Pakistan India War of
commenced the most tragic year of our history. Failing to resolve a political
problem by political means, a Martial Law regime, manipulated by some
megalomaniac politicians, resorted to military action in East Pakistan on night
25/26 March. Widespread insurgency broke out. Personnel of two infantry
divisions and Civil Armed Forces with weapons were airlifted in Pakistan
International Airlines planes, over-flying about 5000 miles non stop via Sri Lanka
in the first week of April 1971 – the longest operational air move by Pakistan
Army. By May near normalcy had been restored, thanks to the fast reaction,
dedication and cool courage of our soldiers, sailors and airmen operating in a
hostile environment under adverse climatic and terrain conditions, without
adequate logistics and medical support. India's immoral covert armed
intervention having failed, by October it had concentrated four times our
strength in over 12 divisions (400,000) supported by five regiments of tanks,
and about 50,000 activists trained and equipped by Indian Army. Indian Navy's
one aircraft carrier, eight destroyers/frigates, two submarines and three
landing crafts, against our four gunboats, eight Chinese coasters and two
landing craft supported them. Eleven Indian Air Force squadrons – 4 Hunter, 1
SU-7, 3 Gnat and 3 MiG 21 – from five airfields around East Pakistan faced our
one valiant Number 14 squadron of F-86F Sabres based on a single airfield
around Dhaka .
On 21 November,
Eid day, when our fatigued soldiers had been operating in the most hostile
environment for almost ten months, including a month of fasting, the Indian
army felt emboldened enough to launch a full scale invasion at over twenty
fronts in the east, west and north of East Pakistan . Divisions attacked our
brigade positions; brigades attacked our battalion, company and platoon
positions, supported by their armour, artillery and lair force. When most of
our defensive positions, rooted to the ground, could not be overrun, Indian
forces after suffering heavy casualties resorted to outflanking moves. The
aggressors could not capture, till the cease-fire; on 16 December, a single town
except Jessore, which was not defended for strategic reasons. For the Pakistani
soldiers this was their finest hour, fighting against heavy odds with their
backs to the wall inflicting heavy casualties, bloodied but unbowed” when an
Indian commander, through a messenger asked for our Jamalpur battalion to
surrender, encircled by two brigades, the commanding officer, Lieutenant
Colonel Sultan Ahmad, Sitara-i-Juraat of 31 Baloch replied in a message wrapped
around a bullet which read, “I want to tell you that the fighting you have seen
so far is very little; in fact the fighting has not even started. So let us
stop negotiating and start the fight.” Similarly 4 Frontier Force under 205
Brigade (Brigadier Tajammul Malik) held out at Hilli for l19 days against 6
battalions, inflicting heavy casualties, till withdrawal on 11 December, after
getting outflanked. Similar hard fought actions took place at Bahaduria and
elsewhere by Punjab, Baloch, Frontier Force and Azad Kashmir units all arms and
services, and Civil Armed Forces including West Pakistan
Rangers and police units. 107 Brigades (Brigadier Mohammad Hayat,
Sitara-i-Juraat) held at bay a division of 5 brigades and 2 armour regiments at
inflicting heavy casualties till 17 December and ceased fighting only after
repeated orders of our Eastern Command.
On the West
Pakistan front, on 3 December 1971 , India attacked with the main effort
against Shakargarh sector with three infantry divisions supported by three
armoured brigades against our 8 Division front, operating under our 1 Corps
(Commander Lieutenant General Irshad Ahmad Khan). The attack was halted in the
tracks, inflicting heavy casualties. 8 (Independent) Armoured Brigade
(Brigadier Mohammad Ahmed, Sitara-i-Juraat) effectively blocked and destroyed
enemy penetration our minefield and saved Zafarwal from being outflanked by
enemy armour. In Jammu and Kashmir , Chhamb, Lahore , Kasur, Sulemanki and Rajasthan sectors, war was
carried into Indian territory , with success
at some points, not so successfully at others due to inadequate forces and air
support. For the Pakistan
Army, Navy and Air Force this conflict was their finest hour. Fighting against
overwhelming odds in both wings of the country raged with full fury. Before our
counter offensive could be launched in West
Pakistan , India
asked for cease-fire in the United Nations. The Ghazis and Shaheeds proved in
their supreme hour of trial all the military virtues of Faith, Honour, Valour,
Fortitude, Endurance, Loyalty, Group Cohesion and Unlimited Liability, and
above all, the spirit of Jehad.
On 4 December 1971
, the United States moved a draft resolution calling for cease-fire and
withdrawal of Indian forces, which was vetoed by Union of Soviet Socialist
another six resolutions including one by China
were introduced calling for cease-fire and withdrawal of forces, some of which
were accepted by Pakistan.
However, due to behind the scene political machinations by India and her allies
their passage and implementation was stalled till Dhaka fell on 16 December
1971 and the cease-fire had been perfidiously converted to surrender.” I took a
careful look at the documents and was aghast to see the heading – which read
Instrument of ‘Surrender'……” writes Lieutenant General J.F.R.Jacob, Chief of
Staff, Indian, Eastern Army. (Lieutenant General J.F.R.Jacob, “Surrender at Dacca : Birth of a
and operational strategy proved to; be disastrous for Pakistan , both
politically and militarily. Power, national and operational strategy, the
methodology of crisis and conflict management, and higher direction of war in
which we had been found wanting in 1971.
Pakistan India War of
War of 1971 was a military conflict between India
Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war
to be Operation Chengiz Khan, Pakistan's December 3, 1971 pre-emptive strike on
11 Indian airbases. Lasting just 13 days it is considered one of the shortest
wars in history.
During the course of the war, Indian and Pakistani forces clashed on the
eastern and western fronts. The war effectively came to an end after the
Eastern Command of the Pakistani Armed Forces signed the Instrument of
Surrender, the first and perhaps the only public surrender till date , on
December 16, 1971 following which East Pakistan seceded as the independent state
Around 97,368 West Pakistanis who were in East Pakistan at the time of its independence, including some 79,700 Pakistan Army soldiers and paramilitary
personnel and 12,500 civilians, were taken as prisoners of war by India.
The Indo-Pakistani conflict was sparked by the Bangladesh Liberation war, a
conflict between the traditionally dominant West Pakistanis and the majority
East Pakistanis. The Bangladesh Liberation war ignited after the 1970 Pakistani
election, in which the East Pakistani Awami League won 167 of 169 seats in East
Pakistan and secured a simple majority in the 313-seat lower house of the
Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament of Pakistan). Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur
Rahman presented the Six Points to the President of Pakistan and claimed the right to
form the government. After the leader of the Pakistan
Peoples Party, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, refused to yield the premiership of Pakistan to
Mujibur, President Yahya Khan called the military, dominated by West Pakistanis
to suppress dissent.
Mass arrests of dissidents began, and attempts were made to disarm East
Pakistani soldiers and police. After several days of strikes and
non-cooperation movements, the Pakistani military cracked down on Dhaka on the night of 25 March 1971. The Awami League was
banished, and many members fled into exile in India. Mujib was arrested on the
night of 25–26 March 1971 at about 1:30 a.m. (as per Radio Pakistan’s news on 29 March 1971) and taken to West Pakistan.
On 27 March 1971, Ziaur Rahman, a rebellious major in the Pakistani army,
declared the independence of Bangladesh on
behalf of Mujibur. In April, exiled Awami League leaders formed a
government-in-exile in Baidyanathtala of Meherpur. The East
Pakistan Rifles, a paramilitary force, defected to the rebellion.
A guerrilla troop of civilians, the Mukti Bahini, was formed to help the Bangladesh
The Pakistan army conducted
a widespread genocide against the Bengali population of East Pakistan, aimed in
particular at the minority Hindu population, leading to approximately 10
million people fleeing East Pakistan and
taking refuge in the neighboring Indian states. The East Pakistan-India border
was opened to allow refugees safe shelter in India. The governments of West
Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura
established refugee camps along the border. The resulting flood of impoverished
East Pakistani refugees placed an intolerable strain on India's already overburdened
General Tikka Khan earned the nickname 'Butcher of Bengal'
due to the widespread atrocities he committed. General Niazi commenting on his
actions noted 'On the night between 25/26 March 1971 General Tikka struck.
Peaceful night was turned into a time of wailing, crying and burning. General
Tikka let loose everything at his disposal as if raiding an enemy, not dealing
with his own misguided and misled people. The military action was a display of
stark cruelty more merciless than the massacres at Bukhara
and Baghdad by
Chengiz Khan and Halaku Khan... General Tikka... resorted to the killing of
civilians and a scorched earth policy. His orders to his troops were: 'I want
the land not the people...' Major General Farman had written in his table
diary, "Green land of East Pakistan
will be painted red". It was painted red by Bengali blood.'
The national Indian government repeatedly appealed to the international
community, but failing to elicit any response, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
on 27 March 1971 expressed full support of her government for the independence struggle of the people of East
Pakistan. The Indian leadership under Prime Minister Gandhi
quickly decided that it was more effective to end the genocide by taking armed
action against Pakistan than to simply give refuge to those who made it across
to refugee camps. Exiled East Pakistan army officers and members of the
Indian Intelligence immediately started using these camps for recruitment and
training of Mukti Bahini guerrillas.
engagement with Pakistan.
By November, war seemed inevitable; a massive buildup of Indian forces on the
border with East Pakistan had begun. The
Indian military waited for winter, when the drier ground would make for easier
operations and Himalayan passes would be closed by snow, preventing any Chinese
intervention. On 23 November, Yahya Khan declared a state of emergency
in all of Pakistan
and told his people to prepare for war.
On the evening of 3 December Sunday, at about 5:40 p.m., the Pakistani Air
Force (PAF) launched a pre-emptive strike on eleven airfields in north-western India, including Agra which was 300 miles (480 km) from the
border. During this attack the Taj Mahal was camouflaged with a forest of twigs and leaves and draped with burlap
because its marble glowed like a white beacon in the moonlight.
