Repercussions of 1971 War

Reema Shaukat

DECEMBER 16 is marked as dismemberment of East Pakistan. In December, 1971 then Indian government declared an open war against Pakistan which resulted in creation of Bangladesh. The Indian leadership had not accepted Pakistan since its creation and time and again, this traditional rival keeps on propagating against Pakistan just to water seeds of conflict. History reveals that the conflict in East Pakistan in 1971 was a political battle, which was given an ethno-linguistic articulation by political party of Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman and other Bengali nationalists.
In present day Bangladesh, political turmoil is still witnessed. Pakistan has approximately two million illegal Bengalis on its soil but has never made them scapegoat for unrest in Karachi while Bangladesh is busy profiling Pakistani visitors and workers. Similarly Bangladesh remains a highly religious country despite much touted facade of secularism and also has fair share of extremist elements. Killings of atheist bloggers are mainly due to their insulting of Islam so, Sheikh Hasina had to forbid people from anti religion statements. Earlier, she herself had to sack one of her ministers with expulsion from parliament after his derogatory remarks about the Hajj.
In 1971 scenario, use of Pakistan Army in operation Search Light was the last option to restore law and order in East Pakistan. If Pakistan military had to take over the Bengalis then it would not had kept less than two divisions’ army in East Pakistan. So is the case today that Pakistan Army has always kept its national interest at prime, whether be it operation Search light in past or Operation Zarb-i-Azb today. India during that phase organised and fully controlled Bengali movement Mukti Bahini, which was a clear example to create politico unrest. Similarly, Indian initiation of war in 1971 on the pretext of refugees proved false as this principle could not be established correct today on basis of Afghan refugees still living in Pakistan or Syrians who moved to Europe.
Claim of genocide of three millions in 1971 debacle is also an absurd fabrication. On 11 Jan 1972, Sheikh Mujeeb baselessly claimed this figure upon his arrival to Bangladesh from Pakistan whereas this claim is not covered in any of the official report. If genocide claim is to be taken as correct then from March 25 to Dec 16, 1971 (257 days), causality rate on the average comes to 11,000 per day, which is highly questionable as no neutral source ever reported confirmed atrocities at this mass scale. Atrocities did not just go one way, so no distinction between liberation fighters, innocent Bengalis, Mukti Bahinis, and Pakistanis or how many killed by Indians is available in any statistics.
Atrocities have been overplayed by Indian side by use of words as ethnic cleansing and genocide by Pak Army, whereas reign of terror by Mukti Bahini and Indian Army has been deliberately overlooked. Amnesty International and HRW have openly questioned the transparency and fairness of so called war criminal trials. In present day discriminatory policies of Awami League are aimed at pleasing Indian masters in violation to international covenants, which has been condemned by human rights organizations and international community. Such war crime trials on behest of India are making Bangladeshi society polarised as society is already facing problems by being India-locked.
One must think that the Indian mindset which doesn’t tolerate a Muslim, how can it tolerate Bangladesh as Muslim country. India is still engaged in fomenting trouble through her proxies like using BLA, TTP in Pakistan and LTTE in Sri Lanka etc.. India is denying basic human rights to its own population in lOK, Punjab, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and so many other troubled areas in its own country, which is smartly overlooked by media because of propaganda. Bangladesh has all the reasons to blame Pakistan so as to justify its creation however, events have been excessively fabricated and exaggerated either at Indian directive or for political gains.
Somehow, India does not want Bangladesh to forget about 1971 hence, continues to remind it every now and then. Pakistan and Bangladesh can either be friends or stay indifferent to each other owing to distance as well as no mutual enmity; hence, propaganda of interference holds no grounds. Water issues, border violations and smugglings between India and Bangladesh are matter of concern for both. Pakistan tends to gain nothing from instability of Bangladesh, whereas a strong and prosperous single homogenous state in such close proximity is detrimental to interests of Indian Union, so BD must graft on these streaks.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think tank based in Islamabad.
Email:reema.asim81@gmail.com

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