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Undiminished Scars of 1971 Tragedy Part -2   Brig.Gen (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistanis-
Never Forgive or Forget
Pakistanis-Willl Get Even For 1971

Undiminished Scars of 1971 Tragedy

Part -2

 

Asif Haroon Raja

 

Elections Results and Effects

 

The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything”. Joseph Stalin

 

In the elections held on Dec 7, 1970, AL swept the polls in EP with a tally of 167 out of 169 national assembly seats and the PPP securing 87 of 126 seats in WP (simple majority in Punjab and Sindh).  

 

As per Bengali writer Maswani, ‘Only about 7% of Muslim votes in EP had catapulted secessionist AL into majority. Its apparent success didn’t truly represent the will of the people of EP. The AL had won with only 43% of total votes, out of which about 12% were bogus votes cast mostly by infiltrators and 24.35% by the Hindus. (AMK Maswani, Subversion in EP, P 2).

 

There is no doubt of heavy rigging before and during the polls by the AL since the entire civil machinery was in its hands, the people terrorized and the military looked the other way.  

 

After creating political ruckus to force Ayub to resign, Bhutto chose to side with the military junta rather than with the AL after the 1970 elections. Mujib-Bhutto confrontation sparked over the issue of framing of constitution, former wanting to formulate it entirely on his six points inside the Assembly and the latter wanting to do it jointly outside the Assembly. Both adopted a piggish stance which created a logjam. Had Gen Yahya retained the 1962 Constitution or reincarnated the 1956 Constitution, the constitutional crisis wouldn’t have arisen.

 

 

From Feb 1971 onwards, Bhutto became highly aggressive. Wanting to share power he threatened to break the legs of politicians going to Dacca. Mujib paid his bellicosity in the same coin which heated up the political temperature. Bhashani added fuel to the fire. Upset by Mujib’s intransigence over six-points, Yahya began to lean more heavily upon Bhutto.   

 

Bengali nationalism was intensified by Mujib during the year-long election campaign based on his six-points, resulting in AL’s landslide victory. Militancy peaked when on 01 March President Gen Yahya postponed the session of the Constituent National Assembly at Dacca scheduled on 03 March 1971 indefinitely on the advice of Bhutto and hawks in his cabinet who dubbed Mujib as a security risk.  It set ablaze the festering volcano.

 

Slaughter of Non-Bengalis/Biharis

 

From 02 March a systematic genocide of Biharis, non-Bengalis and pro-Pakistan Bengalis, rapes of women and destruction of their properties was unleashed by the AL activists and Mukti Bahini (MB). West Pakistani officers serving in East Pakistan Rifles (EPR) and their families were killed, and banks were looted. Pakistan flags were burnt, BD flags hoisted and taxes were not paid. Military cantonments were besieged and water supply and fresh supplies blocked; soldiers confined to barracks since 4 March were abused and ridiculed. A parallel government had been put into force in EP and it was only Mujib’s directives that were obeyed. Bedlam could have been kept under control had reinforcements sent from WP not stopped, and troops not sent back to barracks on 4 March.  

 

Unproductive Parleys

 

March 25 was given as the new date for the National Assembly meeting but it didn’t mitigate the anger of Mujib who became haughtier. In order to defuse the explosive situation, Gen Yahya and his team flew to Dacca on March 15 and till 24 March held negotiations with the Mujib led team. On 21-22 March, WP politicians joined to avert the crisis. Bhutto played on both sides of the wicket by poisoning the ears of Mujib and Yahya. Talks broke down when Mujib ruled out federation and insisted upon confederation provided EP was given 56% share of federal assets. According to Professor G.W Choudhury (p.168), ‘Some foreign economists financed by the Ford Foundation were the loudest in making extreme demands and were responsible for the failure of the Dacca dialogue’.

 

Operation Searchlight

 

When the ten-day negotiations between the two teams at Dacca failed to yield results due to obduracy of Mujib, and there was no letup in the killing spree, and Gen Yahya was scorned for keeping the army in cotton wool, the President directed Lt Gen Tikka Khan, who had replaced Lt Gen Sahibzada Yaqub Khan on 7 March, to launch Operation Searchlight on the night of March 25. Mujib and Dr. Kamal were arrested while all other AL leaders managed to flee to India where they set up BD govt in exile. Had they been rounded up, things could be different.

