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The Birth Of A Nation

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The Birth Of A Nation

How Pakistan suppressed Bangladeshis before Independence and enforced India into 1971 war.

India won a glorious victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war. It was the first significant victory in a major war in centuries. India won the war singlehandedly against Pakistan. All Indian should felt proud of this splendid victory over Pakistan in the years coming ahead.

After independence Pakistan comprised with its two parts West Pakistan and East Pakistan (presently Bangladesh 1600 kms away from West Pakistan). Pakistan’s then President and General Yahya Khan announced general election by constituting legal framework for general election and declared that National Assembly will be finalized and constituted within 120 days. As per declaration General Election was held on December 6, 1971 in both parts of West Pakistan and East Pakistan. In that election Seikh Mujibur Rahaman leader of Awami League in East Pakistan told his all party men to file election nomination paper for the General Election coming ahead. Seikh Mujibur Rahaman declared election manifesto on six points with focusing on Government of Bengalis. On the other hand Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, leader of Pakistan People Party told his party men to file nomination for the General Election.

The Election held throughout both parts of Pakistan. In East Pakistan maximum numbers of voters casted their vote in a festive mood. When result came out it was found that among 313 seats, Seikh Mujibur Rahman’s Awami League registered victory over 167 seats out of 169 seats of East Pakistan whereas Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan People Party registered victory merely over 81 seats out of 138 seats of West Pakistan. So, it was clear from the victory margin that Seikh Mujibar Rahman’s Awami League of East Pakistan had got absolute majority in the General Election 1971 of Pakistan upon which they deserve the call to form the new Government designating Mujibur Rahaman as Prime minister of Pakistan.

The Awami League’s election success caused many West Pakistanis to fear that it would allow the Bengalis of East Pakistan to draft the constitution based on the six-points and liberalism. On the other hand leaders of West Pakistan assumed that now Bengalis will rule the whole Pakistan which is a matter of dignity for the leaders of West Pakistan. By heart leaders of West Pakistan did not recognised this election victory over the people of East Pakistan. So, Butto who was backed by the Pakistan Army, claimed parity with Mujib saying he was the sole representative of the people of West Pakistan.

To resolve the crisis, the Ahsan–Yaqub Mission was formed to provide insightful recommendations and its finding was met with favourable reviews from the Awami League, the Pakistan People’s Party, and the Pakistan Muslim League as well as from the President Yahya Khan.

But the mission was unsuccessful and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the chairman of Pakistan People Party denied the candidature of Sheikh Mujibar Rahaman, leader of East Pakistan as prime minister of Pakistan. Resulting which the Awami League called for general strike in East Pakistan. Violence erupted in the course of the general strike throughout East Pakistan against West Pakistan. Strike mobs targeted Bihari community mainly in Dhaka and Chittagong cities of East Pakistan those had supported West Pakistan. Government of Pakistan deployed military on March 25, 1971 to salvage Bihari community from being slaughtered. Pakistani military led by Tikka Khan started devastating repression on the people of East Pakistanis followed by arrest, murder and shoot at site etc. Many Awami League leaders, intellectuals took shelter in Eastern part of India. Awami League Leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahaman was arrested on March 25, 1971 night and was taken to West Pakistan. During the period Pakistani military killed at least 26,000 Bengali people of East Pakistan as per source of Hamoodur Rahaman Commission. But later Bangladesh claimed that more than 3,000,000 people were killed by brutal campaign of rape, murder and embezzle. More than 10 million refugees fled to India.

In these circumstances the Indian leadership decided not to intervene directly in East Pakistan’s war like situation but started assistance to Bengali resistance by opening East Pakistan Border. Indian’s Eastern military commandant took responsibility to offer limited assistance by providing recruitment, training and arm equipment to Mukti Bahini (Guerrilla warfare solders of East Pakistan) fighters on May 15, 1971 to fight against Pakistani military. But on December 3, 1971 Pakistani air force launched a pre-emptive air strike on eleven air-fields in India on around 5:40 pm and India government declared full fledged war against Pakistan. India defeated Pakistan in that war. General A. A. K. Niazi of the Pakistan Army surrenders to Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora with 93,000 Pakistani soldiers on December 16, 1971 and Bangladesh gets its freedom from Pakistan.

To be continued…

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