This preemptive strike known as Operation Chengiz Khan, was inspired by the
success of Israeli Operation Focus in the Arab-Israeli Six Day War. But, unlike
the Israeli attack on Arab airbases in 1967 which involved a large number of
Israeli planes, Pakistan
flew no more than 50 planes to India
and failed to inflict the intended damage. As a result, the Indian runways were
cratered and rendered non-functional for several hours after the attack.
In an address to the nation on radio that same evening, Prime Minister Indira
Gandhi held that the air strikes were a declaration of war against India and
the Indian Air Force responded with initial air strikes that very night. These
air strikes were expanded to massive retaliatory air strikes the next morning
and there after.
This marked the official start of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Prime
Minister Indira Gandhi ordered the immediate mobilization of troops and launched
the full-scale invasion. This involved Indian forces in a massive coordinated
air, sea, and land assault. Indian Air Force started flying sorties against Pakistan from
midnight and quickly achieved air superiority. The main Indian objective on the
western front was to prevent Pakistan
from entering Indian soil. There was no Indian intention of conducting any
major offensive into West Pakistan.
In the western theatre of the war, the Indian Navy, under the command of Vice
Admiral Kohli, achieved success by attacking Karachi's port in the code-named
Operation Trident on the night of 4–5 December, which resulted in the sinking
of the Pakistani destroyer PNS Khyber and a minesweeper PNS Muhafiz; PNS
Shajehan was badly damaged. This resulted in tactical Indian success: 720
Pakistani sailors were killed or wounded, and Pakistan
lost reserve fuel and many commercial ships, thus crippling the Pakistan Navy's
further involvement in the conflict. Operation Python followed Operation
Trident which was on the night of 8–9 December, in which Indian rocket-armed
motor torpedo boats attacked the Karachi Roads
that resulted in further destruction of reserve fuel tanks, and in the sinking
of three Pakistani commercial ships in Karachi Harbour.
In the eastern theatre of the war, the Indian Eastern Naval Command, under Vice
Admiral Krishnan, completely isolated East Pakistan by establishing a naval
blockade in the Bay of Bengal, trapping the
Eastern Pakistani Navy and eight foreign merchant ships in their ports. From 4
December onwards, the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant was deployed in which its
Sea Hawk fighter-bombers attacked many coastal towns in East Pakistan including
Cox's Bazaar. Pakistan
responded by sending the submarine PNS Ghazi to negate the threat. Indian
Eastern Naval Command laid a trap to sink the submarine and Indian Navy
destroyer INS Rajput sank Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi through depth charges
off Vishakapatnam's coast reducing Pakistan's control of Bangladeshi
coastline . But on 9 December, the Indian Navy suffered its biggest wartime
loss when the Pakistani submarine PNS Hangor sank the frigate INS Khukri in the
Arabian Sea resulting in a loss of 18 officers
and 176 sailors.
The damage inflicted on the Pakistani Navy stood at 7 gunboats, 1 minesweeper,
1 submarine, 2 destroyers, 3 patrol crafts belonging to the coast guard, 18
cargo, supply and communication vessels, and large scale damage inflicted on
the naval base and docks in the coastal town of Karachi. Three merchant navy
ships - Anwar Baksh, Pasni and Madhumathi -  and ten smaller vessels were
captured. Around 1900 personnel were lost, while 1413 servicemen were captured
by Indian forces in Dhaka. According to one Pakistan scholar, Tariq Ali, the Pakistan Navy
lost a third of its force in the war.
After the initial preemptive strike, PAF adopted a defensive stance in response
to the Indian retaliation. As the war progressed, the Indian Air Force
continued to battle the PAF over conflict zones, but the number of sorties
flown by the PAF gradually decreased day-by-day. The Indian Air Force flew
4,000 sorties while its counterpart, the PAF offered little in retaliation,
partly because of the paucity of non-Bengali technical personnel. This lack of
retaliation has also been attributed to the deliberate decision of the PAF High
Command to cut its losses as it had already incurred huge losses in the
conflict. The PAF also did not intervene during the Indian Navy's raid on Pakistani naval port city of
In the east, the small air contingent of Pakistan Air Force No. 14 Sqn was
destroyed, putting the Dhaka airfield out of
commission and resulting in Indian air superiority in the east.
Pakistan attacked at several
places along India's western
border with Pakistan,
but the Indian army successfully held their positions. The Indian Army quickly
responded to the Pakistan Army's movements in the west and made some initial
gains, including capturing around 5,500 square miles (14,000 km2) of Pakistan
territory (land gained by India in Pakistani Kashmir, Pakistani Punjab and
Sindh sectors was later ceded in the Simla Agreement of 1972, as a gesture of
On the eastern front, the Indian Army joined forces with the Mukti Bahini to
form the Mitro Bahini ("Allied Forces"); Unlike the 1965 war which
had emphasized set-piece battles and slow advances, this time the strategy
adopted was a swift, three-pronged assault of nine infantry divisions with
attached armored units and close air support that rapidly converged on Dhaka,
the capital of East Pakistan.
Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, who
commanded the eighth, twenty-third, and fifty-seventh divisions, led the Indian
thrust into East Pakistan. As these forces
attacked Pakistani formations, the Indian Air Force rapidly destroyed the small
air contingent in East Pakistan and put the Dhaka
airfield out of commission. In the meantime, the Indian Navy effectively
blockaded East Pakistan.
The Indian campaign employed "blitzkrieg" techniques, exploiting
weakness in the enemy's positions and bypassing opposition, and resulted in a
swift victory. Faced with insurmountable losses, the Pakistani military
capitulated in less than a fortnight. On 16 December, the Pakistani forces
stationed in East Pakistan surrendered.
of Pakistani forces in East Pakistan.
The Instrument of Surrender of Pakistani forces stationed in East Pakistan was
signed at Ramna Race Course in Dhaka at 16.31 IST on 16 December 1971, by
Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, General Officer Commanding-in-chief of
Eastern Command of the Indian Army and Lieutenant General A. A. K. Niazi,
Commander of Pakistani forces in East Pakistan. As Aurora accepted the surrender, the
surrounding crowds on the race course began shouting anti-Niazi and
took approximately 90,000 prisoners of war, including Pakistani soldiers and
their East Pakistani civilian supporters. 79,676 prisoners were uniformed
personnel, of which 55,692 were Army, 16,354 Paramilitary, 5,296 Police, 1000
Navy and 800 PAF. The remaining prisoners were civilians - either family
members of the military personnel or collaborators (razakars). The Hamoodur
Rahman Commission report instituted by Pakistan lists the Pakistani POWs
Number of captured Pakistani POWs.
The United States supported Pakistan
both politically and materially. President Richard Nixon and his Secretary of
State Henry Kissinger feared Soviet expansion into South and Southeast
Asia. Pakistan was a close ally of the People's Republic of China, with
whom Nixon had been negotiating a rapprochement and where he intended to visit
in February 1972. Nixon feared that an Indian invasion of West Pakistan would
mean total Soviet domination of the region, and that it would seriously
undermine the global position of the United States and the regional position of
America's new tacit ally, China.
In order to demonstrate to China the bona fides of the United States as an
ally, and in direct violation of the US Congress-imposed sanctions on Pakistan,
Nixon sent military supplies to Pakistan, routing them through Jordan and
Iran, while also encouraging China to increase its arms supplies to
Pakistan. The Nixon administration also ignored reports it received of the
"genocidal" activities of the Pakistani Army in East
Pakistan, most notably the Blood telegram. This prompted
widespread criticism and condemnation both by Congress and in the international
When Pakistan's defeat in
the eastern sector seemed certain, Nixon ordered the USS Enterprise into the Bay of Bengal. The Enterprise
arrived on station on 11 December 1971. It has been documented that Nixon even
persuaded Iran and Jordan to send their F-86, F-104 and F-5 fighter jets in aid
of Pakistan. On 6 December and 13 December, the Soviet Navy dispatched two
groups of ships and a submarine, armed with nuclear missiles, from Vladivostok;
they trailed U.S. Task Force 74 into the Indian Ocean from 18 December 1971
until 7 January 1972. The Soviets also had a nuclear submarine to help ward off
the threat posed by USS Enterprise task force in the Indian
The Soviet Union sympathized with the Bangladeshis, and supported the Indian
Army and Mukti Bahini during the war, recognizing that the independence
of Bangladesh would weaken
the position of its rivals—the United States and China. The USSR gave assurances to India that if a confrontation with the United
States or China
developed, it would take counter-measures. This assurance was enshrined in the
Indo-Soviet friendship treaty signed in August 1971.
For Pakistan it was a
complete and humiliating defeat, a psychological setback that came from a
defeat at the hands of intense rival India. Pakistan
lost half its territory, significant portion of its economy and its
geo-political role in South Asia. Pakistan
feared that the two-nation theory was disproved and that the Islamic ideology
had proved insufficient to keep Bengalis part of Pakistan. Also, the Pakistani
military suffered further humiliation by having their 90,000 prisoners of war
(POWs) released by India
only after the negotiation and signing of the Simla Agreement on July 2, 1972.
In addition to repatriation of prisoners of war also, the agreeement
established an ongoing structure for the negotiated resolution of future
conflicts between India and Pakistan (referring to the remaining western
provinces that now composed the totality of Pakistan). In signing the agreement,
Pakistan also, by
implication, recognized the former East Pakistan as the now independent and sovereign state
The Pakistani people were not mentally prepared to accept defeat, the
state-controlled media in West Pakistan had
been projecting imaginary victories. When the surrender in East
Pakistan was finally announced, people could not come terms with
the magnitude of defeat, spontaneous demonstrations and mass protests erupted
on the streets of major cities in West Pakistan. Also, referring to the
remaining rump Western Pakistan as simply "Pakistan" added to the
effect of the defeat as international acceptance of the secession of the
eastern half of the country and its creation as the independent state of
Bangladesh developed and was given more credence. The cost of the war for
Pakistan in monetary and human resources was very high. Demoralized and finding
himself unable to control the situation, General Yahya Khan surrendered power
to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who was sworn-in on 20 December 1971 as President and as
the (first civilian) Chief Martial Law Administrator. A new and smaller
emerged on 16 December 1971.
