Tag Archives: Pakistan Army

The “genocide” in East Pakistan of 1971: Separating facts from fiction

15 Dec

Molla

Hussain Saqib

Recent executions of pro-Pakistan JI activists by Bangladeshi government of Hasina Wajid has opened up fresh controversies about who had perpetrated the so-called genocide in the events leading to cessation of eastern wing of Pakistan in 1971. History is the best judge though nations and groups try to justify their deeds and misdeeds on the strength of rhetoric for the time being. What Abdul Qadir Molla and others like him have done to earn this fate 42 later is what any patriotic citizen should have done; fighting a foreign force of insurgents to protect his own country. But the question of atrocities in East Pakistan in what has now turned out to be an India-funded separation movement is much wider and cannot be answered in Molla episode alone.  

There could be no denying the fact that there was political victimization of Bengalis, the largest ethnic group and by far more politically literate community. In the UP-dominated bureaucracy and Punjabi armed forces ruling the roost, Bengalis did not get a fair share of natural resources and political clout that they deserved. Their disappointment with the Central government was, therefore, justified and had there been a true constitutional democracy in vogue, it would right political wrongs. This is a fact borne-out by history; but rest is all fiction.

India had set its sights on East Pakistan from the very beginning and was looking for an opportunity to sow the seeds of discord between Bengalis and the rest of the country. The initial mandate of India’s Research and Analysis wing (RAW) was to work for separation of East Pakistan on the basis of perceived and doctored, largely exaggerated, accounts of maltreatment with Bengalis. Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, the founder of Bangladesh and father of incumbent prime minister was recruited by RAW as early as 1960s and he was the major player for dismemberment of Pakistan which took place a decade later.

Details of what happened to East Pakistan under the RAW and its so-called Mukti Bahini, claimed to be composed of freedom fighters, can be read in a blog post titled: Fall of East Pakistan and massacre of Bengalis and non-Bengalis by RAW and Mukti Bahini. Mukti Bahini was not all about “freedom fighters” alone. It was trained and led by RAW with RAW operatives manning this insurgent organization. It not only massacred non-Bengalis and pro-Pakistan Bengalis, it also killed and raped Bengali population. And they did all this while wearing the uniform of Pakistan army to drive a wedge between people and the armed forces.

The claim that three million Bengalis were massacred in 1971 has now been questioned through a very well researched book of a Bengali author, Sarmila Bose herself. In her book, Dead Reckoning, she has calculated the figure of dead between 50,000 to 100,000. This includes miscreants largely brought in from India, some Bengali non-combatants and non-Bengalis who had adopted East Pakistan as their home after 1947. This also included Pakistani soldiers and their families. Bose claimed that fewer, sometimes far fewer, died than claimed.

According to a review of the book by Martin Woollacott published in the Guardian, when she underlines how stretched the Pakistani forces were, how unready they were for the role of suppression that was thrust on them, and how perplexed they were in the face of a Bengali hostility that seemed to them so disproportionate, what she writes rings very true. According to this review, the wider revision of the conflict’s history she implies exonerates the Pakistani government of any plot to rule the east by force, suggests that the Bengali leader Sheikh Mujib-ur Rahman let the genie of nationalism out of the bottle but could not control it, and insists that the conflict was a civil war within East Pakistan. The killings by Bengalis of non-Bengali minorities, of Bengalis who stuck with the idea of a united Pakistan, and even of some Hindu Bengalis – all of whose deaths were attributed at the time to the Pakistani army – needs to be reckoned in any fair balance.

A dispassionate analysis of history shows the facts in clear light four decades later; the movement to separate East Pakistan was not home-grown, it was funded, fanned and manned by India’s RAW, the figures of casualties were doctored and largely exaggerated, those killed and raped were both Bengalis and non-Bengalis and the killing was not perpetrated by Pakistan and its army. It is the verdict of history that massacre of 50,000 to 100,000 Pakistanis was carried out by the RAW. Patriotic Pakistanis who fought the foreign insurgents were in their national right to fight and the case of Molla and others like him stands vindicated by history. He has been executed 42 years later on trumped up charges and on political rhetoric by a kangaroo court. The motives of his killing are no more wrapped in mystery.

Do we deserve valiant soldiers like Maj Gen Sanaullah?