 

By dawn of 26 March, Dacca was in full control of the army after killing 66 extremists and injuring 31. Bhutto hailed the action saying “Thank God, Pakistan has at last been saved”. His exclamation was the manifestation of inner sentiments of the majority in WP. Yahya was eulogized for his action. (Hasan Zaheer, Separation of East Pakistan, Oxford, p 327). Only three EBR could be disarmed and the rest defected with arms. AL was outlawed and Mujib was declared a traitor and tried on charges of treason.

 

The military action which was falsely termed as a genocide by Indian media resulted in exodus of 7-10 million Bengalis to India 85% of whom were Hindus who should have migrated in 1947. (Kuldip Nayyar, Distant Neighbors, Delhi, p 155). It also sparked province wide rebellion which morphed into 9 months of civil war. The MB, six EB Regts, 16000 Bengalis in EPR and 45000 Policemen were aided by 50,000 Indian soldiers dressed in civvies. There were 116000 Bengalis in units, HQs, EBR, EPR, Police etc. and all had rebelled.

 

Role of Outsiders & US Treachery, Duplicity, & Back-Stabbing

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Task Force 74 – The US Lies

The second Task Force 74 was assembled from the U.S. Navy′s Seventh Fleet that was deployed to the Bay of Bengal by the Nixon administration in December 1971, but NEVER  SENT TO DEFEND EAST PAKISTAN.

 

The western media had turned against the military regime after the ouster of journalists from Dacca by Lt Gen Tikka due to their biased reporting {by Jewish Reporter of  Jewish Owned New York Times-Sydney Schanberg, New Delhi Correspondent of New York Times.} In the Whitehouse tapes released in the mid-nineties, President Nixon referred to the involvement of U.S diplomats in Pakistan who ignored his instructions and supported the separatists. CIA and the US Congress sided with Mujib in spite of Gen Yahya taking the risk of arranging a meeting of Henry Kissinger with Chinese PM at Beijing in Jul 1971 which led to US-China rapprochement. The USSR concluded a defence agreement with India in August 1971 to forestall any intervention by China.

 

Airlifting of Additional Forces

 

The magnitude of the insurrection was beyond the capacity of lone 14 Division. 9 and 16 Divisions, two wings each of CAF and Rangers and 5000 policemen were airlifted to Dacca via Colombo in a record time of less than two weeks since the East-West air corridor had been blocked by India after the engineered hijacking of Indian airline on Jan 31 the blame of which was put on Pakistan.

 

In order to tackle the insurgency and to be prepared for a war with India, local Razakars numbering 60, 000 were raised to provide rear area security. The EPCAF numbering 13000 with a heavy intake of Biharis and pro-Pakistan Bengalis were formed into units and wings. Out of the Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams were created which mostly comprised Biharis and patriotic Bengalis. The two outfits became the eyes and ears of the army. The Razakars and the EPCAF supported the army fighting the insurgents and in the clearance of border towns and border posts captured by the MB.

 

Bhutto encouraged Yahya to withhold invoking UN action when India started to intervene militarily in April 1971(Memories and Reflections of a Pakistani Diplomat, p. 359). Foreign Secretary Sultan M. Khan wrote in his book (Memoirs and Reflections of a Pakistani Diplomat, London Centre for Pakistan Studies), ‘After the use of military power in East Pakistan on March 25th. 1971, the situation escalated out of Yahya Khan’s grasp and he could no longer control it. From then on he was merely reacting to the developing situation and had lost all initiative’.

Situation Normalized

 

By end April 1971, the whole area was cleared and the slaughter spree of the MB that was at its height till March 31 began to decline rapidly. By May/June complete normalcy was restored, the civil administration became functional. A general amnesty was announced, reception centres established for those who had fled to India including the politicians and a call for by-elections was given. However, India blocked their return, and in concert with Russia continued to train, equip and launch MBs to keep the pot of EP boiling. RAW and BSF had set up 59 training camps.

 

In the clearing operations from March to Nov 1971, 237 officers, 136 JCOs and 3559 other ranks were killed and wounded in action. (Indian Army after Independence, Major K.C Praval, Delhi, 1990, p 321).  

 

Gathering of War Clouds

 

The MB supported by BSF and Indian Army launched border attacks in Sept/Oct with a view to draw Pak forces towards the border. Eastern Command hastened to push forward army units, broke them in sub-units and deployed them in penny-packets all along the border. Even the command reserves (53 Bde) were pushed forward denuding Dacca of regular troops. It resulted in loss of cohesion and made the units vulnerable to envelopment and piecemeal destruction.