The loss of East Pakistan had shattered the prestige of the Pakistani
lost half its navy, a quarter of its air force and a third of its army. The
popularized myth that one Muslim had the fighting prowess of five Hindus no
longer held any legitimacy. The war also exposed the shortcoming of
Pakistan's declared strategic doctrine that the "defence of East Pakistan
lay in West Pakistan". Hussain Haqqani, in his book Pakistan:
Between Mosque and Military notes,
"Moreover, the army had failed to fulfill its promises of fighting to the
last man. The eastern command had laid down arms after losing only 1,300 men in
battle. In West Pakistan 1,200 military deaths had accompanied lack
luster military performance."
In his book The 1971 Indo-Pak War: A Soldier’s Narrative Pakistani Major
General Hakeem Arshad Qureshi a veteran of this conflict noted,
"We must accept the fact that, as a people, we had also contributed to the
bifurcation of our own country. It was not a Niazi, or a Yahya, even a Mujib,
or a Bhutto, or their key assistants, who alone were the cause of our break-up,
but a corrupted system and a flawed social order that our own apathy had
allowed to remain in place for years. At the most critical moment in our
history we failed to check the limitless ambitions of individuals with dubious
antecedents and to thwart their selfish and irresponsible behaviour. It was our
collective ‘conduct’ that had provided the enemy an opportunity
to dismember us."
The war stripped Pakistan of more than half of its population and with nearly
one-third of its army in captivity, clearly established India's military
dominance of the subcontinent. In spite of the magnitude of the victory,
India was surprisingly restrained in its reaction. Mostly, Indian leaders
seemed pleased by the relative ease with which they had accomplished their
goals—the establishment of Bangladesh
and the prospect of an early return to their homeland of the 10 million Bengali
refugees who were the cause of the war. In announcing the Pakistani surrender,
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared in the Indian Parliament:
now the free capital of a free country. We hail the people of Bangladesh in
their hour of triumph. All nations who value the human spirit will recognize it
as a significant milestone in man's quest for liberty."
Bangladesh became an independent
nation, the world's third most populous Muslim state.
Mujibur Rahman was released from a West Pakistani prison, returned to Dhaka on
10 January 1972 and to become first President of Bangladesh and later its Prime
On the brink of defeat around 14 December, the Pakistani Army, and its local
collaborators, systematically killed a large number of Bengali doctors,
teachers and intellectuals, part of a pogrom against the Hindu minorities who
constituted the majority of urban educated intellectuals. Young men, especially
students, who were seen as possible rebels were also targeted. The extent of
casualties in East Pakistan is not known. R.J.
Rummel cites estimates ranging from one to three million people killed. Other
estimates place the death toll lower, at 300,000. Bangladesh government
that Pakistani forces aided by collaborators killed three million people, raped
200,000 women and displaced millions of others. In 2010 Bangladesh government set up a tribunal to
prosecute the people involved in alleged war crimes and those who collaborated
According to the Government, the defendants would be charged with Crimes
against humanity, genocide, murder, rape and arson.
In aftermath of war Pakistan Government constituted the Hamoodur Rahman
Commission headed by Justice Hamoodur Rahman in 1971 to investigate the
political and military causes for defeat and the Bangladesh atrocities during
the war. The commission's report was classified and its publication banned by
Bhutto as it put the military in poor light, until some parts of the report
surfaced in Indian media in 2000.
When it was declassified, it showed many failings from the strategic to the
tactical levels. It confirmed the looting, rapes and the killings by the Pakistan Army
and their local agents. It lay the blame squarely on Pakistani generals,
accusing them of war crimes and neglect of duty. Though no actions were ever
taken on commissions findings, the commission had recommended public trial of Pakistan Army
In 1972 the Simla Agreement was signed between India
and Pakistan, the treaty
ensured that Pakistan
recognized the independence of Bangladesh in
exchange for the return of the Pakistani POWs. India
treated all the POWs in strict accordance with the Geneva Convention, rule 1925. It released
more than 90,000 Pakistani PoWs in five months. Further, as a gesture of
goodwill, nearly 200 soldiers who were sought for war crimes by Bengalis were
also pardoned by India.
The accord also gave back more than 13,000 km² of land that Indian troops had
seized in West Pakistan during the war, though India retained a few strategic
areas. But some in India
felt that the treaty had been too lenient to Bhutto, who had pleaded for
leniency, arguing that the fragile democracy in Pakistan
would crumble if the accord was perceived as being overly harsh by Pakistanis
and that he would be accused of losing Kashmir in addition to the loss of East Pakistan.
Steve Coll, in his book Ghost Wars, argues that the Pakistan military's
experience with India, including Pervez Musharraf's experience in 1971,
influenced the Pakistani government to support jihadist groups in Afghanistan
even after the Soviets left, because the jihadists were a tool to use against
India, including bogging down the Indian Army in Kashmir.
After the war, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto came to power. Pakistan
launched Project-706, a secret nuclear weapon development program, to defend
itself from India.
A vast majority of Pakistani nuclear scientists who were working at the
International Atomic Energy Agency and European and American nuclear programs
immediately came to Pakistan
and joined Project-706.
7 March 1971
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
declares that, "The current struggle is a struggle for independence",
in a public meeting attended by almost a million people in Dhaka.
25 March 1971
start Operation Searchlight, a systematic plan to eliminate any resistance.
Thousands of people are killed in student dormitories and police barracks in Dhaka.
26 March 1971
Rahman signed an official declaration of independence and sent it through a radio
message on the night of 25 March (the morning of 26 March). Later Major Ziaur
Rahman and other Awami League leaders announced the declaration of independence on behalf of Sheikh Mujib from Kalurghat
Radio Station, Chittagong.
The message is relayed to the world by Indian radio stations.
17 April 1971
of Awami League form a provisional government.
3 December 1971
War between India and Pakistan
officially begins when West Pakistan
launches a series of preemptive air strikes on Indian airfields.
6 December 1971
East Pakistan is
recognized as Bangladesh by
14 December 1971
elimination of Bengali intellectuals is started by Pakistani Army and local
16 December 1971
A. A. K. Niazi, supreme commander of Pakistani Army in [East
Pakistan, surrenders to the Allied Forces (Mitro Bahini)
represented by Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Arora of Indian Army at the
12 January 1972
Rahman comes to power
For bravery, a number of soldiers and officers on both sides were awarded the
highest military award of respective countries. Following is a list of the
recipients of the Indian award Param Vir Chakra, Bangladeshi award Bir Sreshtho
and the Pakistani award Nishan-E-Haider:
Recipients of the Nishan-E-Haider:
Major Muhammad Akram (Posthumously)
Rashid Minhas (Posthumously)
Muhammad Mahfuz (Posthumously)
Recipients of the Param Vir Chakra:
Lance Naik Albert Ekka (Posthumously)
Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon (Posthumously)
Arun Khetarpal (Posthumously)
Recipients of the Bir Sreshtho
Captain Mohiuddin Jahangir (Posthumously)
Lance Naik Munshi
Abdur Rouf (Posthumously)
ERA Mohammad Ruhul
Matiur Rahman (Posthumously)
Lance Naik Nur
Mohammad Sheikh (Posthumously)
Separation of East Pakistan .
of East Pakistan was a great setback to Pakistan. By 1970, sentiments for
national unity had weakened in East Pakistan
to the extent that constant conflict between the two Wings dramatically
erupted into mass civil disorder. This tragically resulted in the brutal and
violent amputation of Pakistan's
separation of a thousand miles between the two WINGS WITHOUT A COMMON BORDER, AND BEING SURROUNDED BY INDIAN TERRITORY AND INFLUENCES, LED TO CONSTANT POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONFLICTS BETWEEN THE TWO WINGS; EMBITTERING RELATIONS BRINGING THE COUNTRY ON THE VERGE OF COLLAPSE.
of East Pakistan 1971.
As a result of the
separation of its Eastern Wing,
international credit was depleted and the military, being its most powerful
institution, suffered a lot. To some, the very concept of Pakistan as the
homeland for the Muslims in Southeast Asia no
longer appeared valid.
right at the inception of Pakistan
in 1947. Almost immediately, East Pakistan
claimed that as their population (55 percent as compared to 45 percent in the
West) was greater, they were in a majority. Democratically, the Federal
Capital, therefore, should have been in Dhaka and not in Karachi.
Since Karachi was the seat of
the National Government; ministers, government officials and industrialists
exerted immense influence on national and regional affairs, which brought them
many benefits. But the East Pakistanis were unable to extract the same kind of
advantages, as they were a thousand miles away from the Capital. Moreover, the
Capital initially attracted wealthy industrialists, businessmen,
administrators, doctors and other professionals who had fled from India.
The location of
the Capital, it was said, created great economic imbalance, uneven distribution
of national wealth and privileges, and better jobs for the people of West Pakistan, because they were able to sway decisions
in their own favor.
resented the vast sums of foreign exchange earned from the sale of jute from East, which were being
spent on defense. They questioned how the expenditure for the Kashmir cause
would be justified, when it could otherwise have been productively used to
build dams and barriers to control floods, eradicate poverty and illiteracy,
and supply food and shelter for the ever-growing population in East Pakistan.
people of the East believed that it was sheer regional prejudice that all
white-collar jobs were taken by West Pakistanis.
Many mistakes were
made early in the short history of Pakistan. There lived in East Pakistan about 15 million Hindus who, with the help
of their fellow West Bengali Indians from across the border, were able to
exploit East-West differences that emerged as a result of these mistakes.
Grievances were exaggerated to foster anti-West Pakistani feelings that
eventually created Bengali Nationalism and separatist tendencies. Bengali
political leaders went around depicting the Central Government and West
Pakistan as hostile exploiters. However, no effective efforts were made by the
Government to check these anti-national trends.
formed in 1951, was headed by Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman. He had always been an
ardent Bengali nationalist. He began to attract popular support from Bengalis
in East Pakistan. He put forward his Six
Points that demanded more autonomy for the Provinces in general, and East Pakistan in particular. He was arrested in April
1966, and soon released, only to be rearrested and imprisoned in June the same
year. He languished in prison until February 1969.
