Tag Archives: Dhaka

Dhaka summons Pakistani envoy, lodges protest over FO statement

BY AGENCIES | MATEEN HAIDER

ISLAMABAD: Bilateral relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh received another blow when Bangladeshi government summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner Shuja Alam and lodged strong protest over the statement made by Foreign Office, terming it an interference into internal matters of Bangladesh.

Alam was summoned at the Bangladeshi foreign ministry in Dhaka on Monday to register protest against the statement issued by Islamabad over the executions of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader and Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general — who were both charged with 1971 war crimes.

“Yes, High Commissioner Shuja Alam was called at the foreign ministry,” an official at Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka told Dawn.com via phone.

Read: Pakistan deeply disturbed by Bangladesh executions: FO

The official further said that Alam was conveyed displeasure of the Bangladeshi government by acting foreign secretary Meezan-ur-Rehman who said executions in connection with 1971 is the internal matter of Bangladesh.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1221715

Former girlfriend ‘forgives’ Bangladesh hero Rubel in rape case

By AFP

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi actress who filed a rape case against cricket star Rubel Hossain said Tuesday she was withdrawing the charges against the fast bowler, a day after his match-winning heroics at the World Cup.

Naznin Akter Happy, 19, made the rape allegation earlier this year after claiming 25-year-old Rubel had reneged on a promise of marriage that he made while they were having an “intimate affair”.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1168651/

Pakistani diplomat expelled from Dhaka

By Mateen Haider

ISLAMABAD: In a fresh diplomatic row between Pakistan and Bangladesh, a Pakistani High Commission official based in Dhaka was declared persona non grata by the Bangladeshi government and was asked to leave the country.

“Diplomatic official Mazhar Khan was charged by Bangladesh’s foreign ministry of running an illegal Indian currency business in Dhaka beside alleged links with militants,” a diplomatic source told Dawn.com.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasneem Aslam also confirmed the incident and said the official has reached Islamabad.

Read more » DAWN
Learn more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1161488

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

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: 10 jihadis to hang for assisting in a suicide bombing that killed 8 people

Ten Bangladesh militants are condemned to death

A court in Bangladesh has sentenced 10 Islamist militants to death for assisting a suicide bombing in 2005 which killed eight people near a courthouse in the town of Gazipur. Police at the time described it as the country’s first suicide bombing.

The condemned men, all members of the banned JMB militant group, showed no remorse after a judge sentenced them in a crowded Dhaka courtroom.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22983209

“INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY AND LINGUISTIC ISSUE IN PAKISTAN”

By Dr. Ali Gul Metlo

The linguistic issue has been haunting Pakistan since its very beginning. The grave error was made by none other than the founder of the country Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah himself by declaring Urdu as the national language before a very charged Bengali audience in Dhaka. Ignoring all the native languages over an alien language to the newly formed realm of Pakistan. He and the rulers after him failed to comprehend the very strong Bengali sentiment and other ethnicities sentiments for their mother tongues and their cultural affinities. The edifice which was built on wrong foundations only made further divisions with the time. Instead of heeding to the demands for rightful status of native languages, the biased and visionless rulers of the newborn country were aiming to appease the Indians who were considering Urdu to be just an alias of their Hindi language with a different script. With this background a sane voice was made aloud.

In 1999 UNESCO declared February 21 as International Mother Language Day.

On 9th February 1951, Sir Sultan Agha Khan while addressing a session of Motamer al-Alam-al-Islamiyya in Karachi, said ‘’Your choice in Pakistan of Urdu will in no way ameliorate or help your relations with your neighbour, nor will it help the Muslim minorities there in any conceivable way. Howsoever you may add Arabic and Persian words to Urdu, there is no denying the fact that the syntax, the form, the fundamentals of the language are derived from Hindi and not from Arabic.’’

He further argued: ‘’Is it a natural and national language of the present population of Pakistan? Is it the language of Bengal where the majority of Muslims live? Is it what you hear in the streets of Dacca or Chittagong? Is it the language of the North West Frontier? Is it the language of Sindh? Is it the language of the Punjab? Certainly after the fall of the Moghal Empire, the Muslims and Hindus of certain areas found in it a common bond. But now today other forms of bridges must be found for mutual understanding.’’

