Reaction to BD hangings

19 May

Waqar Ahmed

The creation of Bangladesh has been one of the most tragic chapters in the history of Pakistan. Unfortunately, the Pakistan-Bangladesh relations have been eclipsed by the tragic events of 1971, which led to the formation of Bangladesh as a separate state. The war between East and West Pakistan in 1971 lasted for only nine months. Actively supported by the Indian Army, the eastern flank of Pakistan was separated from the rest of Pakistan.
Why is there a need to get into a politically motivated blame game now? On this account, Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman had signed an agreement in 1974 so that the past should not override the present and future relations with Pakistan.
The explicit condemnation of the judicial killings of opposition leaders, especially the recent hanging of JI chief Motiur Rehman, by the Pakistani people and the government represents the sentiments of the people of Pakistan. Even international human rights groups assert their trial did not meet the international standards, and some in the US Congress have termed it as flawed means of political retribution and political victimization of the opposition.
The sense of honour and justice demands the truth. Thus, it should be reiterated that the total number of Pakistani troops in East Pakistan in 1971 was 34,000 and not 93,000. Sharmila Bose in her book “Dead Reckoning” termed the number of killed as alleged by the BD government a gigantic rumor. The Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report considered even 26,000 dead as an exaggerated figure. Richard Sisson and Leo E. Rose in the book titled “War and Secession: Pakistan, India and the Creation of Bangladesh” and Gary Bass in his book “The Blood Telegram” clearly admit that the figures about so-called genocide were false.
In 1974, Lawrence Lifschultz, an American journalist who was the South Asia resident correspondent of the Far Eastern Economist Review (Hong Kong) in Bangladesh, wrote that in the course of his reporting, he met a person who was employed by the Home Ministry as part of a team conducting a study to know the exact number of deaths. At the time they met, the Home ministry team had completed their survey in approximately a third of the districts. He told Lawrence that based on their projections the number of deaths was estimated at 250,000 people. However, according to that person, the study was abruptly shut down and discontinued. The reason was that the survey was moving toward a statistical conclusion that differed with the prevailing orthodoxy of three million people died from armed violence and refugee migration.
The scourge of living in the past sends a message of despair and hopelessness. It seems the BD leadership has failed to rise to the occasion and guide the nation towards integration and prosperity instead of mounting propaganda campaigns.
The relationship between Pakistan and Bangladesh is still based on Bangladeshi leaders and their perception of their own country’s relationship with India. Unfortunately, this continues to determine the nature of bilateral ties between the two countries. To quote a regional analyst: “While it has become the psyche of many Bangladeshi politicians to slam Pakistan again and again over the events of 1971, the way the Awami League government treats and fabricates its version of events is a sad and sick statement of sorts. The maliciousness of the approach towards Pakistan becomes very much evident whenever the AL wins the polls, whose fairness is mostly questioned by the Western world and international agencies.
With the Indian malice and spite visible in the Awami League’s approach towards Islamabad, one may declare that while the baby has been delivered through cesarean, the midwife still seeks to put it under its thumb.”

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