Tag Archives: 1971

Pakistan’s State of Denial

By TAHMIMA ANAM

DHAKA, Bangladesh — It was a Pakistani journalist, Anthony Mascarenhas, who gave the world the first detailed account of Bangladesh’s war of independence. In April 1971, soon after the army of Pakistan started suppressing the secessionist movement in what was then still the eastern part of the country, it invited Mr. Mascarenhas to report on the conflict, believing he would buttress the false propaganda of a just war. Mr. Mascarenhas promptly moved his family, and then himself, to Britain knowing that soon he would no longer be able to live in Pakistan.

Continue reading Pakistan’s State of Denial

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has condemned Pakistan for its reaction to the execution of war criminal Quader Mollah.

PM condemns Pak NA resolution

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this evening strongly condemned Pakistan for its reaction to the execution of war criminal Quader Mollah.

“By passing the resolution at national assembly, Pakistan has proved that it never accepted the victory of Bangladesh in the Liberation War of 1971, and they still have allies in Bangladesh

Read more » The Bangladesh Chronicle
http://www.bangladeshchronicle.net/index.php/2013/12/pm-condemns-pak-na-resolution/

GENOCIDE: The June 1971 Sunday Times essay by Tony Mascarenhas about mass murders in Bangladesh that woke up the world

By Anthony Mascarenhas, The Sunday Times

June 13, 1971 – ABDUL BARI had run out of luck.  Like thousands of other people in East Bengal, he had made the mistake the fatal mistake-of running within sight of a […] army patrol. He was 24 years old, a slight man surrounded by soldiers. He was trembling, because he was about to be shot.

“Normally we would have killed him as he ran,” I was informed chattily by Major Rathore, the G-2 Ops. of the 9th Division, as we stood on the out­skirts of a tiny village near Mudafarganj, about 20 miles south of Comilla. “But we are checking him out for your sake. You are new here and I see you have a squeamish stomach.”

“Why kill him?” I asked with mounting concern.

“Because he might be a Hindu or he might be a rebel, perhaps a student or an Awami Leaguer. They know we are sorting them out and they betray themselves by running.”

“But why are you killing them? And why pick on the Hindus?” I persisted.

“Must I remind you,” Rathore said severely, “how they have tried to des­troy Pakistan? Now under the cover of the fighting we have an excellent oppor­tunity of finishing them off.”

Read more » http://planthealth.org/article/genocide-june-1971-sunday-times-essay-tony-mascarenhas-about-pakistan%E2%80%99s-mass-murders

Via – Facebook

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More » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/mobile/world/2013/12/131212_mullah_hanged_fz.shtml

Bangladesh hangs Islamist leader for war crimes

Bangladesh executes Islamist leader for 1971 war crimes, deadly clashes erupt on streets

DHAKA: Bangladesh executed Islamist opposition leader Abdul Quader Mollah on Thursday for war crimes he committed in 1971, in a move likely to spark more violent protests less than a month before elections are due to be held.

Mollah was hanged at Dhaka Central Jail after a dramatic week. He won a reprieve on Tuesday hours before he was to be sent to the gallows. After two days of legal argument, the supreme court rejected his application for a review of the death penalty.

Hundreds of people in the centre of the capital Dhaka cheered and punched the air in celebration, underlining how Mollah’s case has divided opinion in the impoverished South Asian nation of 160 million. “Justice has been served, though we had to wait for 42 years,” said university student Afzal Hossain.

Read more » THE TIMES OF INDIA
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Bangladesh-executes-Islamist-leader-for-1971-war-crimes-deadly-clashes-erupt-on-streets/articleshow/27250280.cms

Bangladesh government passed a bill to convict the war criminals and ban Islamist’s in politics.

Bangladesh amends war crimes law, mulls banning Islamists

By Anis Ahmed

DHAKA (Reuters): Bangladesh’s parliament, meeting the demands of protesters thronging the capital, amended a law on Sunday allowing the state to appeal any verdict in war crimes trials it deems inadequate and out of step with public opinion.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators jamming central Shahbag Square for the 13th day burst into cheers amid driving rain as the assembly approved the changes.

The protesters have been demanding the death penalty for war crimes after a tribunal this month sentenced a prominent Islamist to life in prison in connection with Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

The life sentence pronounced on Abdul Quader Mollah, assistant Secretary General of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, for murder, rape and torture had stunned many Bangaldeshis.