Pointing to its history Sir Agha Khan said: ‘’Who were the creators of Urdu? What are the origins of Urdu? Where did it come from? The camp followers, the vast Hindi-speaking population attached to the Imperial Court who adapted, as they went along, more Arabic and Persian words into the syntax of their own language just as in later days the English words such as glass and cup became part of a new form of Urdu called Hindustani. Are you going to make the language of the Camp, or of the Court, the national language of your new-born realm?’’

The Agha Khan’s advice fell on deaf ears and visionless rulers who were unable to take its notice. However the language movement in Bengal grew steadily. Instead of correcting the policy the government outlawed the protests and resorted to violence in Bengal. It was 21 February, 1952 when the peaceful protesters in Dhaka University were fired upon resulting in numerous killings. The sacrifices made by Dhaka University students became an icon not only for the Bengali language but also for the disadvantaged languages of the whole world with the passage of time. The February 21, was ultimately proclaimed to be as the International Mother Language Day in November 1999 by UN.

The day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. Learning from the 21 February 1952 incident in Dhaka, the world made it a point to ameliorate the linguistic problems globally, whereas in Pakistan the situation went worse with the time and lead to disaster after disaster, the biggest one world witnessed was on 16 December 1971 in the breakup of the country.

In Sindh where Sindhi language was in very well advanced position as compared to other languages of West Pakistan suffered the most. Long before the partition, Sindhi was the official language and medium of education. Historically very rich and having literally dynamic traditions. These were the very reasons Sindhi was targeted ruthlessly as soon as Pakistan came to being. Its cities which were booming with cultural and economic activities were vacated through state sponsored violence and imposing black laws. City of Karachi was detached from Sindh. Capital of Sindh was shifted to Hyderabad.

Hundreds of Sindhi medium schools were closed, its use in offices and courts was banned, radio Pakistan stopped broadcasting Sindhi music and other programmes in Sindhi etc. Then came the one unit in 1955 when Sindhi was completely declared an outcaste. Sindhi literary activities and publications were declared anti state. Even postal letters bearing word Sindh were not delivered. Sindh striked back and reacted with extreme anger and full vigour in 1960s, by abruptly challenging the multiple socio-cultural, linguistic, political and economic blows and shocks of last two decades. Resulting in the birth and rapid rise of modern Sindhi patriotism.

The linguistic issue in Pakistan has been intricately knotted with the cultural, socio economic and democratic rights of the people. Languages bring people closer and bring about socio economic and political harmony. This natural cementing element was callously suppressed to serve and to further the vested interest of an insignificant alien minority. Without acknowledging linguistic rights economic, political and human rights are inconceivable. Under the cover of making Urdu as so called national language the jobs, politico-economic and cultural rights were usurped with a trickery and fraud by this well established and experienced clique. The struggle continued against these excesses by the deprived and excluded sections of masses. One Unit was undone. Bengalis achieved independence at the cost of massive human tragedy.

Continue reading “INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY AND LINGUISTIC ISSUE IN PAKISTAN”

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

The Female Factor: Bangladesh Protests Break Boundaries

By: Anushay Hossain

It is over a week now that crowds refuse to die down in Shahbagh Square in the heart of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

While most of the “western media” has either ignored the swelling numbers of ordinary Bangladeshis joining the movement, others have wrongly labeled it as a mass demand for capital punishment.

This is perhaps the biggest misconception about what is happening in Bangladesh right now, that these historic protests are somehow a stamp of the public’s thirst just for capital punishment. Could anything be more incorrect or insulting?

Earlier this week, I wrote about how Bangladeshis joined in rare solidarity to demand the death penalty for the leader of the country’s largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, well-known war-criminal, Abdul Quader Mollah. His sentencing to life in prison triggered Bangladeshis to put aside their political differences, and unite against Mollah.