17 Sep

SanaPakistani armed forces have sacrificed their lives and limbs; more than 5,000 dead and countless having lost limbs, thus becoming disabled for the rest of their lives. More than 5,000 top-of-the-line human material including generals, senior commanders, junior leaders and foot soldiers, were lost in an endless war to save the country and its system. All of them died so that those ruling this hapless country can trade their blood for their political interests. All of them died so that the scions of political elite can sit on their fat asses making deliberations how best to milk this country for their personal ends. And do not forget more than 50,000 civilian, that callously described as collateral damage,  who died for nothing except to give the savage animals, the terrorists, a position of strength, to be able to tell the State (read: coward leaders) to get out of their way so that they can regroup and strengthen themselves to spill more blood at will.

The real stakeholders to decide how to deal with the menace of terrorism are the family members of those 60,000 killed and countless injured and disabled. They are the ones to say yes to pardoning the killers or punishing them.

The reaction of corrupt politicians of all hues has this far been downright insulting for the nation. Every act of terrorism was condemned without condemning the terrorists by name. The latest incident in which the military commander of Swat and his deputy were killed in their own areas of responsibility is the most tragic by all standards. Look at the callous reaction of the polity; no one had the guts to condemn the terrorists by name. Not that the terrorists were unknown; there they were claiming that they had done it; the savage animals of TTP. But the State (read: coward politicians) did not have the courage to say that they condemn TTP for this act of violence.

Thinking majority of people wonders at time; why the soldiers are making supreme sacrifices when their status is not equivalent to even the political thugs killed by law enforcers and instantly branded as martyrs. The answer is not difficult to seek; they are trained to live and die for national cause. But they are not the mercenaries of loud-mouthed politicians who can glorify their deeds. They are a part of a voiceless fraternity. They are the naukri pesha, as dubbed by the most corrupt prime minister of Pakistan, who are being paid to die.

This nation and its scheming leaders do not deserve the soldiers dying for nothing; whose blood is just a commodity to trade for dirty political ends.

Time for Imran Khan to learn ABC of statesmanship

15 Sep

ttp-mullahPakistan’s immature and angry politician, Imran Khan has been screaming at the top of his voice demanding to pull out army from terrorists-infested Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA). As the decision about FATA rests with the federal government where he is not a decision maker, he has proceeded to implement the demand in his own province. The government of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province ruled by his party has approved phased withdrawal of army from Swat area. Unmoved by his generosity, the terrorists returned the favor by launching attack on a convoy of Pakistan Army killing a major general and a lieutenant in a roadside Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The officers, identified as Major General Sanaullah and Lieutenant Colonel Tauseef, were undertaking a routine patrol and were returning from Pakistan Afghanistan border after meeting the troops deployed on border posts.

The worst fears that Swat Valley was being handed over to Pakistani Taliban through this decision on Saturday were confirmed the very next day. The area is adjacent to Swat district and is a part of the valley where army launched a military operation in 2009 to flush out TTP terrorists under Mulla Fazlullah, also known as Mullah Radio for his fiery speeches through an illegal FM channel. After successful operation, the peace was restored in the area and the terrorists fled to Nuristan province of neighboring Afghanistan. Swat TTP has no means to return to this area except through sympathetic politicians. Emboldened by the cowardice of the politicians, they attacked a military convoy thinking the area will be theirs in next couple of weeks.

Even the FATA terrorists have taken a cue from Imran Khan’s word of support. Their preconditions to come to negotiation table include pulling out of army from tribal areas. The stance of Pakistan’s politicians to appease the terrorists through the offer of dialogue has emboldened them. Though the government did not attach any precondition to dialogue offer like cessation of attacks or laying down the arms, the Pakistani Taliban demanded Sunday that the government release militant prisoners and begin withdrawing troops from the group’s tribal sanctuary before they participate in peace talks, raising doubts about prospects for negotiations. The demand that Pakistan Army be pulled out from FATA, a restive tribal region, was first made by Imran Khan who is also known as Taliban Khan for his sympathies with the terrorists. Pulling out the army would effectively mean that the government has recognized terrorists’ writ in the area they hold as their safe haven. The resolution offering olive branch to terrorists has already been dubbed as an instrument of surrender by analysts.