The amendment will “empower the tribunals to try and punish any organizations, including Jamaat-e-Islami, for committing crimes during country’s liberation war in 1971”, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said after the change was approved. ….

Read more » Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/17/us-bangladesh-protest-idUSBRE91G05W20130217

Huge Bangladesh rally seeks death penalty for Islamists

Hundreds of thousands of people are rallying in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, calling for the death penalty for Islamists on trial for war crimes. The protests have been going on since Tuesday, when one of the accused, Abdul Kader Mullah, got a life sentence ….

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21383632

Riots in Bangladesh as ‘Butcher of Mirpur’ gets life for war crimes

By: Agence France-Presse

DHAKA // Riots broke out in several Bangladesh cities today after a court sentenced a Islamist opposition official to life in prison for mass murder during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan.

Abdul Quader Mollah, 64, the fourth-highest leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was the first politician to be found guilty by the International Crimes Tribunal, a much-criticised domestic court based in Dhaka.

Mollah cried out, “Allahu Akbar” and said the charges, which also include crimes against humanity, were false after the presiding judge Obaidul Hassan delivered the verdict in a crowded and tightly guarded court.

“He deserved death sentence because of the gravity of the crimes. But the court gave him life imprisonment,” said Mahbubey Alam, the attorney general, adding Mollah was found guilty of five out of six charges including mass murder.

The judgement sparked immediate protests by Jamaat, the country’s largest Islamist party which enforced a nationwide strike in anticipation of the conviction.

Continue reading Riots in Bangladesh as ‘Butcher of Mirpur’ gets life for war crimes

Bangladeshi cleric found guilty for war crimes

Bangladesh cleric Abul Kalam Azad sentenced to die for war crimes

A court in Bangladesh has sentenced a well-known Muslim cleric to death for crimes against humanity during the country’s 1971 independence war.

Abul Kalam Azad’s conviction is the first verdict handed down by the controversial tribunal. The cleric, a presenter of Islamic programmes on television, shot dead six Hindus and raped Hindu women during the war, prosecutors said.

He is thought to be in Pakistan and was found guilty in absentia. ….

Read more » BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21118998

Bangladesh asks Pakistan to apologise for 1971 genocide

Bangladesh on Friday demanded a formal apology from Pakistan for the genocide committed by its troops during the 1971 liberation war, but Islamabad said it’s time to carry forward ties “burying the past”.

During a meeting with her Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said “Bangladesh expects an apology from Pakistan for the genocide carried out by their troops in 1971”.

Continue reading Bangladesh asks Pakistan to apologise for 1971 genocide

Has Pakistan gone fascist?

Go figure!

By: Nadeem F. Paracha

There is a genuine fear among some (yes, just some) Pakistanis that their society and state is headed straight to becoming a 21st century model of fascism.

I say the fear is being noted and felt by just some Pakistanis because it seems to most of their compatriots – especially those squirming within the growing, agitated and uptight urban middle-classes – the emergence of such a state and society is actually something to do with abstract concepts like ‘national sovereignty,’ ‘honour’ (ghairat), ‘revolution’ and a ‘positive Pakistan!’

It’s like saying chronic neurosis is a pretty positive thing to have.

Recently in a sharp and pointed article, author and scientist, Pervez Hoodbhoy, clearly alluded to how the Pakistani society and state are showing signs of the kind of myopic mindset that the German society plunged into in the 1920s and 1930s, setting the scene for Hitler and his fascist outfit and mentality to become Germany’s overlords – eventually taking the nation over the brink and towards widespread destruction.

So is the Pakistani society headed in the same direction?

A number of experts and sociologists have drawn some prominent symptoms to look for in figuring out if a particular society is drifting into the clutches of fascism.

Let’s discuss a few in Pakistan’s context:

• Symptom 1: Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

Fascist societies/cultures tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

In Pakistan patriotism has been intertwined with the belief in a divine monolithic deity. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a person is singing praises of God or the state. It’s as if both are one and the same. Thus, if you are not all that enthusiastic about singing loud patriotic songs or displaying 50X10 Pakistani flags over your 5X2 office cubical, you are a traitor and/or/thus a kafir.

Continue reading Has Pakistan gone fascist?

Goodbye to 1940 Resolution by the Nation of Sindh

By: Ahmed Makhdoom

The 1940 Resolution was the basis for G.M. Syed’s decision to steer Sindh into the Federation, which will be known as ‘Pakistan!’

