Projecting myths of 1971War

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HASSAM AHMED SIDDIQI

THE creation of Bangladesh remains one of the most painful incidents in the his tory of Pakistan. Separation of East Pakistan projected failure of politicians, military, civil society and the elite of Pakistan that has been ruling this country for decades, yet has miserably failed to work for the national interest of this country. States thrive and progress through unity, commitment and resolve for a common purpose, yet a nation with no unity and purpose to achieve can be termed an untended flock. Pakistan was created on the ideology of Two Nation theory and “La Illaha Illallah”, however dilemma of this nation lies in their vulnerability to be blackmailed by ruling elite, most of whom do not even possess basic understanding on the ideological boundaries of this state. Unfortunately, Pakistan as a nation is still haunted by the tragic episode of Dhaka Fall with a recent addition ofAPS incident in 2014. Every year, emotions of sorrow, grief and guilt are revived on 16 December across Pakistan. Statements of commitment and resolve against the enemy by the leadership, while prayers for the martyrs are held by the nation, yet we miserably fail to learn from our mistakes. Great nations learn from their past mistakes, yet a sequence of dynastical leadership in this country has miserably failed to give this nation a vision. Pakistan’s flawed political, economic and diplomatic strategies continue to remain ineffective in an anarchic world making us compromise on our nationalinterests. Pakistan has lost over 70,000 lives and over $100 billion in war on terror. India, since its inception, has plotted to damage Pakistan, most recent of which is her utmost effort to lobby for placing Pakistan in FATF blacklist. Introduction of fifth generation warfare by social media through creation of ideological disorientation, myths and propaganda to defame Pakistan and its institutions is a new fangled strategy adopted by India in addition to conventional acts of terrorism conducted by it across Pakistan. Celebration of fifty years of 1971 war to defame Pakistan through social media platforms to create ideological disorientation in the youth is a filthy approach to target a major chunk of the population. While several accounts of 1971 war have been recorded, most have adopted an accusatory approach, while very few have tried to depict Pakistan’s viewpoint.The most acknowledged myths are; exploitation ofEast Pakistan byWest Pakistan,lack of development projects by East PakistaninWest Pakistan,Agartala conspiracy case byWest Pakistan, imposition ofWest Pakistani culture on Bengalis and the initiation of Operation Searchlight by West Pakistani Establishment against the innocent civilians of East Pakistan. However, historians and analysts seldom mentionthe sacrifices oftheBihari people who sacrificed more than 30,000 of their people in 1946 during Hindu-Muslim riots while over 500,000 in the 1971 war. A major chunk of Biharis residing in different communities of Karachi, Peshawar and Islamabad still have not been awarded national identity cards. Myths created against Pakistan’s armed forcesinclude killing of three million innocent Bengalis and exclusively Hindus in East Pakistan, humanitarian intervention of Indian military in East Pakistan, 93,000 Pakistani armed forces prisoners and raping of Bengali women by PakistanArmy personnel.Allthese myths and false propaganda has not only created hatred in the minds of young generation for Pakistani security forces but has also led to an anti-establishment narrative building within the state. Affectees of this propaganda include intellectuals and well considerate personalities having influence withintheir respective communities. Unfortunately, 1971 War has not been assessed objectively due to which these myths are perpetuatedincessantly, whileincidentslike assassination ofmultiple Jamat-e-Islami people overlooked. Standing for Pakistan should be an honour for every Pakistani. However, if people who have sacrificed with their blood for Pakistan are treated with misery, GOD forbid mothers of this nation would stop giving birth to defenders and patriots of this state. Objective assessment of events prior and during 1971War need to be done so that Pakistani nation can seethe complete picture. Peoplewho have served Pakistan should be acknowledged and people who conspired against the state should be revealed. The enemy ofthe State has always been known but its many manifestations unknown until now. Time is of the essence to search, identify, isolate and deprogramme such individuals from spreading anti-state venom. —The writer works at Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), Islamabad.