Continue reading The Female Factor: Bangladesh Protests Break Boundaries

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

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

Pakistani general ‘Tiger Niazi’ was obsessed to change the “Nasl of buzdil Bengalis”

‘Genetic engineering’ in East Pakistan

By Khaled Ahmed

Pakistan’s name has been blackened by just one man: General AAK ‘Tiger’ Niazi. According to a new book by Oxford University Press, he is supposed to have pronounced the words that even Genghis Khan would have hesitated to use: that he would let loose his soldiers on the women of East Pakistan till the lineage/ethnicity of the Bengali race was changed.

The account has come from a true son of Pakistan, late Major-General (retd) Khadim Hussain Raja in his recently published book A Stranger in My Own Country: East Pakistan, 1969-1971 (OUP, 2012). The book is posthumously published probably because it was a hot potato in the times it was actually written. He was General Officer Commanding 14 Division in East Pakistan.

Continue reading Pakistani general ‘Tiger Niazi’ was obsessed to change the “Nasl of buzdil Bengalis”

Bangladesh Army says it foiled a coup via Facebook

Intelligence sources say the Bangladesh coup attempt last month was fueled by retired officers campaigning to introduce sharia law. The news raises concern about political instability in the region.

By Anis Ahmed, Reuters

Dhaka: Bangladesh’s Army said on Thursday it had foiled a coup attempt by retired and serving officers last month that intelligence sources said was driven by a campaign to introduce sharia law throughout the majority Muslim country.

Army intelligence discovered that Major Ziaul Haque had fled the barracks and was contacting fellow officers and ex-officers through Facebook and by cellphone to encourage them to join the plot, Brigadier General Muhammad Masud Razzaq said.

“Specific information has been unearthed that some officers in military service have been involved in the conspiracy to topple the system of democratic governance,” he told reporters.

He said around 16 former and active officers were involved. Some had been detained and would appear before a military court.

Impoverished Bangladesh has a history of coups, with army generals running the South Asian nation for 15 years until the end of 1990.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took power in early 2009 and has since faced threats from Islamist and other radical groups.

A revolt in the country’s paramilitary forces in February 2009 started in Dhaka and spread to a dozen other cities, killing more than 70 people, including 51 army officers. The revolt was quelled after two days but the country has since been shadowed by fears of further uprisings.

Sources in the army said the coup attempt was made late last month. “The attempt has been effectively controlled and now the process is on to punish the culprits,” one military official said.

Intelligence sources said the coup attempt was fuelled by a retired officer and associates in active service who were campaigning to introduce sharia law.

Intelligence officers also said it appeared to have been planned over weeks or months by officers having close links with what they described as religious fanatics within and outside the military. ….

Read more » CSMONITOR.COM

The Generals, Pakistan’s General Problem – How Pakistan’s Generals turned the country into an international disaster

BY Mohammad Hanif

What is the last thing you say to your best general when ordering him into a do-or-die mission? A prayer maybe, if you are religiously inclined. A short lecture, underlining the importance of the mission, if you want to keep it businesslike. Or maybe you’ll wish him good luck accompanied by a clicking of the heels and a final salute.

On the night of 5 July 1977 as Operation Fair Play, meant to topple Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s elected government, was about to commence, then Army Chief General Zia ul Haq took aside his right-hand man and Corps Commander of 10th Corps Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chishti and whispered to him: “Murshid, marwa na daina.” (Guru, don’t get us killed.)

General Zia was indulging in two of his favourite pastimes: spreading his paranoia amongst those around him and sucking up to a junior officer he needed to do his dirty work. General Zia had a talent for that; he could make his juniors feel as if they were indispensable to the running of this world. And he could make his seniors feel like proper gods, as Bhutto found out to his cost.

General Faiz Ali Chishti’s troops didn’t face any resistance that night; not a single shot was fired, and like all military coups in Pakistan, this was also dubbed a ‘bloodless coup’. There was a lot of bloodshed, though, in the following years—in military-managed dungeons, as pro-democracy students were butchered at Thori gate (Thorri Phaatak) in rural Sindh, hundreds of shoppers were blown up in Karachi’s Bohri Bazar, in Rawalpindi people didn’t even have to leave their houses to get killed as the Army’s ammunition depot blew up raining missiles on a whole city, and finally at Basti Laal Kamal near Bahawalpur, where a plane exploded killing General Zia and most of the Pakistan Army’s high command. General Faiz Ali Chishti had nothing to do with this, of course. General Zia had managed to force his murshid into retirement soon after coming to power. Chishti had started to take that term of endearment—murshid—a bit too seriously and dictators can’t stand anyone who thinks of himself as a kingmaker.