 

Creation of ad hoc divisions/brigades two weeks before the start of the war was a big sham, since they were raised by milking the resources of infantry divisions/units and further weakening their combat strength deployed on extended frontages with no depth and no reserves. The formations were critically short of war munitions and manpower and didn’t have a single medium artillery regt. Limitation of range of guns and tanks was another drawback.   

 

EPCAF and the Razakars plugged the yawning gaps between defensive localities and took part in the war with India. They fought valiantly till the end and large numbers embraced martyrdom or were injured in action.

 

The War (Nov 21 – Dec 16, 1971)

 

When it was found that the MBs were unable to defeat the Pak forces or to capture a chunk of territory near the border where a BD flag could be hoisted, the Indian military barged into EP on 21 Nov which was Eid day, and attacked 23 salients across the border. Lodgment areas were secured in Jessore, Dinajpur and Sylhet sectors. The MB resorted to large-scale massacre of pro-Pakistan elements in the captured areas. That was the time to modify the defensive plan and bring a change in the exaggerated forward posture but it was not done. Lt Gen Niazi issued orders, ‘Fortress will be abandoned after incurring 75% casualties’.

 

On the diplomatic front, it was the right time to move the case to the UN against unprovoked aggression of India as was suggested by Agha Shahi, but no move was made.  

 

On Dec 2, India threw in 3 more divisions supported by armor to expand its penetrations at 7 different fronts. At that stage it dawned upon GHQ that India’s plans were much bigger than assumed, but it was too late to affect a change in defensive posture. Most crossing points on the rivers were destroyed or seized by the MB.

 

The Indian forces aided by the MB launched their offensive through gaps under complete air superiority on multiple axes with speed, grounding defending forces in respective compartments, while the MB stepped up their disruptive activities in the rear to block rearward moves of Pak troops. It made the task of forward troops to converge into the Dacca Bowl almost impossible. The ground situation changed with such rapidity that it left the Eastern Command dislocated and paralyzed. Its strategic balance lay in tatters and the defensive operational cycle got jammed.

 

After the PAF launched an air offensive on the western front on Dec 3, India declared war on both fronts with main effort in EP and secondary effort in the WP. India also forwarded a complaint to the UN Secretary General alleging that Pakistan had attacked India.

 

In EP, the Indian military enjoying 15:1 superiority, launched their offensive with main effort against Sylhet-Comilla by 4 Corps, secondary effort against Jessore sector by 2 Corps, another secondary effort against Bogra by 33 Corps and an auxiliary effort against Mymensingh-Tangail sector by 101 Communication Zone.

 

It had 7 armor regts with T-55 and T-72 tanks, a Para Bde, 46 artillery regts including Mediums, 24 Mortar Btys, 4 AA regts, 32 BSF units, 4 BD Bdes, 287000 MBs, helicopter support, 11 sqns of MiG-21, SU-23, Gnat, Canberra generating 120 sorties a day. Its naval assets consisted of one aircraft carrier, 3 landing ships and 8 destroyers. The IAF flew 80 air sorties in support of ground forces from 3-15 Dec and generated a total of 1978 sorties. The Indian Navy affected a sea blockade on 4 Dec.

 

Pakistan’s Eastern Command had one Corps HQ, 3 infantry divisions, 2 adhoc divisions, one armor regiment with M-24 tanks, 6 Field regts, 5 Mortar Batteries, 13000 EPCAF men, 60,000 Razaqars. The PAF had only one squadron and the Navy had 4 converted gunboats and 8 Chinese Coasters/landing crafts.     

 

Major towns were converted into fortresses. While the static fronts outmaneuvered by Indian tanks and supported by armor collapsed at most places, at Hilli, 4 FF under Lt Col Akhlaq Abbasi, SJ put up a gallant fight and didn’t allow 20 Mountain Div with an additional Inf Bde supported by Armored Bde to breakout towards Bogra for 19 days. The unit was ordered to withdraw on 11 Dec when the opposing enemy outflanked the whole brigade. Another gallant fight was put up at Kamalpur and Jamalpur by 31 Baluch under Lt Col Sultan, SJ & Bar. 107 Bde under Brig Hayat Khan, SJ, put up a stubborn resistance at Khulna till 16 Dec. There were several other valiant actions at sub-unit levels. Most of the fortresses were intact on 16 Dec.  

