Yesterday's unfortunate and untimely tragedy in Peshawar has put the nation in a state of mourning, as armed gun men stormed a military owned public school and massacred over a 100 school children along with about 10 of their teachers and faculty members. December the 16th which was already a very dark day in the nation's history has become even darker courtesy of the events in Peshawar, we now have two tragedies with which to remember the date in the calender.
The original tragedy of 1971 is of course the Fall of Dhaka, which happened on December the 16th in 1971, which is when the Pakistan army under the leadership of General Niazi had surrendered to the invading Indian army in Dhaka and the new nation state of Bangladesh was born. Most media and most historians who have written or covered the events of 1971 have taken a one sided approach to the whole debacle that lead to the fall of East Pakistan. Very conveniently all the blame is directly or indirectly shifted towards the Pakistani state establishment and the Pakistan army as opposed to even remotely entertaining what else really did happen, I repeat what else really did happen? A national disaster of this magnitude can not solely be blamed one just one stake holder, in this case Pakistan.
Not taking away the blame from the Pakistani establishment for where they stand guilty, there is a lot that today's Pakistani's do not know about what happened in 71 and the years immediately preceding. The clock for the events of 1971 were set in motion back in the 60's and thorough planning for the dismembering of Pakistan was being planned not only in the cities of East Pakistan but also across India. Now to some I might sound like a conspiracy theorist nut like Zaid Hamid, I personally do not believe in conspiracy theories rather circumstantial evidences surrounding events, and other little facts conveniently buried under the rug.
People who think there was no Indian conspiracy to dismember Pakistan, let me tell you this, all of India along with all those involved in the war directly or indirectly proudly celebrate their master stroke of genius, how their years in the making plan helped them successfully break Pakistan apart that winter in 1971. Their years of hard work, propaganda, intelligence work and a swift timely unprovoked military attack sealed the deal.
Somethings that need to be brought to the attention of the people are....
India invaded East Pakistan from all corners, what was initially believed to be just border skirmishes transformed into a full fledged invasion by the Indian army against a small force of Pakistani soldiers. Total number of POW's were 93000, but those included West Pakistani police, civil servants as well as some prominent civilians from Dhaka, according to some estimates the actual number of armed combat ready Pakistani troops were 60,000. If the Pakistani army was expecting a full fledged invasion by India, they would have been better equipped, better prepared. India had also blocked its air space to Pakistan, so timely deployment of more troops was not possible either, not to mention the creation of the Mukhti Bahini by the Indian establishment to which they acknowledge to this very day. This is in addition to the tens of thousands of ethnic Bengali soldiers of the Pakistan army, belonging to the East Pakistan Rifles and the East Bengal Regiment that revolted against their own senior officers and butchered their fellow country men. 60,000 soldiers could not have massacred 3 million Bengali's and raped over 300,000 men. How do we know for sure that some of the war crimes were not committed by Bengali's (in or out of uniform) or by Indians that infiltrated East Pakistan.
Propaganda also played a significant role in tarnishing the image of the Pakistani community internationally by the Indian establishment and their allies, including those inside East Pakistan. Over night almost the propaganda was spread in East Pakistan that their own army is a foreign occupying force off aliens taking over the country, until Dec 16, 1971, East Pakistan was just another province of Pakistan and the army was in reality just fulfilling its active duties in what was a province of their own country. This propaganda was very similar in nature to the one's done by the Americans under the leadership of Washington and Franklin in reference to the British Army, the former having served militarily. Just like East Pakistan, the 13 colonies of America were just another white settler British colony.
Bangladesh did not exist till Dec 16, 1971, then how do u explain a concert for Bangladesh happening in New York lead by George Harrison and Ravi Shanker many months before even the India Pakistan war of 71 began, while the Pakistani civil war was going on. Speaking of which no one ever refers to the events of 71 as Pakistan's Civil war, why is that? Or why is there a Government of Free Bangladesh in exile in Calcutta as early as 1970? Why as early as 1969-70 because of civil unrest visiting sporting teams had refused to play in East Pakistan. George Osborne in his book History of Pakistan cricket has reported that New Zealand were the last team to play a test match against Pakistan in Dhaka, after which all visiting teams had to meet agitation and pitch invasion courtesy of Dhaka University students, some of whom openly intimidated their fellow Pakistani's from the Western Wing with taunts that soon they will need a visa to set foot in Bengal. Speaking of Dhaka University students, let's not forget the intense efforts put in by the Awami League's student wings at universities across East Pakistan against the state of Pakistan and openly calling for secession. Doesn't show their intent to begin with?
The plan was set in motion in the 60's following the Agartala plot. Mujib's close confidants still alive today some of whom have served in the Bangladeshi parliament have confessed to the reality of the Agartala plot and that Awami leaguers were actively meeting with Raw agents as well as Indian politicians from Delhi to execute the plan. Treason was being committed and the courts had acquitted the traitors. Imagine if the courts had sentenced them to a hanging and had India not intervened in our domestic politics and internal affairs, just imagine. Separation with Bengal was inevitable but the hundreds of thousands of causalities of war could have been prevented, the needless civil war and blood path could have been prevented.
I will soon write a blog on the human stories from the survivors of 71 that I have had the pleasure of meeting, for now I leave my readers with some questions they need to think about and just some food for thought, just to entertain other narratives and stories behind the fall of Dhaka.