December 16, a black day in Pakistan’s history


Salahuddin Haider

SURE it is. Much that one would like to forget, he or she can’t succeed, for 16th December is sad reminder of the surrender of our 93,000 officers and soldiers in erstwhile East Pakistan in 1971, and the same day in 2014 Army Public School in Peshawar saw massacre of 149 innocent souls in a terrorist attack that can never be erased from memory.
India, which since inception could not reconcile with its division or Pakistan’s creation, was behind both these grim tragedies. Among the victims were 132 students between 8 to 12 or 13 years of ages, their school principal and a laady teacher, who could easily have escaped death, but refused to leave the children alone in that hour of peril, and had their names written in the annals by their supreme sacrifice.
Indian hostility to Pakistan is too wll known to be recounted, but ignoring late Mrs Indira Gandhi’s role as prime minister of India in dividing Pakistan can never be overlooked. She toured the world pleading for help against Pakistan’s military action, finally finding former Soviet Union as its helper and supplier of sophisticated weaponry, Sam missiles included that proved fatal in the end. Pakistan was member of Seato and Cento but the John Foster Dulles philosophy to use Pakistan in defence pacts against Communist countries became a hurdle for us, for we were prevented from using the American military equipment against India. The argument advanced by Washington was that arms given to Pakistan was for use against communist countries alone.
Despite that handicap, Pakistani officers and troops displayed exemplary courage and bravery. Since I was witness to fall of Dhaka, being barely 15 to 20 yards away from the spot chosen for General A K Niazi to sign the instrument of surrender. Before that during the year-long 1970 election campaign I had on numerous occasions been frequenting the country’s beloved eastern wing. During visits to Dhaka,Chittagong, Pabna, Khulna, Nawakhali, or Sylhet, I could see our troops, standing for hours in ankle to knee deep water in the marshy quagmire, without air cover, setting rare example of gallantry,and courage. Theirs was a lesson for many a soldiers facing difficult times in wars. Many of them had leeches sticking to their legs, sucking blood, and yet the formation was never broken.
India had remained involved in conspiring against Pakistan since day one, a fact repeatedly stressed. No point discussing the role of players involved in the sordid boon, certain facts, however, need to be emphasized, and re-emphasised, for historical records. Mukti Bahini was sponsored by India to create unrest in East Pakistan. It killed and raped Bengalis by impersonating themselves as Pakistani soldiers. The fact remains that Indian soldiers who had intruded into East Pakistan from more than half a dozen areas, portrayed themselves as Mukti Bahinis, and indulged in a carnage that will continue to disturb human memory for long, long time to come. 43 years later, India again chose the same day(16 December) for the barbaric act of killing innocent children and teachers of APS Peshawar.
India has been fanning terrorism in Pakistan by supporting and funding the terrorist outfits; case in point is confessional statement of Kulbhusan Jadav. Pakistan has recently shared a dossier, comprising of tangible evidences regarding Indian involvement in Balochistan and Pakistan through terrorist outfits. At the world level, Pakistan’s stance has been accepted and endorsed via BBC’s report over Disinfo lab revelations. It has exposed the Indian covert designs of influence operations against Pakistan. More than 750 fake media outlets and dozens of fake NGOs were established to propagate against Pakistan and to hit our economic progress as well as CPEC.
Pakistan army, had done its job marvellously well, restoring peace in troubled territories, and clearing Dhaka and other cities of Indian-trained Mukti Bahinis. Politicians failed to take advantage of favourable situation. In fact Yahya Khan and others remained oblivious of the ideal time which Pak army has brought them to their feet. Political dialogue, an essential ingredient for peaceful solutions to problems, was conveniently overlooked.
Peoples Party founder-chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, flown into Pakistan from New York by a special flight, took over reigns of the government on December 20, 1971, and started to rebuild Pakistan brick by brick, finally succeeding in winning a massive 104 votes in favour of Pakistan at the UN General Assembly. Both EastPakistan tragedy and APC attack of Peshawar were part of Indian plans to destabilize Pakistan. The plan continues to be in operation. But Pakistan army, is conscious of its obligations to defend the motherland.