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The dark chapter:1971 tragedy

Discussion in 'Seniors Cafe' started by Slav Defence, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. Slav Defence

    Slav Defence THINK TANK VICE CHAIRMAN: ANALYST

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    The dark chapter:1971 tragedy


    [​IMG]


    After years of struggle against the British Raj and the Indian Congress, the world saw the creation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Divided into two parts, east and west Pakistan, but bounded by faith and the words of Jinnah, the united nation took its first steps towards development and prosperity. However, the nation was still divided, geographically as well as on other basis. This article will analyze what were the factors which caused such tragedy and what can we learn from the ‘’tragic splitting’’ of this nation into two.

    To understand what went wrong, one needs to step back and take a look at causative factors. We will only be able to proceed ahead as a nation if we look at the lapses within.

    a) Economic disparity:
    The newly found Pakistan was not an economically strong country, on the contrary there were many issues with funds which are clear to anyone who has studied the history of Pakistan. However, albeit Pakistan was economically challenged, East Pakistan was poorer of the two wings.

    When the government took steps to help boost the economy, the measures seemed to favor West Pakistan. More than twice as much foreign aid and capital investment went to West Pakistan. Between 1949 and 1960 the per capita income increased in West Pakistan from 330 rupees to 373 rupees.

    In East Pakistan it declined from 305 rupees to 288. In 1951 the per capita income of East Pakistan was 85% of that of West Pakistan. In other words, West Pakistan was, on average 15% wealthier than East Pakistanis. By 1970 the gap had grown to 40%.

    The Bangladeshis believed and rightly so, that West Pakistan’s economic growth had taken place as a result of transferring resources from East to West Pakistan. They argued that single largest Pakistani export was Jute, which was grown in East Pakistan. Whereas the perhaps the largest spending by the government was on defense to protect the border with India. Since most of the border between the two countries lay in West Pakistan, some East Pakistanis considered that spending on the army was really to protect West Pakistan.


    This difference was also seen in health and education.
    [​IMG]


    b) Political disparity
    The people of East Pakistan felt that they were under represented in the Government set up. Although they were a majority in the constituent assembly, the Prime ministers and Governor Generals were nearly always from West Pakistan.

    This case was also the same in appointment to senior positions in the Armed forces (less than 20% of officers were from East Pakistan), to senior government positions and to posts in the civil service. Even high level posts in Dhaka were usually filled by West Pakistanis.
    This lead to feelings of anger and resentment over denial of equal opportunities to the people of east Pakistan.

    c) Language
    In 1948, the Government of Pakistan ordained Urdu as the sole national language, evoking extensive protests among the Bengali-speaking majority of East Pakistan. Facing rising sectarian tensions and mass discontent with the new law, the government outlawed public meetings and rallies.

    The students of the University of Dhaka and other political activists defied the law and organized a protest on 21 February 1952. The movement reached its climax when police killed student demonstrators on that day.

    The deaths provoked widespread civil unrest led by the Awami Muslim League, later renamed the Awami League. After years of conflict, the central government relented and granted official status to the Bengali language in 1956.

    These events showed that West Pakistan had issues with treating the people of East Pakistan as equals. There was a general difference in culture, language and traditions which was ignored while taking any decisions, most which were unilateral.

    d) Outside Interference
    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.”

    e) Secret army

    The task of realizing 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 carry 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 rivaled, 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.

    f) Less-than-holy war
    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.”

    g) 1970 elections-Last nail to the coffin

    There were two main parties in the election for the National assembly of Pakistan. Awami league and Pakistan people’s party(PPP). The Awami league was able to win supporting by campaigning on the basis of six points. Awami league won a clear majority, winning 160 seat’s out of 300. This resulted by creating many problems for Yahya Khan and West Pakistan politicians.

    This result meant that Awami league could form a government on it’s own(in theory it meant meant next prime minister would be from East Pakistan and the whole of cabinet).

