “pro-Pakistan,” and therefore dangerous and disloyal. For many others however, both within and outside of Bangladesh, questions are indeed necessary on the 1971 war.

All of what has been written above comes in the form of small articles and studies. However, if you want an unbiased, scholarly take into the events surrounding 1971, I would suggest Sarmila Bose’s book “Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangaldesh War”.

The first ever scholarly work published on the 1971 East Pakistan Conflict by Sarmila Bose. An American journalist and academic, she is currently a senior research associate at the Centre for International Studies in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford.

Sarmila Bose is a American historian of Indian heritage currently at the University of Oxford’s Centre for International Studies. She is credited for publishing the "); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">first scholarly analysis of the 1971 conflict in her groundbreaking book. Bose’s investigation of the 1971 Bangladeshi narrative began when she saw a picture of the Jessore Massacre of 2 April 1971.

“The Jessore Massacre may have been genocide, but it wasn’t committed by the Pakistan army. The dead men were non-Bengali residents of Jessore, butchered in broad daylight by Bengali nationalists.” — "); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">Sarmila Bose

The caption of the photo is just as grim as its content: ‘April 2, 1971: Genocide by the Pakistan Occupation Force at Jessore.’ It is in a book printed by Bangladeshis trying to commemorate the victims of their liberation war. It is a familiar scene. There are many grisly photographs of dead bodies from 1971, published in books, newspapers and websites.

Reading another book on the 1971 war, there was that photograph again? taken from a slightly different angle, but the bodies and the scene of the massacre were the same. But wait a minute! The caption here reads: ‘The bodies of businessmen murdered by rebels in Jessore city.’

The alternative caption is in The East Pakistan Tragedy, by L.F. Rushbrook Williams, written in 1971 before the independence of Bangladesh. Rushbrook Williams is strongly in favour of the Pakistan government and highly critical of the Awami League. However, he was a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, had served in academia and government in India, and with the BBC and The Times. There was no reason to think he would willfully mislabel a photo of a massacre.

And so, in a bitter war where so many bodies had remained unclaimed, here is a set of murdered men whose bodies are claimed by both sides of the conflict! Who were these men? And who killed them?

It turns out that the massacre in Jessore may have been genocide, but it wasn’t committed by the Pakistan army. The dead men were non-Bengali residents of Jessore, butchered in broad daylight by Bengali nationalists.

— Sarmila Bose, from her article “"); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">The Truth About The Jessore Massacre” published in The Telegraph on 19 March 2006

It’s evident from the photo that some of the Jessore bodies were dressed in shalwar kameez, an indication that they were either West Pakistanis or Biharis. In Bose’s book, she has done a case-by-case body count estimate that lead her in the end to estimate that between 50,000 and 100,000 people were killed on all sides, including Bengalis, Biharis, West Pakistanis and others, in 1971 war.

When you’re done reading Sarmila Bose’s book, I would suggest another book by Dr. M. Abdul Mu’min Chowdhury, a Bengali nationalist who actively participated in the separatist cause in 1971.

In his book “Behind the Myth of 3 Million”, he challenges the falsehood and conspiracy theories around what took place in 1971. Citing an extensive range of sources to show that what the Pakistan Army was carrying out in East Pakistan was a limited counter-insurgency, not genocide, the scholar discloses that after the creation of Bangladesh, the new de facto government offered to pay 2000 Taka to every family that suffered loss of life, but only 3000 families claimed such compensation. Had there been three million Bengalis dead, a lot more families would have come forward. Furthermore, the actual fighting force of the army in East Pakistan was 40,000 not 93,000. As such, when India invaded East Pakistan, the army was at a 50:1 disadvantage.

The book has since been published online and can be "); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">viewed for free here.

This concludes PART 1 of Debunking The Myths of 1971 Bangladesh. Stay tuned for PART 2 where the Ethnic Cleansing by the Mukti Bahini is explored.

Other Sources:
1. "); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">The Politics of Bangladesh’s Genocide Debate By David Bergman (NYT)

2. "); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal Blog

3. "); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">Debunking Bangladeshi Nationalists’ 1971 Myths by Riaz Haq

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