However, that 1940 Resolution proved to be a treachery and a dagger that stabbed the independence, language, rights and character of the nations, especially, the three nations of that Federation – Bengal, Sindh and Balochistan! 1940 Resolution has been mockingly and savagely torn into pieces by the deep security establishment of Punjab (aka Pakistan).

1971 Bengalis took their destiny in their own hands and fought for an independent state now known as Bangladesh. The nation of Balochistan has categorically stated that they have nothing to do with the deep security establishment – no more lies and fraud. Balochs are on their way to becoming a Free and Sovereign nation!

There are two choices for Sindh:

1. Remain in deep security state influenced by al-Qaeda ideology and see the extinction of the gregarious nation of Sindh, Sindhi language, vibrant Sindhi culture and brilliant way of life, glorious history and heritage and the ignominious death of Sindhi Nation and civilisation.

2. Get the hell out of deep security state of brutal agencies – and struggle for the Freedom and Independence of Sindh and save the centuries old Indus civilisation of peace, Sidnhi language, culture, history, heritage, values, way of life and Secular Sufi traditions of Sindhiyat.

Nation of Sindh should decide that no more reliance on 1940 Resolution, no more being part of this fraudulent system and no more being dictated by Punjab-dominated and al-Qaeda influenced security establishment!

Continue reading Goodbye to 1940 Resolution by the Nation of Sindh

ISI’s classic blunder in Siachen Conflict (1984)?

By: Tausif Kamal

1984 Siachen was another debacle by Pakistan Army. Shouldn’t our COAS and GOC Siachen should be held accountable and resign? Of course don’t count our shameless generals to resign in the long tradition of our Army. They did not resign upon loosing wars or even loosing half of the country. Did they resign when the GHQ was attacked, or Mehran base or Kargil or 1965 or surrendering of whole battalions to Talibans, other fiascos. Most probably they got more bonuses and DHA plots and promotions …

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, April 9, 2012.

Lollipop Azadi Da – Raj Kakra

By Omar Ali

Raj Kakra is a lyricist and singer from Punjab (East Punjab in the Pakistani lexicon) who seems to reflect a mix of Sikh nationalism ….

Read more » Brown Pundits

Solve the Pakistan problem by redrawing the map – By M. CHRIS MASON – Globe and Mail

Relations between the United States and Pakistan have reached an all-time low. The Khyber Pass is closed to NATO cargo, U.S. personnel were evicted from Shamsi airbase and Pakistani observers have been recalled from joint co-operation centres.

Much more importantly, senior officials in Washington now know that Pakistan has been playing them false since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and understand that Pakistan was sheltering Osama bin Laden a few hundred yards from its version of West Point. The recent shelling of Afghan troops inside Afghanistan by the Pakistani army, and the NATO counterstrike, cleared in error by Pakistan, has further embarrassed the Pakistani military.

Continue reading Solve the Pakistan problem by redrawing the map – By M. CHRIS MASON – Globe and Mail

BBC – Bangladesh war: The article that changed history

By Mark Dummett

On 13 June 1971, an article in the UK’s Sunday Times exposed the brutality of Pakistan’s suppression of the Bangladeshi uprising. It forced the reporter’s family into hiding and changed history.

Abdul Bari had run out of luck. Like thousands of other people in East Bengal, he had made the mistake – the fatal mistake – of running within sight of a Pakistani patrol. He was 24 years old, a slight man surrounded by soldiers. He was trembling because he was about to be shot.

So starts one of the most influential pieces of South Asian journalism of the past half century.

Written by Anthony Mascarenhas, a Pakistani reporter, and printed in the UK’s Sunday Times, it exposed for the first time the scale of the Pakistan army’s brutal campaign to suppress its breakaway eastern province in 1971.

Nobody knows exactly how many people were killed, but certainly a huge number of people lost their lives. Independent researchers think that between 300,000 and 500,000 died. The Bangladesh government puts the figure at three million.

The strategy failed, and Bangladeshis are now celebrating the 40th anniversary of the birth of their country. Meanwhile, the first trial of those accused of committing war crimes has recently begun in Dhaka. ….