    A major problem that Yahya and West Pakistan politicians faced was that Awami league had won the election on a manifesto calling for more power in general to the provinces, in particular East Pakistan. This meant that Awami league could make changes to the constitution.

    h) The Crisis deepens
    Yahya hoped to reach a compromise with Mujib-ur-Rehman in January 1971, he had hoped to persuade him not to form the next government and not to make changes the constitution through newly formed assembly, limiting power of the central government. Mujib-ur-Rehman reached an agreement with other parties on sharing the power. On March 1, 1971, Yahya Khan, who earlier had referred to Mujib as the "future prime minister of Pakistan," dissolved his civilian cabinet and declared an indefinite postponement of the National Assembly.

    In East Pakistan, the reaction was immediate. Strikes, demonstrations, and civil disobedience increased in tempo until there was open revolt. Prodded by Mujib, Bengalis declared they would pay no taxes and would ignore martial law regulations on press and radio censorship. The writ of the central government all but ceased to exist in East Pakistan.

    Mujib, Bhutto, and Yahya Khan held negotiations in Dhaka in late March in a last-ditch attempt to defuse the growing crisis; simultaneously, General Tikka Khan, who commanded the Pakistani forces in East Pakistan, prepared a contingency plan for a military takeover and called for troop reinforcements to be flown in via Sri Lanka. In an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion, the talks broke down, and on March 25 Yahya Khan and Bhutto flew back to West Pakistan. Mujib was taken into custody and flown to the West Wing.

    Yahya had sent the army to ‘keep order’. Awami League was banned. Yahya claimed that Mujib was claiming to declare independence. Fears further increased. On March 26, Yahya Khan outlawed the Awami League, banned political activity, and re imposed press censorship in both wings. Because of these strictures, people in the West Wing remained uninformed about the crackdown in the east and tended to discount reports appearing in the international press as an Indian conspiracy. Yahya ordered the Pakistan Army to take control of East Pakistan.

    The measure was supported by all parties in the West Pakistan and Bhutto claimed it that ‘Pakistan had been saved’.The reality was different rather than being saved, millions of Bengali refugees were fleeing across to India and civil war was now inevitable.

    Relations between Pakistan and India, already tense, deteriorated sharply as a result of the crisis. On March 31, the Indian parliament passed a resolution in support of the "people of Bengal."

    i) Role of Mukti Bahini and RAW massacre:

    The Mukti Bahini, formed around regular and paramilitary forces, received equipment, training, and other assistance from India. Superpower rivalries further complicated the situation, impinged on Pakistan's war, and possibly impeded its political resolution.

    In the fall, military and guerrilla operations increased, and Pakistan and India reported escalation of border shelling. On the western border of East Pakistan, military preparations were also in evidence.

    On November 21, the Mukti Bahini launched an offensive on Jessore, southwest of Dhaka. Knowing that India was supporting the rebel forces, Yahya Khan declared a state of emergency in all of Pakistan on November 23 and asked his people to prepare for war.

    And further event’s followed on war broke out with India and on December 16, 1971 Bangladesh was formed. I will try to point out how easily all this loss of life could have easily been avoided, better yet what we can learn from mistake we had made.


    j) Challenges in which Pakistani regime had failed:

    It was not easy for civil government of Pakistan to handle one of its part, formally known as east Pakistan when there were so many differences existed between them. However, it became more challenging due to geographical location of Bangladesh and due to presence of Indian state as she was more prone to harbor threats and plots against West Pakistan. This geographical problem was one main factor which made East Pakistan to sense insecurity besides behavior of Pakistani civil regime. On the other hand, west Pakistan tried to keep unity between two of her wings by imposing Urdu as national language, which had made the situation even worse- Hence, these misunderstandings and ignorance as well had lead to the biggest tragedy of Pakistani history. Besides these factors, state of Pakistan was unable to understand political changes and had never imagined that their ignorance would be leading to such an apocalypse.

    What should be done was to develop strong intelligence network in East Pakistan and to set hot spots to encounter Indian proxy wars and interruption, since they were obvious since formation of Pakistan. The map proposed by British raj was intended to create problems for Pakistan and to support Hindu majority state. However, such strategies were never thought because of careless attitude and lack of vision of civil regime.