Continue reading The Generals, Pakistan’s General Problem – How Pakistan’s Generals turned the country into an international disaster

Enough is enough: We are no longer afraid of long boots – by Shiraz Paracha

You have ruled us enough

You have ruined us enough

You have raped our beloved country enough

You have destroyed our future and shattered our dreams

Enough is enough.

Your concepts are weird, your plans are insane

You are devious and deceitful

You are cowards and timid

You are cruel and ruthless

You are cunning and conniving

You are criminals and corrupt

Enough is enough

We are no longer afraid of long boots

We have no fear of big guns

You can’t bully us any more

Enough is enough

You have found new shoulders to take away our freedoms

Bigwigs are on your side and fake journalists speak your lies

But you all should know it is enough, it is enough

No more insults, no more intrigues enough is enough

No more blackmail, no more intimidation enough is enough

We will not let the Justice spread injustice enough is enough

Go away, go away it is enough, it is enough

Stay away, stay away it is enough, it is enough

We will fight you till the end

Enough is enough

Courtesy: LUBP

http://criticalppp.com/archives/65244

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

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

Chief Justice (R) Sajjad Ali Shah Exposes Pakistan Judiciary Corruption

Ethnic Discrimination in Pakistan Judicial System. The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: → Meher Bokhari via → ChagataikhanYouTube

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

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

Pakistan: Lies, lies and more lies

Lies, lies and more lies

By: Nazir Naji

We are gullible. We lap up any tosh that is fed to us. We were told in 1965 that India attacked us and we defeated it. The reality was that we were the ones who attacked and India attacked Lahore and Sialkot in retaliation. In 1971, we were told that Indian-trained Mukti Bahini is carrying out terrorist activities. The reality was that we launched an offensive on East Pakistan. We were also told that Mujeeb-ur-Rehman is a traitor and that he wanted to break the country with his 6 points. The reality was that he was ready to pass the constitution of joint Pakistan in collusion with Bhutto. He himself told me in a meeting, “Am I crazy? Why would I want to break the country and rule a province when I instead rule the whole of Pakistan?” We were also told that we were conducting guerrilla resistance or “jihad” against the Soviets because their expansionist plans extend to Karachi and Gwadar. In actuality, we were America’s proxy in a war between two superpowers. The Russians left but the motley crew assembled in the name of Jihad played, and is still playing, an unholy game of bloodshed unabated. We were also told that the mujahideen had conquered Kargil but the reality was that our jawans [army] were sent there in civilian garb for conquest but the Indian army apprehended them and our prime minister had to flatter the US to facilitate their return.

We weren’t really interested in Osama bin Laden. Many lunatics in our midst consider him a warrior of Islam but the world views him as a deadly terrorist. The deluded class of people doesn’t consider him the architect of 9/11 even though he himself praised the perpetrators initially and then eventually 4 years later accepted the responsibility for planning 9/11. But this particular group of people will not even be dissuaded by his own admission of guilt. They are mourning openly in newspapers. But the people who wrote obituaries in columns did not have the daring to attend his funeral prayers conducted in absentia in Rawalpindi and Lahore.

Anyhow, our military rulers milked the US and Britain for fighting terrorism and maintained that Osama Bin Laden (OBL) was not in Pakistan whereas America insisted the opposite was true according to its reports. But we kept denying it in the strongest terms. But we Pakistanis kept believing what our protectors were telling us. We always do, but what to do when the world refuses to believe them as easily as we do. The Americans kept searching on their own. And the day our protectors and guardians were slumbering, American helicopters in flagrant violation of Pakistan’s airspace flew to Abbottabad and smoked out OBL. They got their man and took him back to Afghanistan with ease.