Read more » BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16207201

1971 Fall of Dhaka – It is Mujib’s home distct. Kill as many bastards as u can & make sure no Hindu is left alive,”

A khaki dissident on 1971

By Colonel Nadir Ali

It is Mujib’s home district. Kill as many bastards as you can and make sure there is no Hindu left alive,” I was ordered. I frequently met Mr Fazlul Qadir Chaudhry, Maulana Farid Ahmed and many other Muslim League and Jamaat leaders. In the Army, you wear no separate uniform. We all share the guilt. We may not have killed. But we connived and were part of the same force

During the fateful months preceding the dismemberment of Pakistan, I served as a young Captain, meantime promoted to the rank of the Major, in Dhaka as well as Chittagong. In my position as second-in-command and later as commander, I served with 3 Commando Battalion.

My first action was in mid April 1971. “It is Mujib-ur-Rahman’s home district. It is a hard area. Kill as many bastards as you can and make sure there is no Hindu left alive,” I was ordered.

“Sir, I do not kill unarmed civilians who do not fire at me,” I replied.

“Kill the Hindus. It is an order for everyone. Don’t show me your commando finesse!”.

I flew in for my first action. I was dropped behind Farid Pur. I made a fire base and we fired all around. Luckily there was nobody to shoot at. Then suddenly I saw some civilians running towards us. They appeared unarmed. I ordered “Stop firing!” and shouted at villagers, questioning them what did they want. “Sir we have brought you some water to drink!”, was the brisk reply.

Continue reading 1971 Fall of Dhaka – It is Mujib’s home distct. Kill as many bastards as u can & make sure no Hindu is left alive,”

Pakistan: Retd. general running and escaping from questions

An interesting moment, Lt. General (r) Orakzai gave interview but when he was questioned about his role in October 12th military coup he started running. The reporter chased him and at the end  general asked the reporter to not to embarrass him. The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy » DAWN News Tv » YouTube

A former pupil of a Jamaat – Personal accounts of 1971

Personal accounts of 1971

By Ajmal Kamal

This month brings memories of what happened between December 1970 and December 1971 with us as a nation — or rather with the diverse groups aligned variously along all kinds of fissures trying to imagine themselves as a nation. Much has been written on those events in Pakistan, Bangladesh and elsewhere: from political analyses to cover-ups to attempts at apportioning the blame for one of the gravest man-made tragedies of the century. There are personal accounts too, but in most cases written by West Pakistani bureaucrats or military personnel who are usually more interested in painting themselves in a kind light than honestly recording what they observed. Or, they carry a heavy ideological baggage and are in a hurry to make their description look politically neat as per their bent.

Continue reading A former pupil of a Jamaat – Personal accounts of 1971

Bangladesh asks Pakistan to apologize for war

By AP

DHAKA: A senior Bangladeshi official on Sunday urged Pakistan to formally apologize for alleged atrocities and acts of genocide committed by the Pakistani military during the independence war in 1971.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dipu Moni made the demand in a meeting with Pakistan’s new envoy to Bangladesh, a statement released by the ministry said.

Aided by India, Bangladesh, then the eastern wing of Pakistan, won its independence in 1971 after a nine-month war.

Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed an estimated 3 million people, raped about 200,000 women and forced millions to flee their homes. Pakistan has disputed the allegations. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Jamaat on trial

by Farooq Sulehria

Excerpt;

Delawar Hossain Sayedee, leader of the Jamat-e-Islami in Bangladesh, has been indicted with 20 counts, including 3,000 killings, rape and arson, during Bangladesh’s nine-month-long war of liberation.

If proven guilty, Sayedee could face the death sentence. He has denied all charges against him. Sayedee will now be tried by the International Crimes Tribunal, a domestic tribunal with no United Nations role, which was set up last year to investigate war crimes in 1971. The trial begins on Oct 30.

While the role of the Pakistani military has drawn some media criticism, the Jamaat’s role in East Pakistan in 1971 has gone largely unnoticed. …..

….. The Jamaat later on began to pay lip service to East Pakistanis’ concerns, like the language issue, or their under-representation in the military.

However, as the Jamaat saw it, the real problem was East Pakistan’s Hindus, who dominated the trade, and the communists. Maulana Maudoodi urged the ulema to rid the East Pakistani masses of what he called their ignorance of Islam, because “the influence of Hindu culture over their language, dress, habits and way of thinking is so big that they have lost all sense of its being an extraneous element in their life.”

The problem, so to say, was not exploitation at the hands of West Pakistan but what the Jamaat considered East Pakistan’s lack of Islamisation.

The Jamaat contended that Bengali literature was pervaded by Hindu ideas since Tagore was the major influence on it, while the similes and proverbs of Bengali reflected Hindu thought and social way of life. Besides, Bengali literature lacked what the Jamaat called Islamic politics, economics and way of life. ….