Signs The Document Of Surrender To General Aurora.
Being deeply aware of the explosive political situation in the country, the
then Chief Martial Law Administrator, Yahya Khan, set in motion moves to
transfer power to the elected representatives of the people, and announced that
the general elections would be held on October 5, 1970.
In all his
election speeches, Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman reiterated his demand for
implementation of his Six Points and provincial autonomy plans.
The 1970 elections
were postponed from October to December due to heavy floods that caused immense
destruction and havoc in East Pakistan. The
sheer enormity of the disaster attracted worldwide attention. This gave Sheikh
Mujib-ur-Rahman a golden opportunity to have an international audience for his
feelings, which he accused of brutal callousness. The Awami League gained much
sympathy and benefit out of this suffering, and Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman and his
people were portrayed on the international scene
as victims of West
In the general
elections held in December 1970, the Awami League achieved an overwhelming victory.
They captured 167 seats, the highest number in East
Pakistan and overall. In the West, the Pakistan Peoples Party had won 85
seats. The way was now open to draw up a new Constitution.
The Awami League,
now overwhelmingly victors, stood firm on its Six Points plan and refused to
compromise on that issue. The Peoples Party in the West maintained that the Six
Points Program did not really permit a genuine federation. It was in fact a
unique constitutional proposal that proposed a federation that had power only
over defense and foreign policy.
made to start a constitutional dialogue and narrow the differences between
the two Wings, but all in vain. Mujib-ur-Rahman's adamant stand in support of
his Six Points, and his proposal that East Pakistan should have a sovereign
status independent of Pakistan,
further aggravated the situation.
launched a non-cooperation movement. The civil administration was totally
paralyzed. All government and educational institutions were closed. People
were asked not to pay any taxes. The transport system came to a standstill.
Factories and shops were shut. All government ACTIVITIES BETWEEN BOTH THE WINGS CEASED. THE AWAMI LEAGUE SETUP A PARALLEL GOVERNMENT. GANGS OF LOCAL AWAMI LEAGUE FREEDOM FIGHTERS, KNOWN AS MUKTI BAHINI, LED VIOLENT DEMONSTRATIONS AND HOWLED RACIAL AND ANTI-WEST PAKISTAN SLOGANS, INCITING THE PEOPLE TO MORE VIOLENCE.
AMIDST THESE DISTURBANCES, GENARAL YAHYA DECIDED TO CONVENE THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IN MARCH 1971. BUT SHEIKH MUJIB-UR-RAHMAN
UNEXPECTEDLY PUT FORWARD OTHER DEMANDS SUCH AS THE immediate lifting of Martial Law and power transfer to the elected
representatives of the people, prior to the National Assembly session.
March 23, the Republic Day of Pakistan,
the Awami League declared "Resistance Day" and Bangladesh flags
flew all over the Province. There was a great massacre. East
Pakistan had reached a point of no return. To quash the armed
rebellion of Awami League militants, the Pakistan Army struck its first blow
on March 27, 1971. Yahya Khan chose to use force to bring law and order in the
In the meantime, India exploited Pakistan's dilemma to the full. It
sought to wring full propaganda and strategic value for itself out of the
Bengali suffering and misery. India
launched an attack on East Pakistan on November
22, 1971. The use of modern Soviet missiles, geographical separation by a
thousand miles lying across the hostile Indian territory, and the collusion of
Mukti Bahini and the Indian Army, made Pakistan's military defeat in the East
On December 10,
1971, the first feeler for surrender in East Pakistan
was conveyed to the United Nations. On December 17, 1971, a formal surrender
was submitted and accepted. Forty five thousand troops and an almost equal
number of civilians of West Pakistan were
taken as prisoners of war.
The text of the
Instrument of Surrender document was as follows:
Eastern Command agree to surrender all PAKISTAN Armed Forces in BANGLA DESH to
Lieutenant-General JAGJIT SINGH AURORA, General Officer Commanding in Chief of
the Indian and BANGLA DESH forces in the Eastern Theatre. This surrender
includes all PAKISTAN land,
air and naval forces as also all para-military forces and civil armed forces.
These forces will lay down their arms and surrender at the places where they
are currently located to the nearest regular troops under the command of
Lieutenant- General JAGJIT SINGH AURORA.
Eastern Command shall come under the orders of Lieutenant-General JAGJIT SINGH
AURORA as soon as this instrument has been signed. Disobedience of orders will
be regarded as a breach of the surrender terms and will be dealt with in
accordance with the accepted laws and usages of war. The decision of
Lieutenant-General JAGJIT SINGH AURORA will be final, should any doubt arise as
to the meaning or interpretation of the surrender terms.
General JAGJIT SINGH AURORA gives a solemn assurance that personnel who
surrender will be treated with dignity and respect that soldiers are entitled
to in accordance with the provisions of the GENEVA Convention and guarantees
the safety and well-being of all PAKISTAN military and para-military forces who
surrender. Protection will be provided to foreign nationals, ethnic minorities
and personnel of WEST PAKISTAN origin by the forces under the command of
Lieutenant- General JAGJIT SINGH AURORA.
(JAGJIT SINGH AURORA)
Lieutenant-General General Officer Commanding in Chief Indian and BANGLA DESH
Forces in the Eastern Theatre
KHAN NIAZI) Lieutenant-General Martial Law Administrator Zone B and Commander
Eastern Command (PAKISTAN)
The surrender led
to the disintegration of East and West Pakistan and the establishment of Bangladesh.
After 25 years, the East Pakistanis declared themselves independent and renamed
their Province as Bangladesh.
Pakistan finally recognized Bangladesh at the Islamic Conference in Lahore on February 22,
Though this war is
commonly known as Indo-Pakistan war, it is actually the Bangladesh
Liberation War. This war started internally in Pakistan
on 3rd December 1971 and ended with a major defeat to Pakistan on 16th December 1971 when Bangladesh gains its Independence.
The conflict was
triggered by the unrest between the East and West Pakistan
when the former demanded more freedom and autonomy. The East
Pakistan constituted mostly of Bengalis. USA actively supported Pakistan in this war while India with support from France and United Kingdom backed the East
Pakistani Bengalis in their fight for freedom. The coup de grace came when USSR joined India through a treaty signed on
August 9th, 1972 which assured their friendship and cooperation at all levels
between the two countries.
India launched a
counter attack on Pakistan
following their air assault on Indian Territory.
The Indian Army was able to occupy the entire eastern half, which later
declared itself as an Independent country, i.e. Bangladesh on December 6th,
1971. The internal conflict as well as the casualty of the war coupled
with the fact that some 10 millions Bengalis fled the country to India (due the war) crippled Pakistan to a
very large extent. For a while it was believed that Pakistan might not survive this
However, in 1972 India and Pakistan entered a new treaty
called the Shimla Accord under the persuasion from the UN and peace once again
prevailed. As a sign of goodwill, India returned a large part of the
occupied territory – some 13 thousand kilometers square as a gesture of
goodwill. In 1974 Pakistan
recognized Bangladesh as an independent entity and country.
The sentiment of
1947 lay at the heart of the biggest war fought so far between a
Hindu-dominated India and a
Moslem Pakistan that at the
time was still divided into two parts – separated by India.
Ever since its creation, in 1947, Pakistan was plagued by imbalance
between its two parts. West and East Pakistan
shared a common religion but they were divided by distance, culture, language
and economics. In fact, ever since independence Pakistan’s
leaders had failed to forge a strong sense of national identity between West
and East. West Pakistan was almost six times larger than East
Pakistan and contained the nation’s capital. Political power was
concentrated in the west, and West Pakistanis held an almost total monopoly of
appointments in the civil service, armed forces and the diplomatic service,
despite being outnumbered by eastern Pakistanis by three to one.
By contrast East Pakistan, established in the rich alluvial plains formed by
the confluence of three major rivers – the Brahmaputra, Ganges,
and Meghna – accounted for 75% of exports and foreign earnings. In return, it
received less than 30% of the nation’s imports and investment. To the rules in Islamabad, East Pakistan was a colony that was milked to
the extension that per capita income in the west exceeded that in East Pakistan. Such discrimination became increasingly
intolerable to East Pakistan.
Between 1947 and 1958 Pakistan
had a veneer of parliamentary democracy, but was increasingly controlled by a
faction of landowners, industrialists, bureaucrats and the military, mainly
drawn from the Punjab. Real power was actually
exercised by the Army, which openly ruled from 1958 until 1969, under the
presidency of Field Marshal Ayub Khan. The provincial elections of 1954 in East Pakistan saw candidates of the establishment
decisively defeated, and the subsequent democratic government was quickly
suppressed by the military authorities. By 1966 the leading political figure in
East Pakistan, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, put forward a six-point programme that
proposed the establishment of a federal Pakistan, with central government
having very limited powers. The Sheikh was arrested and in 1968 tried for
treason, becoming a martyr who turned eastern demands away from autonomy
towards total separation. What finally pushed the East Pakistanis to demand the
break up was the fall of Ayub Khan, in March 1969. The dictator promised to
hold general elections but his popularity had sunk so low that he was forced to
hand over power to the Pakistan Army (PA) commander, Yahya Khan, who banked on
no clear majority being obtained by any of political parties, thereby allowing
the PA to remain in control.
Mutiny in East Pakistan.
Yahya Khan’s problem was that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Awami League dominated
East Pakistan, and East Pakistan had a
majority of seats in parliament. The following elections, held on 17 December
1970, were catastrophic for the military junta, as the Awami League won 298 out
of 310 seats in the east, and 167 seats in the national parliament. The Yahya
regime immediately put pressure on the sheikh to come to an agreement, but he
refused: on 1 March, Khan announced the indefinite postponement of the opening
of parliament. The following day Sheikh Rahman called a general strike, which
resulted in riots in the east. To this came also the mutiny of Bangali elements
within the Pakistani military: on 3 March 1971, for example, even the Bangali
officers of the Pakistan Air
Force (PAF) stationed at Tejgaon Air Base, near Dacca, threatened to mutiny. Later in the
month, the Awami League went so far to declare independence
of East Pakistan, as Bangla Desh.
