Farcical myth of genocide of Bengalis during 1971 War | By Asad Ali

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Farcical myth of genocide of Bengalis during 1971 War

BANGLADESH is continuously violating Delhi Agreement signed between Pakistan, Bangladesh and India in 1973 where it was agreed that none of the party will proceed with plans to indict alleged war criminals.

However, India kept on propagating against Pakistan violating diplomatic norms and values for petty gains.

Whereas records of human right violation by Indian forces and Bengali nationalists is on record but India and Bangladesh shamelessly dub Pakistani forces who had legitimate right to maintain law and order by taking action against Anti-state elements.

Recently, Saida Muna Tasneem, Bangladesh’s envoy to UK, urged British Parliament to pass a motion recognizing one of genocides by Pakistani forces in 1971 which reflects that Bangladesh doesn’t want to move forward in relationship with Pakistan at Indian behest.

Bangladesh’s envoy in a virtual summit with University College London urged British Parliament to endorse this genocide and to condemn Pakistani atrocities during the Liberation War.

In 1971, Pak Army launched ‘Operation Searchlight’, which kick started hunting of anti-state elements resulting in peace in the province following a full-scale war by India after failure to achieve its goal with the help of Mukti Bahni terrorists.

As a matter of fact, Bengali guerrillas fighting against Pakistan were engaged in massive human rights violations, a series of targeted killings, massacres and organized rape of women in East Pakistan.

A recently aired drama on some TV Channels of Pakistan ‘Jo Bichar Gaye’ and ‘Khwab Toot Jateyhain’ adeptly depict out state of affairs of West Pakistan and the circumstances under which Pakistani military officials launched ‘operation search-light’.

Archer Blood, former US Counsel General in Dhaka, sent a telegram in 1971, to Washington, which came to be known as “Blood Telegram”.

The telegram denounced inaction of the US Administration on brutal genocide taking place in East Pakistan.

Mukti Bahni and stooges of Awami League committed mass victimization of Beharis, pro-Pakistani Bengalis and West Pakistani people with intent to destroy their faith, social position, and self-esteem.

Pakistan’s government should take serious note of it by calling Bangladeshi envoy in Islamabad to Foreign Office to record the protest.

Earlier, incumbent Awami League tried many of Bengalis and sentenced them to death without prosecuting them on merit which was again violation of Delhi Agreement.

Many international organizations raised fingers on the so-called fair trial of many Bangladeshis who sided with Pakistan being son of the soil.

A few years back, International Crimes Tribunal for Bangladesh handed down death sentences to Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan for their part during civil war in 1971.

The two men were charged with being leaders of Al-Badar offshoot of Jamaat-e-Islami, a group that supported Pakistani military.

In 1971, it is alleged, Al-Badar took professors, journalists, and other intellectuals away from their houses at gunpoint; many of their bodies were later found in a mass grave.

Similarly, Syed Qaisar, Motiur Rahman and Mir Quasem, leadersof the Jamaat-e-Islami group became convicted of war crimes by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal fabricated charges.

There have been 15 convictions receiving a death sentence also including Abdul Quader Molla, an Assistant Secretary General of the Jamaat.

Jamaat-e-Islami, now a key member of the opposition alliance against the Awami League government, has argued that the trials represent a political vendetta against the party.

Four decades of rehabilitation and amnesty of war criminals have made people impatient, rejecting questionable concerns about fair trials but the Haseena regime in Bangladesh is exploiting the matter for political gains and to gratify the Indian designs against Pakistan.

According to Sarmila Bose’s book Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War, the number lies somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 which has been falsely claimed beyond three million by Awami League.

Indian journalist Nirmal Sen claims that the total number killed was about 250,000 and among them, about 100,000 were Bengalis and the rest were Biharis.

A 2018 paper by Christian Gerlach concluded that overall deaths due to the war in East Pakistan slightly exceeded half a million and could not have exceeded 1 million.

These reports have already exposed the ugly face of India and Bangladesh but still they feel no shame in tarnishing the image of Pakistan. Very little has been talked about the killings of non-Bengalis.

In early March 1971, 300 Biharis were slaughtered in rioting by Bengali mobs in Chittagong alone. When the war broke out in 1971, the Biharis sided with the Pakistani Army.

When the war finished Biharis faced severe retaliation, resulting in counter-genocide and the displacement of over a million non-Bengalis.

According to The Minorities at Risk Project the number of Bihari killed was about1,000. International estimates vary between 20,000 and 200,000.

In June 1971, Bihari representatives stated that 500,000 Biharis were killed by Bengalis. R J Rummel gives a prudent estimate of 150,000 killed.

After the war, Government of Bangladesh confiscated the properties of the Bihari population.

If government of Bangladesh wants to prosecute those involved in war crimes during the war of 1971, it should be impartial.

Haseena government obviously has evil intentions otherwise it could have also given chance to the fair trial of Awami League members who killed non-Bengalis out of cold blood.

In nutshell, this unethical drive against Pakistan is nothing but a farcical myth of genocide for political point scoring.

—The writer is Islamabad based expert on strategic affairs.

 

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