 

The lone PAF squadron put up an extremely brave show by flying 292 air sorties in support of the ground forces from 29 March till 6 Dec. Pak Navy’s Ghazi sent from Karachi to carry out strategic mining of Visakhapatnam and to interdict Indian Navy ships sank close to its target with 93 all ranks on board on the night of 3 Dec as a result of underwater explosion.    

 

On 12 Dec, Lt Gen Gul Hassan informed Lt Gen Niazi that US and Chinese help was on the way. On 14 Dec, the GHQ gave an assurance to Niazi that the UNSC was in session and was most likely to order a ceasefire and he should hold on. Niazi cracked up when the heat came upon Dacca on 15 Dec. His oft repeated motto “last man last round” was probably meant for the forward troops only. Dacca, which was viewed by the opposing side as the toughest nut to crack and identified by Niazi as the centre of gravity, was left defenseless and had no regular troops. It fell like a ripe apple without being penetrated and without a fight.

 

Heavily outnumbered, outgunned, cut off from the world, subjected to psychological war and demonized by Indo-Russian-Western propaganda, the beleaguered Pak forces fought and defended the motherland gallantly. Overwhelmed by the sheer weight and size of the enemy and adverse obtaining conditions, Gen Niazi gave orders on the morning of Dec 16 to stop fighting and ceasefire. The ceasefire transformed into surrender.

 

To be concluded

 

The writer is Brig, war veteran, defence analyst, international columnist, author of five books, sixth book under publication, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre. asifharoonraja@gmail.com  

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Undiminished Scars of 1971 Tragedy Part-1   Brig.Gen (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Undiminished Scars of 1971 Tragedy

Part-1

 

Asif Haroon Raja

 

“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it”. George Santayana

 

 

The 1971 War fought between the two arch-rivals India and Pakistan fifty years ago is an account of painful memories for Pakistanis particularly those who were in former East Pakistan (EP). Severance of the eastern limb of Pakistan was a great national tragedy the anguish of which is still felt by the veterans and the patriotic Bengalis and Biharis and the civilians who had witnessed and undergone the whole trauma. With so many facts hidden under the massive Indo-Western propaganda having now surfaced, it can be surmised that Pakistan was made the victim of a methodically planned conspiracy.

 

Besides India and the rebels of EP, the USSR, USA, UK, Israel and Afghanistan had supported the Bengali rebels instigated by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his cohorts. The whole world, including Pakistan’s close friends, quietly and helplessly watched the agonizing dismemberment process from 25 March to 16 Dec 1971.      

 

Background History

 

After the unjust Boundary Award by Radcliffe at the behest of Mountbatten in which half of Punjab and Bengal including Calcutta were awarded to India, India was partitioned and Pakistan came into being on 14 August 1947. The British allowed India to annex all the 565 Princely States including two-thirds Kashmir which was annexed in Oct 1947. The Muslim League (ML) under the sagacious and resolute leadership of Quaid-e-Azam MA Jinnah translated the feelings of the Indian Muslims into a political reality. Although a moth-eaten and truncated Pakistan, it was the largest Muslim nation in the world.

 

The Muslims of Bihar adjacent to East Bengal didn’t want to be part of Hindu dominated West Bengal and opted to move to Muslim majority East Bengal. Compared with Muslim Bengalis, they were fair coloured, educated, skilled and talented due to which they managed to monopolize the public sectors, banking and railways. It caused resentment to the original inhabitants. There was a better understanding between Hindu and Muslim Bengalis. The phenomenon was similar to Karachi where the Muhajirs were initially welcomed by the Sindhis but gradually they harboured ill feelings against them on account of taking control over all the public offices and business etc. the Sindhis happily co-existed with Hindus.  

 

India didn’t reconcile with Pakistan’s Existence

 

Bharat detested the two-nation theory and didn’t reconcile to the birth of Pakistan, which also became an eyesore for the former USSR and Israel since it was created based on Islam. To disprove this theory, and to undo Pakistan step by step, India made plans soon after the partition to subvert the minds of Bengalis EP and sever the eastern wing from the concept of Pakistan.

 

EP was chosen as the initial objective due to its vulnerability of being 1000 miles away from West Pakistan (WP), surrounded by Indian Territory from three sides, the heavy cultural influence of West Bengal, and differences in dress, diet, habits and culture of Bengalis from WP. 13 million Hindu Bengalis in EP had been directed by Nehru to stay put so that their insidious influence could be best utilized to subvert the minds of Muslim Bengalis against non-Bengalis and Biharis.   

