Bleakest day in Pakistan’s history

Sultan M Hali

DECEMBER 16, 1971 is considered as the bleakest day in the history of Pakistan. On this day, Pakistan’s eastern wing was forcibly severed and Bangladesh was born. Hindu Brahmins were severely opposed to the division of India after the egress of British Raj from the Indian Sub-Continent. They considered partition to be the desecration of Mother India. Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru and other Congress leaders reconciled to the idea of Pakistan only when they were reassured by the last British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten that adequate steps had been taken to ensure the early disintegration of Pakistan and its return to the fold of Mother India. The Congress leaders were gleeful that when Pakistani leaders, out of bankruptcy, beg to be reunited with India, it would be under terms of total subjugation to the Hindus.
Muslims had ruled India for centuries before the advent of British rule and the Hindus could not wait for the departure of the British to avenge themselves from the Muslims. Lord Mountbatten disliked Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah because he never kowtowed to the British; his speeches, his conduct and his commitment to the cause of Pakistan was impeccable. Moreover, Mountbatten was keen on becoming the Governor General for both India and Pakistan after their independence. Mr. Jinnah saw the move as a fallacy because Pakistan was being created as an independent and sovereign country and continuing under a British Governor General was contrary to being independent of the British. Lord Mountbatten considered this as a personal slight and became vindictive. The wily Nehru had already agreed to let Lord Mountbatten rule as the Governor General of independent India.
The Boundary Commission under Sir Cyril Radcliff was influenced to exclude industrial centers, developed areas even with Muslim majority from Pakistan. Gurdaspur in Punjab, which had been awarded to Pakistan was taken away and awarded to Pakistan so that India could have a terrestrial route to Kashmir. 1,400 Kilometers of Indian territory separated East and West Pakistan, which was not only an administrative nightmare but also proved to be a crucial factor in the severance of East Pakistan. Indian forces forcibly and illegally occupied Kashmir. Pakistan tried to liberate the Valley but India approached the UN and affected a ceasefire. The assets of undivided India were to be distributed between India and Pakistan in a ratio of 64:36 but Pakistan did not receive even a fraction of its 36 percent.
Muslims in India were attacked by ravaging mobs of Hindu and Sikh fanatics and were forced to flee for Pakistan. Enroute, their caravans and trains bringing the refugees were set upon by the marauders, who looted, plundered and raped at will. The burden of receiving the tattered and torn refugees, who escaped the wrath of the assailants, housing, feeding and providing them means of sustenance also fell on the fledgling nation. It’s a miracle that Pakistan did not implode or go bankrupt. In 1965 Indian forces attacked Pakistan. Their onslaught in the west was checked after the supreme sacrifice of many soldiers from the Army and Air Force. East Pakistan would have been a walkover for India because only one Division of Pakistani army defended it. It was China that came to the rescue and warned India to lay its hands off East Pakistan.
India had started its machinations to sever eastern wing in early 1960s. Recently published Mujib’s diaries disclose that he started visiting Agartala, the border town in India, where the plot to separate East Pakistan was being hatched, since 1961. A new external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing “RAW” was created and its primary task was to disintegrate East Pakistan. It went into operation full gear, using sedition to alienate the East Pakistanis, coax them into rebellion and break away from the Federation. Callous attitude of west Pakistani bureaucracy and politicians acted as a catalyst in the movement. A guerrilla organization “Mukti Bahini” was created. Some West Pakistani soldiers indulged in high handed behaviour and even raped a few Bengali women. In retaliation, non Bengalis and west Pakistani army and police officials and their families were targeted. In January 1971, an Indian Airlines Fokker F-27 was hijacked and brought to Lahore. The incident was used as a plea to ban over flights of Pakistani aircraft over Indian territory. The logistic link between West and East Pakistan was thus badly disrupted. On March 25, 1971, Bangladesh declared independence. West Pakistani forces tried to crush the rebellion with brute force. Millions of Bengalis sought refuge in India. Using it as a plea, India attacked East Pakistan. The beleaguered Pakistani forces surrendered to India on Dec 16, 1971. After the secession, Indira Gandhi declared “Today we have sunk the Two Nation Theory of Pakistan in the Bay of Bengal.” Whatever iota of doubt may have existed of Indian involvement in the breakup of Pakistan, was removed, when in June 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared on the floor of the Bangladesh Parliament that he had participated in the war for liberation of Bangladesh. The date remains ominous, as on 16th December 2014, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) made a cowardly attack on Army Pubic School Peshawar and martyred 142 innocent children. Ample evidence of Indian involvement using Afghan territory to launch the attack is available.
Just as Sheikh Mujib was India’s pawn in the breakup of East Pakistan, now Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti is being used to liberate Balochistan. Earlier this year, RAW agent Commander Kulbhoshan Yadav was arrested from Chaman. He sang like a canary and divulged Indian plot to recruit misled Baloch youth, incite them to rebellion, train them for subversion, arm and launch them to wreak havoc in Balochistan. The plot thickens in Balochistan as India is trying to kill a number of birds with one stone. India is trying to divert international opinion from its own atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir, it is keen to sabotage the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and drive the Chinese away from the deep sea port of Gwadar. Indian plot to disintegrate Pakistan must be exposed and checked.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.
Email: sm_hali@yahoo.com