The Pakistan Army (PA) was
already on the move, sending reinforcements to East Pakistan onboard Pakistan
International Airlines (PIA) Boeing 707s and PAF Lockheed C-130B Hercules
transports. In total, within the following weeks three PA divisions were
transported to Dacca, the capital of East
Pakistan, mainly via Colombo, in Sri Lanka. This
airlift was reportedly supported by C-130s of the Imperial Iranian Air Force
(IIAF) and Türk Havva KuvvetlerI/Turkish Air Force (THK), but it seems that
actually Iran used this
opportunity to donate all of its four older C-130Bs to PAF – despite an US arms embargo imposed on Pakistan. The
heavy equipment of the Pakistani divisions followed, transported by a convoy of
ships, escorted by warships of the Pakistani Navy (PN).
On 25 March 1971, Martial Law Administrator in the East, General Tikka Khan,
was ordered to “sort things out”, and arrest the sheikh. To conceal what they
were about to do, the Pakistani military authorities expelled all the foreign
journalists: their first immediate problem was a mutiny of Bangali PA troops,
lead by Maj. Rafiq-ul-Islam, which brought a part of Chittagong and several towns nearby under
control. Already on 26 March, a PA column advancing from Chittagong towards Kumira was ambushed and 70
PA officers and soldiers killed, causing the others to flee in panic. Without
knowing what was going on, PA Maj.Gen. Khadim Hussain Raja flew in a PAF
Aérospatiale SA.316B Alouette III helicopter attempting to find the missing
column: his helicopter came under fire and was damaged several times, after
which the search was cancelled.
The PA’s reaction was swift: reinforcements were deployed from Dacca
to the naval base of Chittagong
by C-130s and helicopters, on 26 and 27 March, and two columns moved out, one
towards Agrabad Road,
the other towards Halishahar. The later, moving along the coastline, was also
ambushed and suffered heavy casualties, its scattered survivors then being
beaten to death in local villages. It was not before 28 March that the local PA
commanders re-established control over their troops and continued advance –
partially with support of naval artillery bombardment. Two days later the
Pakistani forces, with support of Canadair Sabre F.Mk.6s and North American
F-86F Sabres from No.14 Squadron PAF (the sole Pakistan Air Force unit based in
East Pakistan, originally equipped with 19 Sabres, two T-33As, three Pilatus
PC-3 light transports, a single DHC-3 Otter and at least four SA.316B Alouette
III helicopters, and based at Tejgaon AB, near Dacca) overran Halishahar after
hours-long hand-to-hand battle. By 2 April also the “Bangla Desh” Radio Station
was captured by Pakistani troops, in operation code-named “Searchlight”. PA’s
mop up operations continued for the following four days. The stream of PIA
commercial flights to Dacca via Colombo,
with Pakistani soldiers on board, continued: by mid-April two full PA divisions
were deployed to East Pakistan.
After stabilizing the situation in Chittagong and the surrounding area, and
reinforced by additional troops, on 2 May, Gen. Tikka ordered advance on
Ramgarh, Cox’s Bazar and Kaptai. Combining several conventional columns with
heliborne deployment of commandos behind enemy lines, the PA troops advanced
swiftly and crushed the mutineers, forcing the survivors to flee over the
border to India.
In the final action, between 26 May and 6 June, the last
territory under Bengali control was
mopped up and the PA was now back in control of East
Pakistan. Having crushed the revolt in East
Pakistan, Tikka Khan now began a policy of overkill with a
vengeance, the aim being to intimidate the population into submission. The
course of action that he pursued had been dubbed “élitocite”: the
intelligentsia and Hindus living in East Pakistan
were singled out for especially atrocious treatment, but everyone was a
potential target in the army rampage that was certainly never credible.
According to independent reports, within only three since the mutiny of East
Bangali troops, 15.000 Bangalis were killed in Dacca
and in the following months up to one million succumbed to what became a
campaign of terror. In return, Pakistan
responded with reports about murders of military personnel and their families.
Eventually, a propaganda war of large scale developed, with all involved
parties publishing ever new details about attrocities committed by the other
By April 1971, the outrageous behaviour of the PA in East Pakistan had
understandable results: the locals began fighting back, forcing West Pakistan
to send additional reinforcements and intensify the campaign against mutineers,
meanwhile directly supported by India and known as Mukti Bahini (better known
in the West as “Mukhti Bakhini”) – or “Freedom Battalion/Force/Army”.
Mukti Bahini were not “just another” insurgent force: on the contrary, their
original core consisted of defectors from the former East
Bengal Regiments of the Pakistani Army, who reached the Indian
soi1. They were soon reinforced by a considerable number of volunteers, mainly
students, then during April and May, Pakistan had purged Bangalis from
the armed forces. Many others defected, while those who remained were not
trusted – or even murdered. Result was that the combat effectiveness of
Pakistani units suffered considerably: the PAF was hit particularly heavy, then
many of its ground crews were Bangalis.
Once in India, together with
other volunteers from East Pakistan, they were trained and organized into six
new East Bengal Regiments, in June 1971. By
November 1971, the Mukti Bahini was reinforced by addition of three artillery
batteries, as well as a small flying service (operating two Aérospatiale
SA.316B Alouette III helicopters, one DeHavilland Canada DHC-3 Otter and a
single Douglas DC-3 Dakota transport). They were counting up to 85.000 and
their order of battle during the war in December was as follows:
- K Force/Brigade, consisting of 10th and 11th East Bengal Regiment and No.3
- S Force/Brigade, consisting of 2nd and 4th East Bengal Regiment, and No.1
- Z Force/Brigade, consisting of 1st, 3rd, and 8th East Bengal Regiment, and
No.2 field Battery.
Yahya now hoped that Pakistan’s
good relations to China and
the USA would enable him to
counter any threat from India.
If war came he could use the Chinese to tie down large parts of the Indian
Army, and eventual gains India
could make in the west could be traded against any losses in the east. Equally,
he expected to receive military aid from different Moslem countries. This was a
dangerous miscalculation: the Chinese declared they would fully support the Pakistani
people in safeguarding state sovereignty, but provided no full support for the
unity and integrity of the nation Islamabad
wanted. China was not going
to become involved in a war against India. Most of the other Islamic
countries provided only minimal or no help at all. As the sub-continent drifted
towards war the regime in Islamabad was clearly
on its own, facing India
that was stronger in military sense than ever before.
Under US pressure,
meanwhile, India was
becoming increasingly isolated at the UN: up to the end of July the USSR attempted maintaining a balanced approach
to New Delhi and Islamabad in an effort to increase her
influence on the sub-continent. When the USA
and China openly moved
toward closer mutual relations and both supported the Pakistani position, Moscow concluded Treaty of Peace, Friendship and
Cooperation with New Delhi,
on 9 August 1971, providing a much needed support for Indian position at the
UN. From that moment onwards, the Soviet Union opposed every proposal that could
allow a political settlement regarding the future of East
considered the situation in East Pakistan as most dangerous threat to her
security. Although many observers disputed corresponding Indian reports,
thousands, and then millions of refugees streamed over the border in 1971,
putting additional strain on a country that already had enough social and
economic difficulties on its own. An attempt to send the refugees back was
impossible, and as diplomacy failed India was left to her own resources.
That could only mean war.
India contemplated military
action already in May, but decided to wait until its Army was trained to fight
in the flat conditions of East Pakistan.
Moreover, by delaying action for months, the high Himalaya Passes would be
blocked off, preventing Chinese intervention. In addition, on 9 August 1971, an
agreement with the Soviet Union was reached to
keep Chinese busy as well.
Through late spring and summer 1971, the steady drift to war became increasingly
deliberate, as Pakistani military operations in East Pakistan spilled over into
By October, namely, the Mukti Bahini guerrillas waged a guerrilla war and had
even temporarily captured airstrips at Lalmonirhat and Shalutikar. Both of
these were used for flying in supplies and arms from India. In return, while carrying
out “hot pursuit” of the Mukti Bahini guerrillas, the PA units several times
entered India, causing ever increasing skirmishes, most notably at Kamalpur,
between 20 and 22 October, at Boyra (on 21 November), and Hilli (between 26 and
Contrary to previous times, the Indian government allowed its forces not only
to fight back and carry out retaliatory action, but also to cross the border.
Indian forces provided artillery fire for Mukti Bahini guerrillas across the
border into East Pakistan, and repeatedly stopped the Pakistani Army from
pursuing them into Indian territory. With
secure lines of withdrawal, the guerrillas – despite several early defeats -
undertook ever deeper raids, preventing Pakistani authorities from restoring
order: shelling and tank fire from the Indian Army inflicted casualties on
Pakistani posts and provided support for Mukti Bahini. By autumn, the Mukti
Bahinis and Indian troops executed a well-coordinated series of attacks against
Pakistani border posts, eliminating them one after the other and bringing large
territories along the borders to India under Bangali control.
Cornered, on 12 October Pakistan
proposed a mutual troop withdrawal and posting of UN observers in the border
refused. In fact, by the time the PA units along the borders of East Pakistan
were under such pressure, that they had to move out of the range of Indian
artillery, and consequently it withdrew its units some 20km behind the border.
Four days later IAF Canberras were sent to fly reconnaissance missions over East Pakistan. By early November, Indian troops were
infiltrated on 23 different points, and actively taking part in a number of
actions and capturing a number of PA’s positions: for all practical purposes –
and in accordance with clear orders from their superiors - they were fighting
an undeclared war against Pakistan.