 

In a matter of 23 years, the Muslim Bengalis that were at the forefront of the Pakistan movement were led astray and were filled with so much hatred against West Pakistan that they opted to gain independence. They accepted India as their mentor and saviour from whose shackles of freedom was achieved after so much agony and labour.

 

Subversion of East Pakistan

 

The audiences selected by the Indian psychological operators in EP to subvert their minds were the youth, politicians, Awami League (AL), education curriculum, religious moorings, art & culture, stage dramas & theatres, print media, TV & radio, writers, journalists & intellectuals, non-Bengali heavy civil administration. Secularism was promoted and religion downplayed. The language issue was fomented, history of Bengal was distorted to paint Muslim rule in India in poor light. Hindu festivals were celebrated, school textbooks were printed in Bengali in Calcutta Press. 90% of school teachers and professors were Hindu Bengalis who sowed the seeds of hatred among the students. Dacca University became the stronghold of AL where its militant wing was first created. ML was discredited.

 

 

 

 

So powerful was the influence of Indian psychological operators that the coercive rule of the Hindu Mahajans and landlords who had reduced East Bengal Muslims into serfs in the latter half of the 18th century after the battle of Plassey in 1757 was forgotten and ‘hate everything non-Bengali’ phobia was accepted. It is an irony of fate that the very people who were in the vanguard of the Pakistan Movement took up arms to destroy the country they had helped to create.

  

Simmering in East Pakistan

 

In EP, the Biharis governed by a superiority complex lived in separate colonies and got closer with WP bureaucrats (mostly Urdu speaking) due to which the desired integration between the two communities did not develop. Likewise, the ML governments and the ten years of Ayub Khan’s military rule didn’t pay any intention towards socially integrating the two wings on ideological grounds.

 

The gulf between the Bengalis and Biharis and between the two wings were widened by the AL under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Maulana Bhashani, well-heeled Hindu Bengalis and India’s intelligence agencies. These elements together with Hindu teachers and professors injected hatred into the minds of the Bengalis against non-Bengalis and portrayed India as a well-wisher under a calculated program plotted by India.

 

Bengali nationalism was stirred up based on socio-economic grievances and domination of Punjab. Maximum provincial autonomy for EP was underlined as a panacea. Nationalism heightened during the 1952 language riots followed by the defeat of the ML at the hands of the Jugto Front led by Fazlul Haq in the 1954 provincial elections. Thereafter, ML never regained balance and became dependent upon the bureaucracy and the military to stay in power.  

 

One-Unit Scheme

 

The merger of provinces and six States of WP into a single province in 1954 was motivated by the fear of Bengal’s domination over Punjab. The One-Unit scheme put aside the question of autonomy. Under the parity formula, the country got a constitution in 1956 after labour of nine years. However, it was never put into practice due to President Iskandar Mirza’s disdain for democracy and the parliamentary system. As such, the One-Unit rather than integrating the two wings caused greater polarization and mistrust. Palace intrigues of Ghulam Muhammad followed by Iskandar Mirza and failure of political institutions to build a stable political system led to military intervention in politics in 1958.  

 

Ayub Khan’s Military Rule

 

After the abrogation of 1956, dissolution of assemblies and imposition of martial law by President Mirza on Oct 7, 1958, power was wrested by Gen Ayub Khan on Oct 28. Apart from initiating a host of reforms and introducing the Basic Democrats system, he framed a new constitution envisaging a presidential form of government in 1962.

 

Death of Suhrawardy in 1963, the last bridge between the two wings, gave the reins of AL to Sheikh Mujib who started playing on the theme of inter-wing disparity. No effort was made to put the record straight that in 1947, Bengal was the poorest province of India and EP most underdeveloped part of Bengal.

 

In 1962, Sheikh Mujib had written a letter to the Indian Prime Minister Pandit Nehru requesting assistance for an armed insurrection in East Pakistan (The American Papers – Secret and Confidential India. Pakistan. Bangladesh Documents 1965-1973, The University Press, pp. 243-244). He followed this up by taking a delegation to Agartala in 1963. The details of his involvement with India can be seen in Asoka Raina’s book, Inside RAW: The Story of India’s Secret Service, p. 48.