…. The pattern in both countries has been similar. In Bangladesh the Jamaat allied itself with the military junta when Gen Ziaur Rehman came to power. Gen Zia, like his Pakistani namesake and counterpart, began to revise history and textbooks. His purpose was to minimise the role played by Sheikh Mujib in the movement and project his own imagined role in it. A revision of history equally suited the Jamaat.

The Awami League and the left forces, however, kept campaigning for a trial regarding atrocities in the 1971 war. In the last general elections, such a trial became an election issue. The Jamaat stood exposed and lost the elections.

A similar process is necessary everywhere including Pakistan to correct distortions of history. A ‘Truth Commission’ investigating not just the 1971 war but all the wars including the “Afghan jihad” and the “War on Terror”, perhaps?

To read complete article » The News

Pakistan – ‘Crush India’ 1971 mood is like ‘Crush America’ mood now: Cowasjee

– Killing the messengers

by Ardeshir Cowasjee

WE Pakistanis are determined never to learn from history. Our leaders deem ignorance to be bliss and choose to pay no attention to what the world thinks of them or of our country. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

via »  credit goes to Beena Sarwar for twitting above news @ Twitter.

The Banality of Bengal: Jyoti Rahman on the Tribulations of the Bangladeshi Hindus

by Shivam Vij

post by JYOTI RAHMAN

List of names of Hindu students and professors massacred at Jagannath Hall on night of 25th March, 1971 by the Pakistani Army.

Nirad C Chaudhuri and Jatin Sarker were both born in Hindu families in the Mymensingh district of eastern Bengal, now Bangladesh. Chaudhuri, about four decades older than Sarkar, wrote his autobiography before India held its first election, and ceased to be an unknown Indian. Sarker also wrote his life story. Unlike Chaudhuri, Sarker’s was in Bangla, published in Bangladesh, never translated in English, and not available in India or beyond. He remains unknown. Which is a pity, because if you want to know what has happened to the land where both these men were born, Sarker is a far, far better guide than Chaudhuri. ….

Read more → Kafia.org

Conduct Unbecoming – Brig (Rtd) F.B Ali

Brigadier F.B. Ali (Retd.), who fought in the ’71 war, gives his account of the events that resulted in the dismemberment of Pakistan and left behind a legacy of shame. The Supplementary Report of the 1971 War Inquiry Commission (headed by Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman) has recently been published in the magazine India Today. There is little doubt that this is a genuine document. It is unfortunate that, even though 30 years have passed, the Commission’s report has not been made public in Pakistan, and we are forced to depend on foreign sources to learn of its contents in dribs and drabs.

Continue reading Conduct Unbecoming – Brig (Rtd) F.B Ali

The judge, jury and the hangman – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

As long as the politicians cherish their perks more than the rights of the people, the ascendancy of the army is assured. Little wonder then that the armed forces in Balochistan have always acted like the judge, jury and the hangman with impunity

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in its recent report appropriately titled ‘Balochistan: blinkered slide into chaos’ has highlighted the repulsive role of the armed forces in the issue of the missing and killed persons in Balochistan. It also is scathing on the abdication of authority by the politicians to the armed forces who now decide about every aspect in Balochistan. It would have been to the everlasting credit of the HRCP if they had bluntly stated the fact that Balochistan was literally under martial law but sadly they refrained.

The countries and people that sweep their perpetrated atrocities under the carpet, hoping that by denials maybe these will be forgotten and consequences thwarted, underestimate the consequences of denial; those who refuse to accept mistakes make a habit of them. They also fallaciously start believing that their judge, jury and hangman role is justified and something to be proud of.

The fact that the atrocities and war crimes committed in Bangladesh in 1971 by the army and the state went unpunished has consequently resulted in atrocities in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A listless civil society and generally supine media has been unable to challenge or expose these atrocities. Urban extra-judicial killings too have gone unchallenged and unpunished.

The spate of blatantly state-sponsored brutal extra-judicial killings and missing persons in Balochistan, Swat, etc, would not have happened if the perpetrators of the Bangladesh atrocities had been punished. Perhaps even Bangladesh would not have happened if the 1948 Kalat assault and subsequent operations in Balochistan had been challenged and the perpetrators docked for their deeds. ….

Read more → Daily Times

What a delusion of Pakistani Army Chief..!