The PAF was active all the time since emergency was declared in East Pakistan. The No.14 Squadron flew on average between
100 and 170 combat sorties a month: its Sabres were not only supporting PA’s
ground units, but also flying escort for PAF Fokker F.27 transports bringing
reinforcements to Jessore, while the sole T-33As had flow a number of reconnaissance
The best-known Indian operation into East Pakistan before the war officially
began, was launched on 20 November 1971, when the Indian Army (IA) 14 Punjab
Battalion - supported by a squadron of 14 PT-76 tanks from 45 Cavalry – was sent
to capture Garibpur, a village near Boyra, astride the road from India to
Jessore. The Pakistanis deployed their 107 Infantry Brigade, supported by 3rd
Independent Armoured Squadron, equipped with M24 Chaffee light tanks, to
counterattack. Theoretically, the much stronger Pakistani force should have
overrun enemy positions easily, especially as the Indians lost the moment of
surprise while still approaching their objectives. Deploying their infantry and
recoilless rifles into defensive positions, and sending PT-76s to outflank the
enemy, on 21 November the Indians ambushed the Pakistani charge and repulsed it
with heavy losses. In exchange for six destroyed PT-76s and 40 casualties, the
Indians destroyed eleven Pakistani M24s and captured three, while mauling the
The action was not yet over. At 14:49hr the same afternoon, as the Indian
troops were busy mopping up the battlefield, three Sabre F.Mk.6s of the No.14
Squadron PAF, attacked the Indian and Mukti Bahini positions in the Chowgacha Mor
with rockets and machine-gun fire. Ten minutes later, as the Sabres made their
third strafing run, they were attacked by four Gnats from No.22 Squadron IAF.
The Gnats appeared unobserved behind their opponents and shot down two Sabres
in the first moments of encounter. The Indians attacked also the Sabre of the
Pakistani leader, Wg.Cdr. Afzal Chaudhry, before he turned around to claim one
of the Gnats in return: in fact, all Indians returned safely. Two PAF pilots,
Flt.Lt. Mehdi and Flt.Lt. Khalil, ejected safely but were captured by Mukti
Bahini and taken to India.
The violent clash at Garibpur – followed by another similar engagement near
Hilli, on 24 and 28 November, in which the Indians claimed to have killed 80
Pakistani troops and destroyed six M24 tanks – had not only had surprising
results for both sides, but also far-reaching implications. Thus far, India had not used aircraft against PAF air
attacks over East Pakistan. This changed now,
but with the result that since the interception of three Sabres over Garibpur
the PAF stopped sending fighter-bombers to support own troops. Not only that
the Indians were now free to continue their advance towards Jessore already
before the war officially began, but they also forced the Pakistanis to vacate
Chaugacha without fighting. The morale of the PA units in East
Pakistan, already hit by massive defections of Bangali troops,
On the next day, 23 November, the Pakistani government declared a state of emergency and began deploying infantry divisions, backed
up by armour, on Jammu
border – while evacuating the population of local villages. The Indians
responded in kind, deploying a total of no less but 126 formations of different
size along the border, together with enormous quantities of supplies. The IAF
and PAF were mobilised and began increasing their combat readiness, as well as
preparations for offensive operations, in the scope of which reconnaissance
aircraft of both sides were penetrating enemy airspace. Pakistani Mirage
IIIRPs, sometimes escorted by Sabres, flew a series of reconnaissance missions
Initially, the reconnaissance Mirages flew alone. On 2 December, one of them
was intercepted by IAF Gnats while underway over Kahuta: the Pakistani fighter
escaped, but from that moment the recce-Mirages were always acompanied by one
Mirage IIIEP interceptor. The sole surviving PAF RB-57F high-altitude
reconnaissance aircraft was also active, and conducted extensive ELINT
missions, attempting to pin-point the evasive Indian P-35 radar positioned near
Amritsar, code-named “Fish Oil” by the Pakistanis.
The IAF was active
over Pakistan as well. On 1 December 1971, IAF reconnaissance Canberas
penetrated deep inside the Pakistani airspace, before scrambled PAF
interceptors forced them to withdraw.
With six million refugees in India by November 1971, and facing the prospect of
the figure doubling during the winter, India could not afford to wait any much
longer. Military preparations were already well underway and Indian forces
ready. The war plan was relatively simple, even if extremely complicated to
execute. India had to avoid
losses in the west and overrun East Pakistan
before possible international intervention. At all costs, India also had to prevent Pakistan making substantial gains in the west,
and holding out in the east: especially the war in East
Pakistan had to be won quickly.
In the West, the IA deployed the XV Corps in Jammu and Kashmir, comprising 3, 10, 19, 25
and 26 Infantry Divisions and three brigades (including one armoured). Further
south, the I Corps – consisting of 36, 39, and 54 Divisions, as well as two
armoured brigades – was deployed in the area between Thakurpur, Pathankot and
Samba. A better part of this corps was held in reserve for offensive
The IA’s XI Corps was responsible for defence of Punjab and comprised the 7,
14, and 15 divisions, together with one armoured brigade, deployed from Amritsar in
the north, via Khemkaran and Ferozepur in the centre. Two other larger
formations, the 11 and 12 Infantry Divisions, were assigned to the Southern
Command, while the 1 Armoured Division was held in reserve.
With rivers up to eight kilometres wide criss-crossing East
Pakistan the extent of problems facing IA on that battlefield
cannot be properly described. The IA also had to prevent the PA from slipping
back into the Dacca Bowl, a triangle of land
around Dacca, formed by the chord across the
confluence of the Meghna and Jamuna Rivers: in the aftermath of the monsoon, namely, Dacca was almost an island
fortress. The IA set up four commands under Lt.Gen. Jagit Singh Aurora. There were, in
the West Bengal, II Corps with two divisions
and three armoured and artillery units. In Bihara, the XXXIII Corps with one
division, two brigades and two other units; IV Corps in Tripura with three
mountain divisions and three supporting units; and 101 Communication Zone with
a single brigade in Assam.
In 1971, the total strength of the Pakistan Army was about 365.000
men, with additional 280.000 in para-military forces. In the west, the PA
deployed its 12 Infantry Division and part of 23 Infantry Division along the
ceasefire line in Kashmir. Further to the
south, the powerful I Corps – comprising 8 and 15 Infantry Divisions, supported
by 8 Independent Armoured Brigade – was deployed near Sialkot, opposite Chhamb. This concentration
of forces was backed up by the 6 Armoured and 17 Infantry Divisions.
Pakistani IV Corps was holding the sector between Lahore
and Bahawalpur, with 10 Infantry Division and
3 Independent Armoured Brigade near Lahore,
and 11 Infantry Division in Kasur area. The newly-established 33 Infantry
Division was deployed between Bahawalpur
and Sukkur. In the Sind sector, the 18
Infantry Division – supported by an armoured regiment – was deployed between
Rahimyar Khan, Naya Chor and on to Badin. The PA had around 100 M47s, 100 M48s,
100 T-54s, 50 T-55s, 200 T-59s, 200 M24s, 75 M41s, an unknown number of older
tanks, and 20 PT-76s, as well as 300 M113 APCs. Majority of older models –
especially M24s and PT-76s, was deployed in East Pakistan,
where the PA included four infantry divisions, totalling about 40 battalions of
infantry, with two light armoured units in support. The 9th Infantry Division
was facing the Indian II Corps. The 16th Infantry was deployed between the
Ganges and Jamuna
Rivers, opposite XXXIII
Corps. The 36th PA Infantry Division was opposite IV Corps and the 14th
Infantry Division in the northern part, opposite to 101 Communication Zone.
These PA units were supported by a small number of M-24 Chafee, and even few
PT-76 tanks, captured from Indians in 1965. It should be mentioned here, that
this Pakistani force had to hold an area with a population of about 70 million
and a border of nearly 2.250km long. The PA’s task was therefore utterly
impossible, had it not been for the fact that with so many rivers dissecting East Pakistan the Indians had to make all their efforts
along narrow and restricted fronts. Strongly defended positions, held in depth,
could b used to attack Indian advances. The PA was therefore deployed forward
in order to hold the Indians at the border, the intention being to strengthen
the Pakistani diplomatic position.
Major problem of the PA, however, was that its officer corps had been
politicised, especially at the general officer level. The need for political
balance in the government often overrode the requirements for ability in many
senior military appointments, resulting in poor overall leadership and
competence of generals in key positions, as well as lack of cohesion and trust.
Contemporary assessments considered that India had a capability to wage a
two-month war on two fronts: the IA could deploy one armoured, 13 infantry, and
ten mountain divisions, two armoured and a variety of other independent
brigades. Overall, the Indian Army deployed about 250.000 men for invasion of East Pakistan, and relied heavily on the active support
of about 100.000 Mukti Bahini, and the help of local population. The plan for
invasion envisaged attacks from all directions to break East Pakistan into
fragments, and then driving directly on to Dacca – as fast as possible. As
first the IA had to eliminate, surround or by-pass salients and strongpoints
held by the Pakistani Army. The main purpose was to infiltrate and get behind
Pakistani positions in order to ensure the enemy formations could not withdraw
PAF in 1971.
By 1971, the Indian Air Force and the PAF both had come quite some way since
the Kashmir War, in 1965.
Pakistan found itself
notionally cut off from Western supplies after the Kashmir
War. In the face of an US arms embargo, the PAF was left with a worn out combat
fleet to some 60 operational North American F-86E Sabres (modified to standard
similar to F-86F), 25 Martin B-57B Canberras, and seven Lockheed F-104A/B
Starfighters. Worst yet, the Pakistani economy was in a very precarious
condition all through the 1960s and 1970s – to a degree where it cold not
support any large-scale acquisitions of heavy weapons.
The F-104 Starfighter was once the star of the Kashmir War, in 1965: equipped
with AN/ASG-14TI fire-control radar for interception, excellent General
Electric T-171-E3 Vulcan six-barrelled 20mm Gatling-type electrically powered
rotary cannon (better known as M61A1 since 1962) and AIM-9B Sidewinder
air-to-air missiles, on the paper, the Starfighter was superior in speed and
armament to anything in the IAF. Despite some rumours, PAF F-104s were not
equipped with any kind of electronic countermeasures or chaff&flare dispensers.
