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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Look Back at 1971 Fall of Dhaka, relevance very much even today.

(Above Image from December 16, 1971, when the Pakistan Army Surrendered to the Invading Indian army and the instrument of surrender being signed)

In March of this year, I penned a blog about the events of the 1971 and its significance to the history of Pakistan. For those who have not read my previous blog or are unfamiliar with what events transpired in 1971, it was the year Pakistan split into two with the Eastern half more popularly known as East Pakistan parting ways to become a newly established nation state of Bangladesh. December 16th is the year that most Bangladeshi's celebrate 'Liberation Day', while most people in Pakistan choose to conveniently ignore the date and its historical significance due to very obvious reasons, their are a few who remember it as a day of great shame and a great national tragedy , for those who witnessed the events of 71 before their eyes, the memories of that December are painful and tragic. For those few 'The Fall of Dhaka' is seen as the moment when their world came to an end, in pretty much a similar manner to how some French mourn the loss of Algeria, as like East Pakistan Algeria was part of Greater French Territory and not one of its colonial possessions. Another thing that Algeria had in common with East Pakistan was that it was not a continuous territory of France and was separated from the mainland by the Mediterranean sea. One difference here though was that East Pakistan was surrounded on almost all sides by India, and at the time of the 1971 India Pakistan war, there was a very hostile Anti Pakistan government sitting in New Delhi headed by the then Prime Minister Indra Gandhi.

In my previous blog, I highlighted briefly that there are other sides to the story of what happened in 1971 and touched upon some elements such as the international media propaganda against Pakistan such as the concert in New York and I also high lighted on the massive genocide committed against Non Bengali's in the province. I will be continuing where I left off in my previous blog and I could not think of a better timing to pen this one then this December, as the events of 1971 have been very heavily in the news on international media and social media, courtesy of the hanging of a veteran politician from Jamat e Islami Bangladesh. I do not have the highest level of regard or respect for the Jamat e Islami, be it in Pakistan or their brethren in Bangladesh, nor do I know the individual sentenced recently was actually guilty of War Crimes or not, but with the Bangladeshi elections around the corner one can't help but think this is a political stunt in an attempt by the ruling Awami League to obtain re election, now that they have managed to dissolve the concept of a caretaker government, it seems ever more likely. It has also reflected and exposed the deep polarization and divide both politically, socially and culturally that exists within Bangladeshi society, especially between the socially and politically active secularists and the religious conservative which in a Muslim majority country still make up a sizable figure.

Pakistan has managed to keep itself in the news with respect to Bangladesh once again, by passing a resolution in the National Assembly condemning the execution of the Jammat leader for which even the foreign office of Bangladesh protested, and Bangladeshi journalists have resumed calls for an official Pakistani apology even accusing Pakistan of cowardly behavior. I would say it is unfortunate that we in Pakistan on the other hand have a Very Anti State media that keeps insisting on demonizing their own state apparatus unlike media outlets in other countries that do not compromise on nationalism and national interests. This is also relevance in the coverage that some media channels give to mark the Fall of Dhaka every year on December 16th. The narrative that they keep trying to communicate to the people of Pakistan is that their military and political establishment is inherently unconditionally evil, it is the worst thing to ever happen to Pakistan and it is the biggest enemy of the citizens of this state, and it is very obvious from the apparent war crimes they committed in 1971.

Not for a moment am I discounting or dismissing that war crimes were not committed by the Pakistan armed forces, what I am questioning is why is only the Pakistan army accused of committing War Crimes and acts of genocide in the 1971 war? The Bengali nationalists and their militant wing the Mukhti Bahini is guilty of treason and of committing massive war crimes against people in the then province of East Pakistan, they were responsible for not only attacks on an army which was their army, and their police, but also the tens of thousands of Non Bengali's they butchered, and if one is to believe the methods used mentioned by Sarmila Bose in her book, a Nazi style industrial mass killing mechanism was adopted by these nationalist militants. Not to mention the thousands killed by the 'Invading' Indian army that invaded by crossing the border from all sides after pretending to give a shit about what is happening in Muslim Bengal. Contrary to popular belief the Pakistani army was not an occupying army, it was the people's army going about its business in what was a province of their own country, even they were caught unprepared for what was about to unleash upon them, for the hell that was about the break loose on the streets and villages of East Pakistan, they as well as people in Pakistan did not know what was coming their way, something that would pull the earth beneath their feet and forever change history. 

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