 

After Effects of 1965 War

 

The 1965 War in which Pakistan gained an edge over India, bred insecurity in the minds of people of EP. Willful propaganda was launched that if the security of EP rested on Chinese deterrence, why should its people contribute towards the defence budget. It was propagated that WP was prospering on account of foreign currency earned from the export of jute produced in EP, and the latter had become a colony of WP. The Bengali leaders ignored the massive reforms and uplift programs initiated by Ayub Khan in the EP.  

 

Sheikh Mujib ranted grievances and espoused his six points to emancipate the deprivations of Bengalis. It became the rallying cry of Bengali nationalism, but in reality, it was a doctrine of secession. ZA Bhutto after creating PPP in 1967 falsely accused his mentor Ayub Khan of selling Kashmir by signing the Tashkent Declaration which he had drafted and raised the slogan of Roti, Kapra, Makan to alleviate the poverty of the masses in WP. The two demagogues never clashed with each other since their objective was to oust Ayub Khan. They launched politics of violence in the two provinces duly bolstered by India, which gave rise to provincialism and secessionist tendencies. Ayub’s reforms to narrow down east-west inequities were drowned in the sea of negative propaganda.

 

Agartala Conspiracy

 

In 1968, Sheikh Mujib was arrested on charges of conspiracy along with 34 other civil and military bureaucrats and put on trial. His trial made him a hero in the eyes of the Bengalis instead of a traitor. This was a time of political unrest in the country that was being exploited by politicians including Maulana Bhashani, Bhutto and Air Marshal Asghar Khan to dislodge Ayub Khan. They mounted a campaign for Mujib’s release without giving it much thought that he was conspiring with India to break up Pakistan. Students’ agitation in WP had become volatile. Under intense pressure, Ayub withdrew the case against Mujib and released him.

 

Crucial Round Table Conference

 

Bhutto stayed away from critical negotiations between Ayub Khan and the opposition leaders in Feb 1969 during which Ayub had accepted all their demands except for six points and repeal of One-Unit. Bhutto was responsible for the failure of the Round Table Conference (RTC) on March 10-12 by boycotting it. He maintained secret links with Gen Yahya Khan and other conspiring senior army officers wanting to depose Ayub Khan and hand over power to Yahya Khan.

 

Transfer of Power to Gen Yahya Khan

 

Fast deteriorating internal disorder forced Ayub Khan to resign and give the reins of power to Gen Yahya Khan on 25 March 1969. He abrogated the 1962 Constitution, declared martial law and ran the country on a Legal Framework Order. The changeover and the newcomer’s inclination to appease the Bengalis at all cost provided a golden opportunity to India to put its plan of subversion of EP and its detachment from Pakistan into action. 

 

Policy of Appeasement

 

Being politically naïve, Yahya Khan first step was to announce his intentions to hold general elections on 5 Oct 1970 based on the adult franchise to pacify the politicians. Turning a blind eye to the records of Bhutto and Mujib he opted to befriend them. He pandered to each legal and illegal demand of Mujib since he wanted to keep him happy. He undid One-Unit Scheme and divided WP into four provinces while keeping EP intact. Doing away with the parity formula left him with no munition to bargain with Mujib over the issue of autonomy. He replaced separate electorates with joint electorates to enable AL in EP and the PPP in Sindh to garner Hindu votes. 10 East Bengal Regiments (EBR) with 100% Bengalis were raised. Political prisoners were released and cases against criminals were withdrawn.  

 

Ignoring the warnings about the sinister intentions of Mujib, Yahya kept doling out political concessions to the Bengalis, thereby guaranteeing their victory in the elections. He, however, remained under the delusion that the outcome of elections will be a split mandate.

 

Yahya also lent receptive ears to the counsels of scheming Bhutto and mistook him to be his sincere political adviser. The then governor of EP Admiral Ahsan opined that it may have been because Mujib had promised to retain Yahya as the president and Bhutto had no objections. The two ambitious and wily politicians made him play into their hands.

 

Dr Kamal Hossain, constitutional advisor to Mujib recorded in his book, (Bangladesh: Quest for Freedom and Justice p. 89) Therefore it was decided that the position to be taken should not be an explicit declaration of independence. To exert pressure on Yahya, specific demands should be made and the movement sustained in support of these demands, with independence as its ultimate goal’. 