Wow! what a delusion! “I know East Pakistan (Bangalis) more than Bangalis know themselves” Watch, President Gen. (dictator) Yahya Khan’s interview on East Pakistan.

YouTube

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[WATCH WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE INTERVIEW OF DELUSIONAL GENERAL → PAKISTAN SURRENDERS TO INDIA IN 1971.]

The army narrative: fiction

by Dr Manzur Ejaz

The fallacious super-religious-patriotic narrative has been created by the army to preserve its superiority in the Pakistani state for perks that are not available to any other armed forces in the whole wide world.

Once again it has been proved that no one can beat Pakistan’s army in turning a military defeat into a propaganda conquest for the people of Pakistan. After the 1965 debacle and 1971 surrender in East Bengal, the Pakistan Army has concentrated less on defending Pakistan and more on refining and perfecting the Machiavellian politics and techniques of propaganda to confuse and mislead the unsuspecting masses of the country.

The US’s Abbottabad operation was a colossal failure of the Pakistan Army because first it did not know if Osama bin Laden was living next door to an elite military academy — if one accepts their claim — and then who took his dead body away unless President Obama called President Zardari. Instead of explaining its incompetence on both accounts, the military took the propaganda offensive while seeking refuge behind the civilian leaders just like the 1971 defeat and Kargil disaster. Not only that, the army chided the poor elected politicians through General Shuja Pasha, Director General (DG) Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Parliament was forced to pass an army-pleasing resolution, which had no mention of terrorism eating up the country.

The Pakistan Army, with the help of gravely uniformed and corporate media, has created a narrative for all ills in Pakistan as a consequence of the US intervention in Afghanistan. The narrative claims that the US is forcing the country to fight its war on terror while Pakistan is offering huge sacrifices for nothing. The entire narrative is constructed to provide political cover to the army’s misplaced policy goals as well as to the Taliban, al Qaeda and jihadi groups. The fact is that Pakistan has neither helped the US’s war on terror nor has it done anything more than inflicting wounds to its own body that it categorises as ‘sacrifices’. The narrative is based on fallacies that need to be examined closely.

First, Pakistan has not been dragged into the war on terror by the US only. Pakistan had become a nursery of terrorists that led to international bombings, including the dramatic incidents of 9/11, which dragged the US into the war on terror. Of course, the US was the main producer of Islamic jihadis with Pakistani collaboration, but the seeds of Islamic extremism had been put in place by General Ziaul Haq much before the American participation. As a matter of fact, seeds of religious intolerance and extremism were sown in the early 1950s by passing ‘Qarardaad-e-Maqaasid’ (the Objectives Resolution).

Second, suicide bombings in Pakistan are not only due to Pakistan’s so-called cooperation with the US. Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other jihadis had no need to use violence in Pakistan because the state was not only accommodating them but was helping them to conquer Afghanistan by all means. The religious extremist forces were going to use violent means the day the Pakistani state stood in their way. The incident of the Red Mosque is cited as a trigger for the suicide attacks and that proves the point that armed Islamist forces were going to hit Pakistan if the state put any hurdle in their way. The process was accelerated because, under US pressure, it became difficult for the Pakistani state to accommodate the religious terrorists and hence suicide bombings were unleashed on Pakistan.

Third, Pakistan has not done more to stop religious terrorism than other countries because its doings are just partial remedies for its self-inflicted wounds. According to this part of the narrative, Pakistan has done more by catching and handing over more religious terrorists to the world community than any other country. But, why were all such terrorists found in Pakistan and not in any other country in the first place? Should other countries produce more religious terrorists and then hand them over to the US to compete with Pakistan? Naturally, more terrorists will be nabbed in a country where they are found. Therefore, this part of the establishment narrative is absolutely ridiculous.

Four, Pakistan will not become a safer place if it cuts its ties with the US. However, Pakistan can become a dreadfully silent place if Islamisation and Talibanisation is given a free hand to turn it into a primitive theocratic state. If the state or the other sections of society resist Islamisation in the country, violence will accelerate, destroying every institution of the state even after Pakistan distances itself from the US. Therefore, the US or no US, religious extremism is a reality in Pakistan and has to be recognised as such.

Continue reading The army narrative: fiction

Anniversary: What if Pakistan did not have the bomb?