    The lessons that should be learnt:-
    The basis of a society is the language it speaks and since Bengali was spoken by the majority (spoken by 56% of Pakistanis), it was an important part of the nation of Pakistan and no doubt it should have been made the national language.
    Choosing Urdu as the only national language sparked extensive protests and was one of the things that lead to the feelings of hostility with the nation of Pakistan.

    The culture of the Bengali was unique to those in Eastern Pakistan. It is unique and something that was supposed has been recognized as such. The feelings of the western Pakistani of superiority were unfounded and were something that leads to the unfair treatment of the people of East Pakistan.
    It is also a notable point that Ayub Khan in his Autobiography, Friends not masters: A Political Autobiography, stated that there were those in West Pakistan who considered their culture to be superior to that of East Pakistan.
    Again an easily avoided mistake that was made which helped in kindling feelings of resentment. It was little mistakes like this that led to the feeling of deprivation amongst the Bengali brothers.

    East Pakistanis complained that, although they were a majority in the constituent assembly, Prime ministers and Governor Generals were nearly always from West Pakistan. Although they were part of the system they were not represented properly. Akin to being given paltry meaningless seats which was the way of the British Raj, West Pakistan kept major power with them. This lead to the feeling of living under an oppressor rather than under a friendly Government.

    Economic disparity grew as the nation grew older. West Pakistan was taking advantage of all the development funds and the Budget was tilted in favor of the West Pakistan.

    The Bengalis believed that the earning from their trade in Jute was also mostly spent in West Pakistan which was true in most senses. This became visible by time as Bengalis got poorer by time and West Pakistan took advantage of all the development.
    Again the same level of incompetence applied which thrived on the greed of the leaders and the mismanagement of funds to develop places where they stayed.

    Mujib-ur-rehman presented Six point which were the basis of correcting in his eyes the injustices and moving forward as a collective nation. A serious debate and compromise on these six points was one of those things, that could have saved East Pakistan but alas the leaders worked without visions and threats.

    Following on 1970 election results, Awami league should have been allowed to form a government, as they were in the majority. Hence,not allowing them simply gave proof of what Bengalis had long felt and it led to further rise in tensions.

    Outside interference of Indian forces towards destabilizing the area and fermenting feelings of hate were one of the causes which should have been dealt with early on. The borders should have been closely monitored and espionage as well rebel camps should not have been so easily formed. There were serious intelligence gaps which lead to such things going unnoticed




    Conclusion

    There should be an equal base for all people to prosper. To differentiate on the basis of any system is discrimination, and to expect progress to be beneficial needs growth on all sides. An economy which is strong on paper is useless until the benefit reaches all the people. The right to worship or the right to independent thinking needs to be protected and society needs to grow to accept every culture, every caste and every view point according to our constitution.
    To think on the lines of provinces, or to think one is better than another, or to somehow believe that the provincial identity is who one is something that can only lead to ruin.
    The basis of brotherhood and unity is something that needs to grow in society and it will only grow when there is a real will to unite. The biggest dilemma of ours even now is to identify according to castes or localities and to forget right or wrong.
    We cannot trust India, nor can we expect any good to come out of their side towards any peaceful resolution. The man who forgets history is doomed to repeat it. Indians are our enemies, they are always finding weaknesses to exploit us, while showing a peaceful exterior at all times. They are a country with a devious, anti Pakistani government and military and they will try in all instances to break up in any way possible. Even the issues of East Pakistan were given fire by India, and now we see India trying the same in Baluchistan.
    Pakistan needs to clarify her policy towards India and adopt similar tit-for-tat strategy since Indian intentions are clear towards Pakistan. A strong response needs to be developed and Pakistan must encounter Indian strategy before it is too late.

