Tag Archives: Pakistani

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.

Advertisements

Indian influence in Pakistani media escapes Supreme Court’s attention

16 Jul

SCThe proverbial cat is out of bag and Pakistan’s populist Supreme Court has announced its decision on the Report of Media Commission. As expected, the court in its ruling made public on its website has chosen not to touch the sensitive parts of the Report. The most sensitive is dubious interest of foreigners in Pakistan’s electronic media.

There are two most sensitive issues mentioned in the Report:

a)      Pakistan Broadcasters’ Association alleged that entertainment channel Urdu 1 was owned by Rupert Murdoch and two Afghan brothers (Mohsini brothers) who were based in Dubai. This channel (Urdu 1) was granted landing right much before it went on air anywhere in the world. The trail of dubious grant of license can be traced to Musa Gilani, son of former Prime Minister and Faryal Talpur, sister of the sitting President.

a)      Media watchdog, PEMRA informed the Commission a couple of media houses are reported to have received large grants in the form of advertising contracts from overseas sources. It is said that one such grant is 20 million British pounds. Any attempt by PEMRA to probe such matters immediately leads to claims that there is an attempt to curb freedom of the media and there is always the recourse to obtaining a stay order if an inquiry is held. Most of the funds are channeled through the cover of a Norwegian NGO named Friends without Borders but it was found the footprints of this funding lead to Indian sponsors including the Indian state television, the Doordarshan.

Who is Keith Rupert Murdoch and why the Indians send their money to one Pakistani channel? If the influence of Murdoch and Indians was not checked in Pakistan, then PEMRA was in breach of trust and an accomplice in the crime of allowing foreigners making inroads into Pakistani airwaves through their money.

Keith Rupert Murdoch is an Australian American media mogul. In July 2011, he faced allegations that his companies, including the News of the World, owned by News Corporation, had been regularly hacking the phones of celebrities, royalty and public citizens. He faces police and government investigations into bribery and corruption by the British government and FBI investigations in the US. On 21 July 2012, Murdoch resigned as a director of News International.

The allegation of PEMRA that one channel (GeoTV) received huge amounts in the name of sponsorship is most disturbing. That the amounts were actually sent by Indians should have rung alarm bells in the court room and media watchdog taken to task but the Supreme Court did not utter a single word in its order. The Supreme Court could do was to order an investigation. But this very serious breach of trust on the part of PEMRA escaped the attention of the court which strengthens the perception that the said channel is enjoying strong influence in the court room.

What are the services that Geo is delivering for India? Numerous. From showing excessive Indian contents to bashing Pakistan’s ISI and armed forces for anything happening anywhere in the world. This was the first channel which blamed in unison with Indian media that Mumbai Attacks of November, 2008 were perpetrated by ISI. Not only that, it helped Indian establishment’s line that Pakistanis were involved in the attacks when it prepared a package and informed the world that Ajmal Kassab belonged to a Pakistani town Faridkot. Now when this line of propaganda has been questioned in India with Indian security officials blaming their own government, the cover of this channel has been blown off.

Why this channel bashes ISI and armed forces? Because ISI and armed forces must be weakened at the point in time when they are fighting India’s proxies in FATA, Balochistan and even in Karachi. This is something enemy does to pressurize the security establishment of the rivals and break their resolve to fight. The Pakistani channel is doing exactly the same and earning millions of dollars of Indian money it has received. The security establishment should realize that even this channel is an Indian proxy and needs to be fought. The Supreme Court owes its popularity to this channel and may not take any action or utter any word to displease it.

Death of a terrorist in jail brawl and unwarranted over-reaction of media

2 May

Sarabjit_bnew1_02052013

Sarabjit Singh, a terror convict and a RAW agent, has finally succumbed to head injuries sustained by him during a brawl with other prisoners in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail. He was awarded death penalty for killing 14 Pakistanis is terrorist attacks but he got an extended lease of life due to legal hitches which is commonplace in Anglo-Saxon law inherited by both India and Pakistan from their colonial masters. Two Indian spies, Kashmir Singh and Surjeet Singh released from Pakistani jails on humanitarian grounds also confirmed in their interaction with the media that Sarabjit, a RAW agent, was involved in terror activities inside Pakistan. This incident has taken place in Punjab jail when Sethi is the CM, in common perception a more Indian than Indians themselves.

Incidentally, Pakistani law does not allow presidential pardon for terrorists otherwise Sarabjit would have been a free man long ago.

A glance at Indian newspapers would reveal that Sarabjit’s death is the story of the year. The front pages of almost every newspaper contain screaming headlines and he is being made out a hero. Hero he was; for Indians because he was used by Indian establishment to destabilize Pakistan through a series of bomb blasts. But the most inexplicable reaction has come from the Pakistani government, the media and the so-called civil society. They have condemned his death and rightly so because every prisoner has a right to security within the jail premises. Period. No jail authority can prevent prisoners’ scuffle and it is very common even in the American jails.

The so-called liberals and a section of media are rightly upset because they have to follow the line of Indian media and Indian establishment to establish their liberal credentials which they have always been doing. The funniest reaction, however, has come from Pakistani Foreign Office which is virtually begging Indians not to take this issue seriously and hoping against hope that Pakistani prisoner in Indian jails would not be affected by this incident. Pakistani Foreign Office also hopes that this incident would not affect the relations of the two countries.

Pakistani, Kashmiri and Muslim prisoners in Indian jails are treated in a most inhuman way. A Pakistani soldier who spent four decades in Indian jail returned home with his tongue cut. But this was not made an issue by Pakistani media and even the government.

The inmates brawl is more frequent in Indian jails than anywhere in the world. The prisoner who has been convicted of terrorism becomes an object of hate. Only last year a terror suspect Mohammad Qateel Siddiqui, 27, was found murdered inside the high security Yerawada Jail of Pune. He was found strangled, allegedly after a heated brawl with two other inmates, Alok Bhalerao and Sharad Mohol. Siddiqui was arrested by the Delhi police in December 2011 for his alleged involvement in various attacks, including the bombing of the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore in April 2010 and the blasts at the Jamia Masjid in Delhi in 2010.

Pakistani government and the media should introspect for a moment; is this issue worth media attention it is being given. Forget about your Indian counterparts; they would try to extract maximum advantage out of this issue and browbeat you. Don’t forget; Indians needed this issue at this moment because they wanted to distract the attention of their people from a more serious issue of Chinese incursion into Ladakh, an area which Indians claim to be theirs.