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has spent the last few years confined by the Pakistan Army to one of his palatial Islamabad residences where he whiles away his days writing weekly columns in newspapers. This venerable metallurgist, who claims paternity rights over Pakistan’s bomb, says it alone saves Pakistan. In a recent article, he wistfully wrote: “If we had had nuclear capability before 1971, we would not have lost half of our country – present-day Bangladesh – after disgraceful defeat.”

Given that 30,000 nuclear weapons failed to save the Soviet Union from decay, defeat and collapse, could the Bomb really have saved Pakistan in 1971? Can it do so now?

Let’s revisit 1971. Those of us who grew up in those times know in our hearts that East and West Pakistan were one country but never one nation. Young people today cannot imagine the rampant anti-Bengali racism among West Pakistanis then. With great shame, I must admit that as a thoughtless young boy I too felt embarrassed about small and dark people being among our compatriots. Victims of a delusion, we thought that good Muslims and Pakistanis were tall, fair, and spoke chaste Urdu. Some schoolmates would laugh at the strange sounding Bengali news broadcasts from Radio Pakistan.
The Bengali people suffered under West Pakistani rule. They believed their historical destiny was to be a Bengali-speaking nation, not the Urdu-speaking East Pakistan which Jinnah wanted. The East was rightfully bitter on other grounds too. It had 54% of Pakistan’s population and was the biggest earner of foreign exchange. But West Pakistani generals, bureaucrats, and politicians such as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, feared a democratic system would transfer power and national resources to the East.

Denied democracy and justice, the people of East Pakistan helplessly watched the cash flow from East to fund government, industry, schools and dams in the West. When the Bhola cyclone killed half a million people in 1970, President Yahya Khan and his fellow generals in Rawalpindi’s GHQ could not have cared less.

The decisive break came with the elections. The Awami League won a majority in Pakistan’s parliament. Bhutto and the generals would not accept the peoples’ verdict. The Bengalis finally rose up for independence. When the West Pakistan army was sent in, massacre followed massacre. Political activists, intellectuals, trade unionists, and students were slaughtered. Blood ran in street gutters, and millions fled across the border. After India intervened to support the East, the army surrendered. Bangladesh was born.

That Pakistan did not have the bomb in 1971 must surely be among the greatest of blessings. It is hard for me to see what Dr AQ Khan has in mind when he suggests that it could have saved Pakistan.

Would the good doctor have dropped the bomb on the raging pro-independence mobs in Dhaka? Or used it to incinerate Calcutta and Delhi, and have the favour duly returned to Lahore and Karachi? Or should we have threatened India with nuclear attack to keep it out of the war so that we could endlessly kill East Pakistanis? Even without the bomb, estimated civilian deaths numbered in the hundreds of thousands if not a million. How many more East Pakistanis would he have liked to see killed for keeping Pakistan together?
Some might argue that regardless of the death and destruction, using the bomb to keep Pakistan together would have been a good thing for the people of East Pakistan in the long term. A look at developmental statistics can help decide.
Bangladesh is ranked 96th out of 110 countries in a 2010 prosperity index compiled by an independent London-based think-tank, the Legatum Institute, using governance, education, health, security, personal freedom, and social capital as criteria. Pakistan is at the 109th position, just one notch above Zimbabwe. By this measure the people of the East have benefited from independence. ….

Read more : The Express Tribune

Nationalism or national policy?

by Shahab Usto

We lost half the state territory in 1971 and the other half is threatened by varied internal and external threats. But our state policy continues to reflect the same old duality: employing the security apparatus and building the artefacts of nationalism.

Though our economic team is busy mending the torn deal with the IMF and the military and political leaderships are busy with their US counterparts to reset the button of the Pak-US cooperation shut by the Abbottabad operation, a well-calibrated nationalist fever has touched new heights. The joint parliamentary resolution talks of cutting off NATO/ISAF supplies; the Punjab government has denounced foreign aid, of course without explaining how it would run the foreign-funded projects given the poor health of its finances; the ‘patriotic’ brigade is calling for ending relations with the US and opting for China; and Imran Khan is out staging dharnas (sit-in protests) against the Pak-US alliance on the war on terror.

Yet no one has come up with a blueprint of our national policy dealing with the war on terror and the myriad socio-political crises, using the ‘rare’ national unity that has come about in the wake of the US Abbottabad operation. The same old trick is being played upon us that the monarchs, generals and populists have played in history: using nationalist sentiments to hide rather than resolve national crises. We must avoid this trap because nationalism could be both a reality and an artefact. Let us pick up a few lessons of history to make this point.

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