    Regards

    The Pakistan Defence team
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Credits:

    Concept:

    Wajsal, Slav Defence and Gufi

    Authors:

    Wajsal and Gufi see point [A till I] & Conclusion

    Editing & Proof reading:

    Slav Defence see [J] and rest

    Main Author:

    Wajsal
     
  2. Slav Defence

    Slav Defence THINK TANK VICE CHAIRMAN: ANALYST

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    Last edited: Jun 30, 2015
  3. WAJsal

    WAJsal MODERATOR

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  4. syedali73

    syedali73 ELITE MEMBER

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    Excellent piece of work. Some bits and pieces are missing though. Agartala conspiracy case needed to be included. Intelligence was aware of Mujeeb's ulterior motives but the government did not have balls to do the right thing at the right time. Releasing Mujeeb on bail was a huge mistake. Pakistan could have used him for bargaining but after releasing him, we lost that edge and rest is history.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2015
  5. surya kiran

    surya kiran SENIOR MEMBER

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    Why is there no mention of the systematic killing of Bengali intellectuals by the supporters of the unified Pakistani state? Is that not a cause too? And what happened to Operation Searchlight? If you really want to do a piece of writing, why not state that too?
     
  6. SarthakGanguly

    SarthakGanguly BANNED

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    Good. Straight, honest and to the point. But India does not want to destroy Pakistan or even take its lands. We are fine with a buffer to our West. From the Central Asia and the middle east.

    Mujeeb was one among many. Without him, there were many who would have filled his place. As Agha Amin recalled...as a Bengali officer stated that there was enough Hindu blood flowing in their veins...
     
  7. Irfan Baloch

    Irfan Baloch SENIOR MODERATOR

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    thanks I will read it and comment but mostly I will be dealing with trolls as well

    blackmailing of ZA Bhutto and President Yahya's Dhaka visit cancellation also didnt help either.
     
  8. WAJsal

    WAJsal MODERATOR

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    Hard to believe sir, as much as i want and love peace. It is a known fact that India has worked tirelessly to damage Pakistan, in anyway it can. Hard truth. 1971 being prime example , even to this date in Baluchistan, FATA. Supporting and arming militants. One can only remain optimistic that relations between Pakistan and India normalize.
    Have a nice day.
     
  9. syedali73

    syedali73 ELITE MEMBER

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    Not at all but picking up arms and colluding with Bharat was not the answer to sheer stupidities of East Pakistani politicians and drunkard Generals either. Election or no election, allowing Mujeeb to become PM or not, he (and other Bengali leaders) had decided years ago to part ways from West Pakistan and was diligently working on the creation of Bangladesh. His infamous and illogical six points are but the testament to this fact. There was a reason after all why he was tried in Agartala conspiracy case.
     
  10. WAJsal

    WAJsal MODERATOR

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    I don't agree, if he was allowed to form a government (which in every sense of the world a right thing to do), situation would be much different now. All this conflict and loss of life easily avoidable. That being said many mistakes to learn from, shame that we still haven't.
     
  11. syedali73

    syedali73 ELITE MEMBER

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    Suit yourself. Bengali nationalism was (still is) stronger than your wildest dreams. They were (still are) dreaming of a greater Bengal right from the time of the British occupation of India and Souharwardi did his best but failed by the Hindu Bengali leaders. They joined West Pakistan as a last resort and not as the first option. Problem is (also with your write-up) that your analysis of problem begins post 1970 elections whereas Mujeeb's 6 points pre-date 1970 general elections. He presented 6 point formula in 1966, yes, at-least 4 years before 1971 elections. Go through the 6 point and try to understand what they suggest. They are nothing but a clear proposal of cession of East from West Pakistan.
     
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  12. Irfan Baloch

    Irfan Baloch SENIOR MODERATOR

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    I agree with you both to some extent.
    what Mujeeb did was not excusable. now it is said that Indians had been grooming him long ago. I pointed out the missing Hammod Rehman report (as if it would have told us what we dont know), the Agar Tala conspiracy and the role of ZA Bhutto .our every single act actually favoured the Indians who made the final move ultimately when east Pakistan was ripe for the taking.

    interesting
     
  13. VCheng

    VCheng ELITE MEMBER

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  14. WAJsal

    WAJsal MODERATOR

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    We were thinking of adding that part. We came to the conclusion that it was best to let the readers figure out the lessons, especially after reading the reasons for separation.
     
  15. Echo_419

    Echo_419 ELITE MEMBER

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    Agreed we don't want Pakistani lands