President Obama addressed his nation to inform them of this victory. At 11 am PST, the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, also conducted a press conference and clarified his stance and stated clearly that the world’s most wanted man had been found in Pakistan and our contestation that Pakistan is the hub of terrorism has been proved. But the keepers of our defence kept their lips sealed till 12 pm. Why? The only reason was that their lies had been indubitably exposed and there was no room left for denials or cover-ups.

Finally, the Foreign Office’s spokesman issued a loose and meaningless statement which stated that Americans have conducted an operation as they have stated against OBL. The horrifying fact that Pakistan had been aerially attacked was not even alluded to. Our borders and airspaces violated. An operation was carried out a mere kilometre away from the country’s biggest military academy but our defence systems remained dormant. We neither stopped the helis from entering our borders, nor condemned the aggression committed. The statement was drafted with such nonchalance as if informing of a routine matter. As if the occurrence had taken place elsewhere. As if it did not concern us in the least bit.

The Pakistanis who remember 1971 will relate that while a full-fledged war was raging in East Pakistan, we were being told some Bengali terrorist were merely disturbing law and order and the situation would soon be under control. On 16th December, a table was set up in the battle-grounds of Dhaka on which the commanders of our military sat down with the enemy commander-in-chief and signed the deal to surrender. But we were told by our Commander-in-Chief that it was a “temporary ceasefire.” His words did not belie at all that the ignominy of the world’s biggest military defeat had befallen us. That united Pakistan was no more. We learnt of the reality when the radios across the world were announcing that India had captured East Pakistan.

The events of 2nd May were no ordinary events. They exposed the hypocrisy of the people who are supposedly our guardians and exposed the discrepancies in their words and actions. Our lie had been called out. We denied for eight years that OBL was in Pakistan but he was caught here. We kept calling the world mendacious when we ourselves were liars. Because of this lie, our defence system was reduced to tatters but our government was pretending as if our sovereignty and defence remained unscathed.

On the evening of 2nd May, some people caught their wits and then it was thrown around that we had “aided” the US and our help is what led the US to bin Laden. But what the world really wanted to ask was that why did we repeatedly lie to them? The CIA Chief, Leon Panetta, told the representative of Congress that Pakistan had either willfully hid OBL or it was incompetent. The army’s own retired general, Talat Masood, said that the presence of Osama in Pakistan was due to the incompetence of our institutions and if they knew, that was an even graver mistake than incompetence. Whether it was collusion or incompetence, our defence system and the people responsible for it have failed unequivocally at their professional obligations and national duties. A failure in defence responsibilities is unpardonable. If court-martials had been conducted when necessary, we would never have seen this day. It’s the mistake of a few people; but the humiliation and disgrace is the lot of the entire nation. How much longer will we have to take this? How many times will we pay for the crimes of others?

The writer is one of Pakistan’s most widely read columnists.

Courtesy: PAKISTAN TODAY

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/05/lies-lies-and-more-lies/

They should apologize for Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s judicial murder

The military should apologize for Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s judicial murder

By Shiraz Paracha

Excerpt:

Parrot writers and journalists in Pakistan always praise the position of a serving Army Chief. Those who have sold their souls tell us how great the military’s top brass is. It does not matter if it includes generals, who surrendered in Dhaka, and those who ran away from Kargil, or those who killed an elected Prime Minister and tore apart the constitution. Even military leaders accused of corruption, incompetence and misconduct are portrayed as heroes.

It is not surprising that we are told that the current Army Chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, is the only capable saviour of Pakistan. Analysts, anchorpersons and columnists, who pretend to be mouthpieces of the military, inform us that General Kayani is different than his predecessors.

Not very long ago, General Kayani was the right-hand man of General Parvez Musharraff. After Kayani became the Commander-in-Chief, General Musharraff received a guard of honour at the end of his illegal stay in the President House. The military is a state within the state in Pakistan. The sword of a military intervention still hangs over the civilian government as the power equilibrium continues to be in the military’s favour even under General Kayani.