The puzzling question is; why Imran Khan is making such demands which only favor the enemies of the State? This has not even been demanded by the principal stakeholders of tribal areas; the tribes themselves. They want the state to deliver them from the clutches of TTP and their atrocities. Let’s assume that he has no sympathies for the terrorists and he has his heart for the State of Pakistan. But then the question arises as to why he makes such demands. Is he a spoiler? Or does he need a lesson or two in the fundamentals of statesmanship?

 

Are Indians misreading Nawaz Sharif’s statements about Pakistan army?

5 Jun

NSIs India so sure that Mr. Nawaz Sharif nurtures a grudge against Pakistan army and ISI that it found it appropriate to fire its first salvo against the agency on the very day he was to get elected? And just look at the allegation; ISI is trying to revive Sikh militancy and Indian youth are being trained in ISI facilities to carry out terror attacks in the country. This accusation was hurled by no less than the Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde. He said there have been significant developments on the Sikh militancy front and its commanders based in Pakistan are under pressure from the ISI to further the Pakistani intelligence agency‘s terror plans not only in Punjab but also other parts of India.

Mr. Sharif may have dropped some hints that he would investigate Kargil and Mumbai but did he ever mean that he’d welcome to be dictated by the Indians? The Indians, it seems, are misreading his statement, or are not familiar with ground realities. Whatever grudge Nawaz Sharif or his party have against the 1999 coup or the Kargil adventure, it is against one person; Musharraf, and not against the institutions. They’d have no grudge if they had not been dethroned. History suggests that Mr Bhutto tried to humiliate the armed forces after he came to power. First he pressured army not to let Mujeeb take over as PM even though he was in majority, then after Fall of Dacca, he left no stone unturned to reduce the humiliated and demoralized force into a toothless army. He further humiliated the institution by appointing a COAS who he himself used to call a “monkey general”. He had to pay for his arrogance heavily; with his life.

Mr Sharif may have felt hurt by the treatment meted out to him post-1999 but he is no fool. He will tread with caution and being a hardcore Punjabi, he knows fully well that his major support base, Punjab, will not approve of his anti-army overtures. Remember the joy of deliverance when he was dismissed in 1999?

India has also blamed that Sikh youth based and settled in Europe and the US were also being motivated towards militancy and a large quantity of arms, ammunition and explosives, including RDX have managed to find its way into Punjab through the borders.

What they blame Pakistan for doing in Punjab is already being done by Indians in Balochistan. Who is training and arming Baloch youth in Afghanistan and who is paying for BLA leadership’s expensive living in UK and Switzerland? Who has been training the sharpshooter of a politico-terrorist outfit of Pakistan’s port city belonging to a certain ethnic community in 1980s? And who has invested heavily in Afghanistan to fund, arm and sustain TTP elements fighting against Pakistan? And if ISI is trying to pay back, it only shows that it is doing its jobs efficiently, media and judiciary bashing notwithstanding.

Some months ago, Deccan Chronicle reported that the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), has in a classified report submitted to the government warned that Pakistan’s ISI, as part of its new strategy, has started surrounding India from all neighboring countries -Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and even Burma -by setting up modules for its agents who in turn promote and sponsor subversive activities against India. This new trend is extremely significant as Pakistan’s dependence on countries like Nepal and Bangladesh for using them to launch anti-India activities is reducing. And instead Pakistan’s ISI is looking at expanding its network in Sri Lanka and Burma. While warning New Delhi’s security top-brass the RAW document states that ISI has already established a formidable network in both Nepal and Bangladesh and it is now focusing on other neighboring countries of India like Sri Lanka and Burma. This way, the ISI will completely surround India with its agents and can launch them into the country from anywhere.

If the contents of RAW’s report have correctly been reported, then it means it is being checkmated by ISI. But Pakistan has not armed and funded any separatist movement in mainland India. The insurgencies of the Red Corridor and the Seven Sisters are homegrown and Pakistan has nothing to do with it. The one in Indian-held Kashmir is homegrown too but may have Pakistan’s moral and diplomatic support because Kashmir is the core issue and the sole cause of Indo-Pakistan tense relations for the last 66 years. Indians should not forget that Nawaz Sharif’s forefathers migrated from Kashmir and they would not be able to woo him as long as Kashmir dispute remains unresolved.