Scars of Bangladesh independence war 40 years on

Courtesy: BBC News

Shahzeb Jillani  By Shahzeb Jillani South Asia Editor, BBC World Service


Indian army soldiers attacking Naya Chor, in Sindh in support of Bengali rebels of the liberation army during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Indian army soldiers attacking Naya Chor in Sindh in support of Bengali rebels of the liberation army during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
I was born in the middle of a cold winter night in December 1971 in Sindh, Pakistan. There was a blackout and bombs were falling.

Pakistan was losing a war and it was also losing its eastern half, separated from the rest of the country by more than 1,600km (990 miles) of India.

After nine months of internal strife and a military crackdown against Bangladeshi separatists, the full-scale war with India was swift and decisive. It lasted just 13 days.

The defeat of the Pakistani army on 16 December 1971 was a triumph for India and the Bengali insurgents it had assisted.

For Pakistan, it was perhaps the darkest moment in its history and the ultimate humiliation. The army stood accused of mass murder, torture and rape. Tens of thousands of Pakistani soldiers were taken prisoners of war.

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Even after 40 years a vast majority of Pakistani civilians is unaware of the military operations in Bangladesh.  Since the silent majority of Pakistan ignored this atrocity of its political leaders, it led to the creation of a fanatic government that tramples upon the human rights of its innocent civilians.  The sectarian violence in recent years and the ongoing persecution of minorities especially the blatant disregard of human right of Ahmadi Muslims and Christians are an offshoot of the monstrous political apparatus resulted from 1971 war.   So it is imperative that the Pakistani silent majority investigates the facts of the war and make its government accountable for its mistakes.    Bangladesh has taken the bold step to start a war tribunal where the collaborators of 1971 that led to the massacre of thousands of civilians are brought to justice.  We encourage both the Islamic governments of Pakistan and Bangladesh to present to the world good example of Islamic teachings as they deal with each other and their own citizens.  We cannot change the past but we can learn from history that without absolute justice there will be no peace and Martin Luther King Jr eloquently expressed that injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere.  Allah has Mercy on these two nations!

4 replies

  1. Why did Bangladesh need to be independent? Was it not because Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto did not want to admit that democratically the leadership of Pakistan could have / should have gone to a Bengali?

    May be some Pakistani or Bangladeshi may like to comment on that aspect?

  2. Rafiq sb. who else better can write this article than a man himself Whose own family member was shot while being in the state of Namaz!
    Rabbi sb. I am sorry for your loss, may ALLAH(swt) place your grand father place in heaven and may Allah(swt) bestow positions of higher dignity and authority to all the descendants of your grand father, than what he held himself. Aameen

    We all have some scars from past, some pain, untold stories. Real incidents of different treatment for our race, religion, sect, language, culture, ethnicity and the list is endless. Being a muslim i may say everything in this world is bound to perish and no class of people will reign for ever is what Quran tells us. “Change is constant” is what Shri Krishna(as) said in Gita. May ALLAH(swt) give consolation and restore peace and tranquility to all Bangladeshi Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and everyone else. Aameen

    “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Gautam Buddha(as)

  3. Continuing with the example of Gautama Bhudda (as) who mentioned that one cannot reach Nirvana, the perfect spiritual state, until one completely purify oneself. Islam elaborates on this concept of purification through repentance and istighfar. So the point is we need to learn from major conflict is acknowledge our mistake, repent and only then we can reach the purification as an individual and as a nation.

    In a Liqa mal Arab (Arabic Q&A), Khalifatul Masih IV (ru) mentioned one of the reason why Huzoor thinks Ahmadiyyat was declared non-Muslim in 1974 is because Bhutto wanted to show the nation that although Pakistan failed to save East Pakistan (i.e Bangladesh) from the Hindus (i.e. Indians), he will save Islam from the “Qadianis” to re-gain his personal and the national self-respect. So in essence, when one monstrous injustice was ignored by the nation, Bhutto embarked on a new one and now we know why the Mullahs are so powerful in Pakistan. In short, the 1971 had created monsters among the politicians in Pakistan and since no one protested these monsters turned against Pakistan’s own citizens!

    As far as Bangladesh is concerned, it had no choice but to defend the democratic rights of the people whose elected Prime Minister, Late Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was not handed over the power after the election. There were some concerns with the validity of the polls but Prime Minister (Bhutto) should not have sent the army to attack the civilians if he doesn’t agree with the polls. It reminds of some of the Arab dictators during the recent Arab uprising! In any case, Bangladesh is born regardless of so many of her shortcomings, it is the only Muslim nation currently in the world that is promoting a secular democracy i.e. separation of Mosque and State. In addition, we should be happy and pray that the current administration conduct the War Tribunals without any partiality and the main culprits are brought to justice with a fair trial.

  4. Agreed to above and Ameen for justice. Lets keep the positive outcome of the events in mind and work for greater good of ummah and let us all focus together to bring all of ummah under the oasis of Khilafat. Insha Allah.
    On a separate note, thought of sharing some of the prominent news paper websites of west bengal(India). I cannot read bengali, thought you might help us all get some news and facts from there.
    Although there are many English news daily focusing on there, but they hardly go deep into the lives and issues of people.
    Jazakh Allah khair.

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