Available only in minimal numbers they proved insufficient to win the 1965 War,
and then also not manoeuvrable enough to mix with low-flying Indian
fighter-bombers. By 1971, therefore, the PAF F-104s were considered somewhat of
a “silver bullet” asset, slanted for use under most favourable conditions,
foremost for intercepting night bombers or other high-value assets, or
low-level/high-speed airfield interdiction missions. .
Due to the poor economic situation and Western arms embargos, the condition of
the PAF F-104-fleet by the early 1970s was so poor, that most of the aircraft
were non-operational and the sole unit that flew the type, No.9 Squadron, was
provided with old F-86Fs to keep pilot hours up. The situation improved
significantly in March 1971, when the USA channelled a shipment of spares to
Pakistan, enabling the PAF to make the remaining five F-104As and two F-104Bs
operational again. Nevertheless, the depleted fleet of the No.9 Squadron was
reinforced on 10 December 1971, when ten F-104As from the No.9 Squadron Royal
Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) arrived. These became operational two days later,
but were not wired for AIM-9Bs: their capability as intercepted was thus very
limited and they were mainly deployed as airfield-interdictors. Most – but
certainly not all – of Jordanian Starfighters should have been camouflaged by
the time they arrived in Pakistan.
fleet of some 50 surviving F-86F Sabres, of which 44 were operational, was
reliable, but in an increasingly poor condition. The Sabre was a modern fighter
in the 1950s, highly regarded all over the world. By 1971, its subsonic speed
and armament of only six machine-guns were considered insufficient, despite
better manoeuvrability than most of Indian fighters, or the fact that 24 F-86Fs
were modified to carry AIM-9B Sidewinders. The majority of the later was
concentrated within the No.26 Squadron, the creation of which stood in direct
relation to the poor condition of the surviving Pakistani F-86Fs. The number of
operational airframes necessitated the disbandment of the No.16 Squadron: the
personnel of this unit then joined that of the Flight Leaders
School Wing (an
“Aggressor” type of training outfit), to form the No.26 Squadron.
“advantage” of Sidewinder-armed Sabres was actually of very limited nature. The
fact was that the PAF not only received a very limited number of AIM-9Bs, but
that also the earliest surviving rounds were meanwhile nearing the end of their
shelf-life. The first 60 Sidewinders were donated to Pakistan in 1964, at the
same time all the PAF Starfighters were re-engined with J-79-GE-11 engines. A
number of rounds was spent or lost during the 1965 War, so that afterwards the
PAF faced an acute shortage of air-to-air missiles. It was not before March 1971
that another batch of some 150 AIM-9Bs was delivered. Nevertheless, once these
arrived, the PAF technicians did their best to wire also 18 F-6s (six with each
operational unit) for Sidewinders. This was a massive task, undertaken in rush
during November 1971, with help of US technicians.
Pakistan therefore looked
to China: just months after
the end of the Kashmir War, on 24 November 1965, Islamabad
and Beijing agreed a delivery of 72 Shenyang F-6. After
training of a group of 14 pilots and 35 technicians in China, the first 31 Shenyangs were flown to Sargodha AB, in Pakistan, directly from People’s Republic of China, on 31
December of the same year, entering service with the No.11 Squadron, followed
by the newly-established No.25 Squadron. The F-6 was a copy of the MiG-19P
interceptor, the first Soviet supersonic fighter, put on a very large scale
production in China,
where over 4.500 examples were manufactured. It was armed with three NR-30
cannons, calibre 30mm; a small number was modified in Pakistan to
carry US-made AIM-9B Sidewinder heath-seeking air-to-air missiles.
examples supplied to PAF were all F-6As, without parabrake housing on the basis
of the fin: it was not before 1980 that PAF began receiving F-6Cs, equipped
with such housing, mainly from Batches 105 and 106 (each batch of F-5s
manufactured in China
counted a total of 40 airframes). By that time a rebuild factory for F-6s was
donated to Pakistan by the
Chinese, and erected at the Pakistan
Aeronautical Complex, at Kamra. Although some first parts of this complex were
supplied already in early 1972, formal commissioning of this factory took place
on 8 November of 1980.
Indonesia provided 20
additional (Soviet-made) MiG-19s, by 1971 – free of charge – thus bringing the
total to around 90 airframes. Theoretically, this figure offered the PAF a
significant attrition reserve. Actually, only three units were equipped with
the type, and by December 1971 there were only some 54 intact F-6s and MiG-19s
with the PAF, of which 48 were operational. Namely, the squadrons equipped with
the type experienced very heavy attrition rates already during peace-time
operations, so that the 20 F-6s delivered in 1971 were badly needed as
replacements. Besides, there was a major problem with their gyro gun-sights,
and – even more so – with their manufacturing quality: according to a
first-hand account, every airframe was built for only some 30 flying hours and
had to be overhauled subsequently, meaning that a considerable part of the
fleet was permanently in deep maintenance. Consequently, each squadron had to
have a considerable number of airframes in order to keep between 12 and 16
permanently in working condition.
Lacking numbers to
match Indian numerical superiority, the residue F-86s were complemented by 90
Canadair F.Mk.6 Sabres. These were bought in 1967, by Iran - via a Swiss intermediary - from Germany, without a US
end-user certificate (but probably with US convinience). The reported price
of the total package was $10 million. Upon their arrival in Iran, the
Imperial Iranian Air Force - which operated only a handfull of US-supplied
F-86s at the time - plegded inability to overhaul them. For this purpose all
the ex-German Sabres were sent to Pakistan - and they never came
back. Instead, they were integrated into three PAF units, and by 3 December
1971 at least 88 remained intact, of which 74 were operational. A total of 48
of these were wired for Sidewinders: the PAF thus had a fleet of exactly 72 72
Sidewinder-compatible F-86F/Sabre F.Mk.6s.
The most important reinforcement – and the one considered the most
dangerous threat by Indian pilots – arrived from France, where 18 Mirage IIIEP
interceptors, three Mirage IIIDP two-seat conversion trainers, and three Mirage
IIIRP reconnaissance fighters were acquired from Dassault. This was a
considerably expensive acquisition, then the price for a total of these 24
fighters, their weapons and spares in the frame of the “Project Blue Flash
One”, was $100 million – compared to only $10 million paid by Iran for German
Sabres. But, Saudi Arabia
financed this deal, and in the late 1960s it was “en vogue” to have the
victorious Mirages, famous for their performance from the 1967 Arab-Israeli
War, even if the associated Cyrano Ibis radar and Matra R.530 air-to-air missiles
proved very vulnerable to proper handling, and the later had a short
shelf-life. PAF Mirages became operational in October 1968, with No.5 Squadron,
based at Sargodha and initially commanded by the
hero of the Kashmir War, Wg.Cdr. M.M. Alam.
The PAF experienced considerable problems in operating them, then Mirages
proved prohibitively costly: in fact, so much that Pakistan could hardly afford
any weapons for them, except for French-made SAMP bombs, calibre 250-, 500 and
1.000kg, a limited number of Matra R.530 radar-homing air-to-air missiles, and
then the same AIM-9B Sidewinders, which the No.5 Squadron had to share also
with the No.9 Squadron and the PAF fleets of F-86 Sabres and F-6s!
Nevertheless, with Saudi financial backing, in 1970, the PAF issued the next
order to Dassault, this time for 28 Mirage 5PA fighter-bombers and two Mirage
5DP two-seaters. These were not to arrive before the next war with India.
The balance of the
PAF fleet consisted of US-made types, and included foremost different versions
of Martin B-57 Canberra-bombers. Pakistan originally received 24
B-57Bs, one B-57C, and two RB-57Ds. The B-57Bs were all former 345th BG(T) USAF
mounts, and originally taken from storage before delivery. As all were missing
their all-weather bombing systems, while the PAF required “full-USAF standard”
Canberras, they entered service with relatively poor equipment. In 1964, they
were equipped with RB-1A George Peach bombing systems, drawn from stock at the Warner Robins Logistic
Centre. PAF B-57s were further modified with additional plumbing for carriage
of underwing drop tanks (in addition to wing tip drop tanks). They proved
effective in night attacks during the 1965 War, and were respected for their
bomb-carrying capability, as well as for operational ceiling of over 16.000m,
where no IAF fighters could follow.
The single B-57C, nick-named “Baba” by PAF crews, was used for training
purposes (this aircraft remained in service until 1982, when it crashed after a
bird strike, killing Wg.Cdr. Masroor; the Mauripur AB was re-named in memory of
Originally, two units were equipped with B-57s, the No.7 and No.8 Squadron, but
combat attrition and lack of spares forced the PAF to search for replacements.
In 1966, the No.8 Squadron was re-equipped with Harbin H-5 bombers (Chinese copy of the
Ilushin Il-28). The Pakistanis eventually found the type unsuitable for the
task and returned all H-5s to China,
in 1969; afterwards the No.8 Squadron was disbanded, leaving No.7 Squadron as
the sole bomber unit.
The two RB-57Ds were converted to RB-57F standard before delivery, and
originally operated by the No.24 Squadron, an unit reinforced in October 1964,
through addition of two newly-built RB-57Fs. The later were deployed to Pakistan with
the purpose of monitoring Chinese nuclear tests. They were flown by CIA and
USAF crews until shortly before the 1965 War, when one of them was returned to
The No.24 Squadron continued operating the other RB-57F – modified locally to
carry a 2.000kg bombload – and two converted RB-57Ds, from Mauripur AB, near
Kharachi. All three aircraft were involved in directing attacks on Indian radar
stations: the sole RB-57F, usually underway at levels up to 71.000ft (23.000m),
sometimes operated together with two ex-RB-57Ds, with the later tracking but
also jamming Indian radars and communications. During training for one of these
operations a RB-57Ds was shot down in error by Pakistani AAA.