Nonetheless, so far, General Kayani has acted wisely and he appears softer than the previous heads of the Pakistani military. The Armed Forces are supposed to defend a country but the Pakistan military has embarrassed Pakistan many times. The Armed Forces are a symbol of pride for the people of a country; in Pakistan the military has caused national discomfiture. Some Pakistani generals wanted to make history—they left with dark history. ….

…. At the same time, the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Lahore High Court must reverse the decision of Bhutto’s judicial murder and seek an apology from the people of Pakistan. The Supreme Court is guilty of gross injustice. The Bhutto case is a stain on the institution of judiciary. Bhutto’s blood will stay fresh in the courtrooms until justice is done and Bhutto’s dignity is returned to him by the Court. The integrity and respect of the Supreme Court of Pakistan will never be restored without declaring Bhutto innocent and calling him Pakistan’s national hero.

Also the Supreme Court should formally admit that judges who were instrumental in providing legal cover to martial laws and dictators were actually traitors. The Court should give a similar verdict about generals who imposed military coups and derailed Pakistan. …

To read full article : LET US BUILD PAKISTAN

Incidentally, even today, like “Sindh regiment”, “Baloch regiment” is also predominantly staffed with Punjabi soldiers!

Love in the Time of 1971: The Furore over Meherjaan

The film Meherjaan, which was released in Dhaka in January 2011, was quickly pulled out of theatres after it created a furore among audiences. The hostile responses to the film from across generations highlight the discomfort about the portrayal of a raped woman, and its depiction of female and multiple sexualities during the Bangladesh liberation war of 1971. The furore also underscores the nationalist repoliticisation of the younger generation in Bangladesh and its support for the ongoing war crimes tribunal of the 1971 war.

To read full article : http://epw.in/epw/uploads/articles/15845.pdf

DHAKA RESOLUTION ON SALMAN TASEERs MURDER

A resolution was presented to condemn the murder of Salman Taseer Shaheed, during Peoples SAARC meeting/conference in Dhaka on January 18-19 th, 2011 . Resolution was unanimously adopted by the house.

RESOLUTION TO CONDEMN THE MURDER OF SALMAN TASEER

We the development practitioners, political workers, civil society leaders, representatives of social movements, peace and human rights activists, writers, journalists and concerned citizens of South Asia and the participants of Conference on ‘Envisioning New South Asia: People’s Perspectives, 18-19 January, 2011, Dhaka, Bangladesh condemn the brutal murder of Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab, Pakistan, by a religious extremist and demand that the culprit should be brought to justice immediately and the government of Pakistan and other states of South Asian region should stop using communalism and religious fundamentalism to persecute religious and ethnic minorities to divide and rule the peace loving progressive and secular peoples of the region. We express our solidarity with the family of Salman Taseer and with the current moment against religious extremism in Pakistan and in the region.

‘Islamic secularism’ in Bangladesh: Jyoti Rahman

Bangladesh will mark its 40th year of independence in 2011.  The celebrations have already begun, and will continue until next December.  The TV channels are already playing patriotic tunes.  One such tune is Shona shona shona.  The song says the land, mati, of Bangladesh is better than gold, and under this land sleeps many heroes: Rafiq, Shafiq, Barkat, Titu Mir and Isa Khan.

Who are these heroes?  Rafiq, Shafiq and Barkat were killed by the Pakistani authorities during the language uprising of 1952 — a milestone moment in Bangladesh’s nationalism. Titu Mir defied the East India Company and organised a peasant revolt in the 19th century. Isa Khan was a Bengali chieftain who resisted the Mughals in the 16th century. …

Read more : Kafila

Bangladesh court bans religion in politics

DHAKA (AFP) – Bangladesh’s dozens of political parties must drop Islam from their name and stop using religion when on the campaign trail following a court ruling, the country’s law minister said Monday.

The Supreme Court on Sunday upheld an earlier ruling by the High Court from 2005 throwing out the fifth amendment of the constitution, which had allowed religion-based politics to flourish in the country since the late 1970s.

“All politics based on religion are going to be banned as per the original constitution,” Shafique Ahmed told AFP. The verdict does not affect constitutional amendments that made Islam the Muslim majority nation’s state religion in 1988 and incorporated a Quranic verse in the constitution. …

Read more : The Nation