The No.24 Squadron continued operations over India after the war as well. In
1966, the sole remaining “original” RB-57B was underway near Ambala when almost
hit by two SA-2s, which caused extensive damage. The pilot was able to make a
successful emergency landing at Peshawar: after
repairs in Pakistan, this
aircraft was returned to the USA.
The last RB-57D converted to F-version, equipped with ELINT/SIGINT equipment,
remained operational with the PAF and – as mentioned previously – flew
reconnaissance operations along the Indian border up to November 1971. It is
known to have been written off only upon an IAF strike against Masroor AB, in
the night of 5 December. The No.24 Squadron was disbanded already before, and
the whole fleet of Pakistani B-57s operated by No.7 Squadron at the time.
The other US-made
aircraft still operational with PAF in 1971 were mainly of training nature. Out
of some 18 originally delivered Lockheed T-33As, 13 were still operational. Of
these, eleven were on strength with the No.2 Squadron, while one was in service
with No.14 Squadron, based in East Pakistan.
The former unit lost one T-33A on 20 August 1971, when a defecting Bangali
pilot attempted to fly it to India.
Recognizing his intentions, Flt.Off. Rashid Minhas, who was in the rear
cockpit, crashed the aircraft barely 60km from the border. The small No.20 Squadron
operated three survivors from five originally delivered RT-33As.
the 1971 War, an agreement was reached with the Imperial Iranian Air Force to
deploy a squadron of Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighters to Pakistan. These aircraft were actually
owned by the USA, and –
technically – only “loaned” to Iran
in the frame of the Military Assistance Programme. By the time of the 1971 War,
they were already slanted to be transferred to South
in 1972. The first four Iranian F-5As, however, arrived in Pakistan only
on 16 December 1971: too late to take part in hostilities. The PAF operated
them for few months and then all were returned to Iran. Unconfirmed Indian reports
claim that Pakistan received
also a total of 35 F-86Fs from Saudi Arabia
during the war, but there is no confirmation for this as of now.
Last but not least, the PAF operated some 40 North American T-6 Texan training
aircraft, few of which were rushed to operational service, as well as 37 Cessna
A-37 Tweet-birds, none of which was armed.
In summary, on 3 December 1971, the PAF had seven F-104A/B Starfighters, 23
Mirage IIIEP/RP/DP (of which some 20 were operational), a total of 136 F-86F
and Sabre F.Mk.6s (118 operational), 54 F-6 and MiG-19s (48 operational), 19
B-57Bs (18 operational), one B-57C and two RB-57Fs, eleven T-33As and three
RT-33As, 37 Cessna T-37As, some 40 T-6s (of which 17 were deployed in combat),
at least three Fokker F.27s and nine C-130s, for a total of 263 combat-, around
a dozen of transport-, and slightly over 80 training aircraft, as well as 12
The PAF was therefore only marginally better equipped then in 1965: even if a
number of new types became available these were not operating any new or modern
weapons. Namely, already in late 1969, the PAF requirement for reinforcements
had been indicated to the government in a report of Inter-Services Defence
Evaluation Comittee. This requirement included six additional fighter-bomber
squadrons, two additional major air bases (including one in East
Pakistan), replacement of remaining F-86/Sabres and B-57s, and
modernization of remaining equipment. This report had been seen by the chiefs
of staff, and the high resource board, headed by Finance Minister, on 15
January 1970. The minister fully agreed to give the most urgent attention to
the PAF’s requirements. However, no further meeting of this board to this topic
was held, nor was any effort made to meet these requirements. Consequently, not
only that it would take years for these plans to be implemented, but also all
the planning was in vain and PAF was not to be considerably reinforced until
much too late.
Character of Sh.
Mujeeb-ur-Rehman was a noxiousness person whose politics based on only and only
vandalism. He was the agent of Indian occult organisation RAA.
In the 1970
National Assembly elections, the mandate of Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman's Awami
League Party was based on a Six-Point Program of regional autonomy in a federal
Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman had presented the Six-Point Program
as the constitutional solution of East
Pakistan's problems, in relation to West Pakistan.
on February 12, 1966, the six points are as below:
should provide for a Federation of Pakistan
in the true sense on the basis of the Lahore
Resolution and for a parliamentary form of government based on the supremacy
of a directly elected legislature on the basis of universal adult franchise.
Government shall deal with only two subjects; Defense and Foreign Affairs.
All residuary subjects will be vested in the federating states.
There should be
either two separate, freely convertible currencies for the two Wings, or one
currency with two separate reserve banks to prevent inter-Wing flight of
The power of
taxation and revenue collection shall be vested in the federating units. The
Federal Government will receive a share to meet its financial obligations.
disparities between the two Wings shall disappear through a series of
economic, fiscal, and legal reforms.
A militia or
paramilitary force must be created in East Pakistan,
which at present has no defense of it own.
elections of 1970, differences arose between the Government and Awami League on
the transfer of power on the basis of this Six-Point Program.
There ensued a
political deadlock with talks ending in failure and postponement of the first
session of the National Assembly. The postponement of the National Assembly
session triggered a chain of events that eventually led to the separation of East Pakistan.
Conspiracy Case was a sedition case in Pakistan, brought forward by the
Government of Pakistan against Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, leader of Awami League or
can be said, leader of East Pakistan, and 34 other persons.
The case was filed
in early 1968, and implicated Sheikh Mujib and others in conspiring with India against the stability of Pakistan. The
case is officially called State vs. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and others, but is
popularly known by Agartala Shoŗojontro Mamla (Agartala conspiracy case) as the
main conspiracy was purported to have taken place in the Indian city of
Agartala in Tripura state. The alleged conspiracy was uncovered by the Lt Col Shamsul Alam, who commanded the East
Pakistan Detachment of the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence)
Directorate. It was during this time that an officer of the East Bengal
Regiment (name withheld) who was in league with the conspirators made an
attempt on the life of Lt Col
Alam. Lt Col Alam displayed great bravery and
chased the would-be assassins; for his gallantry Lt Col Alam was awarded the Sitara-e-Basalat,
the highest award for bravery in action during peacetime.
The Government of Pakistan
resolved to frame charge against 35 concerned political personalities and high
government officials under civil law. They were: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,Ahmed
Fazlur Rahman CSP, Commander Moazzem Hossain, Steward Mujibur Rahman, former LS
Sultanuddin Ahmad, LSCDI Nur Mohammad, Flight Sergeant Mahfiz Ullah, Corporal
Abdus Samad, former Havildar Dalil Uddin, Ruhul Quddus CSP, Flight Sergeant Md.
Fazlul Haq, Bibhuti Bhushan Chowdhury alias Manik Chowdhury, Bidhan Krishna
Sen, Subedar Abdur Razzaque, former clerk Mujibur Rahman, former Flight
Sergeant Md. Abdur Razzaque, Sergeant Zahurul Haq, A.B. Khurshid, Khan Mohammad
Shamsur Rahman CSP, AKM Shamsul Haque, Havildar Azizul Haq, Mahfuzul Bari,
Sergeant Shamsul Haq, Shamsul Alam, Captain Md. Abdul Motaleb, Captain A.
Shawkat Ali Mian, Captain Khondkar Nazmul Huda, Captain A.N.M Nuruzzaman,
Sergeant Abdul Jalil, Mahbub Uddin Chowdhury, Lt. M Rahman, former Subedar
Tajul Islam, Ali Reza, Captain Khurshid Uddeen Ahmed, and Lt. Abdur Rauf.
Haq (1935-1969) a sergeant of the Pakistan Airforce, killed in jail
when he was under trial. Haq was one of the 35 persons accused in the agartala
conspiracy case officially called "State vs Sheikh Mujibur Rahman &
Others Case" of 1968. He was born on 9 February 1935 in Sonapur village
of Sudharam thana
of Noakhali district. Zahurul Haq passed matriculation from Noakhali Zila
School in 1953. He
studied in jagannath
college for two years and
completed intermediate (commerce) education there. He joined Pakistan
Airforce in 1956. Later, he was made a sergeant.
Haq was the 17th among the accused. Zahurul Haq was arrested in December 1967
and was confined in Dhaka Central Jail. Later,
he and some other accused were transferred to Dhaka
(Kurmitola) Cantonment. Members of public looked at the case as a conspiracy of
the Pakistan government
against the political autonomy movement of East Pakistan.
They organised mass movement and demanded immediate withdrawal of the case and
release of all prisoners. According to the government decision, the final date
for the case was 6 February 1969. But because of the mass upsurge of 1969, the
government had to defer the date. In the morning of 15 February 1969, a
Pakistani habildar shot point blank at Sergeant Zahurul Haq at the door of his
cell in the jail. He was taken to the Combined Military Hospital.
There he breathed his last at around 10 pm. The news of the killing led a
furious mob to set fire to the State Guest House and other government buildings.
In the face of mass movement, the government had to withdraw the Agartala
Conspiracy Case on 22 February 1969.
For the past 39
years politicians and the “Blame Pakistan
first” crowd have blamed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for saying “Humm iddhar tum
uddhar” (a quote which has since been refuted as bogus), and
blamed the Pakistan
Army for the attack on the Mukti Bahni militants on March 23rd as the
reason for the creation of Bangladesh.
Hasina Mujib the daughter of Sheikh Mujib Ur Rehman has now confessed
that Sheikh Mujib had planned to secede from Pakistan in 1969–two
years before the March 23rd “Military Action”
against Bharati (aka Indian) saboteurs and their misguided
supporters in Dhaka. General Mankeshaw wrote a book in which has claimed
that he recruited 80,000 Hindus to create the Mukti Bahni. These
terrorists were dressed up in Pakistan Army uniform and raped and
pillaged Bengalis. They also were dressed up as civilians carrying out acts of
sabotage against the civil and military government of Pakistan.
Hasina Mujib’s confession shed new light on the events of March 23rd, 1971
because it proves that the Agartala Conspiracy was a real conspiracy
sponsored by Bharat against Pakistan.
President Ayub Khan had indicted Sheikh Mujib Ur Rehman as a traitor.
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