 

The writer is Brigadier, a war veteran, defence analyst, international columnist, author of five books, sixth book under publication, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre. asifharoonraja@gmail.com 

 

To be continued 

 

 

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The end of American hegemony By Francis Fukuyama

The end of American hegemony

Influence abroad depends on fixing problems at home

By Francis Fukuyama

November 19, 2021
The horrifying images of desperate Afghans trying to get out of Kabul after the Western-backed government collapsed in August seemed to signify a major juncture in world history, as America turned away from the world. Yet in truth, the end of the American era had come much earlier. The long-term sources of American weakness and decline are more domestic than international. The country will remain a great power for many years, but just how influential it will be depends on its ability to fix its internal problems, rather than its foreign policy.
The peak period of American hegemony lasted less than 20 years, from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to the financial crisis of 2007-09. The country was dominant in many domains of power—military, economic, political and cultural. The height of American hubris was the invasion of Iraq in 2003, when it hoped to remake not just Iraq and Afghanistan (invaded two years before), but the whole Middle East. America overestimated the effectiveness of military power to bring about deep political change, even as it underestimated the impact of its free-market economic model on global finance. The decade ended with its troops bogged down in two counterinsurgency wars, and a financial crisis that accentuated the inequalities American-led globalisation had brought about.

Termites in the floorboards

The degree of unipolarity in this period has been rare in history, and the world has been reverting to a more normal state of multipolarity ever since, with China, Russia, India, Europe and other centres gaining power relative to America. Afghanistan’s ultimate effect on geopolitics is likely to be small: America survived an earlier, humiliating defeat when it withdrew from Vietnam in 1975, but regained its dominance within little more than a decade. The much bigger challenge to America’s global standing is domestic.

American society is deeply polarised, and has found it difficult to find consensus on virtually anything. This polarisation started over conventional policy issues like taxes and abortion, but has since metastasised into a bitter fight over cultural identity. Normally a big external threat such as a global pandemic should be the occasion for citizens to rally around a common response. But the covid-19 crisis served rather to deepen America’s divisions, with social distancing, mask-wearing and vaccinations being seen not as public-health measures but as political markers.These conflicts have spread to all aspects of life, from sport to the brands of consumer products that red and blue Americans buy.

America’s influence abroad depends on its ability to fix its internal problems

Polarisation has affected foreign policy directly. During Barack Obama’s presidency, Republicans took a hawkish stance and scolded Democrats for the Russian “reset” and alleged naivety regarding Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump turned the tables by embracing Mr Putin, and today roughly half of Republicans believe that the Democrats constitute a bigger threat to the American way of life than Russia does.

There is more apparent consensus regarding China: both Republicans and Democrats agree it is a threat to democratic values. But this only carries America so far. A far greater test for American foreign policy than Afghanistan will be Taiwan, if it comes under direct Chinese attack. Will the United States be willing to sacrifice its sons and daughters on behalf of that island’s independence? Or indeed, would it risk military conflict with Russia should the latter invade Ukraine? These are serious questions with no easy answers, but a reasoned debate about American national interest will probably be conducted primarily through the lens of how it affects the partisan struggle.

The biggest policy debacle of President Joe Biden’s administration in its first year has been its failure to plan adequately for the rapid collapse of Afghanistan. Mr Biden has suggested that withdrawal was necessary in order to focus on meeting the bigger challenges from Russia and China. I hope he is serious about this. Mr Obama was never successful in making a “pivot” to Asia because America remained focused on counterinsurgency in the Middle East. In 2022, the administration needs to redeploy both resources and the attention of policymakers to deter geopolitical rivals and engage with allies.

The United States is not likely to regain its earlier hegemonic status, nor should it aspire to. What it can hope for is to sustain, with like-minded countries, a world order friendly to democratic values. Whether it can do this will depend on recovering a sense of national identity and purpose at home.

Francis Fukuyama: senior fellow at Stanford University 

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition of The World Ahead 2022 under the headline “The end of American hegemony”

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Pakistan’s Supreme Court is a Victims of Judicial Hesitation & Procrastination in Making Timely Judgements. Hear it s History of Failures in this Video.

 

Pakistan’s Supreme Court is a Toothless Tiger & a National Joke.

 

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The USA’s iniquities & failures

The USA’s iniquities & failures

Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan’s history of the US sanctions

Pakistan was touted as the most allied ally of the US but practically it was not since it was the most sanctioned country. The US unjustly imposed sanctions on Pakistan during the 1965 war with India and the 1971 crisis in East Pakistan. In early 1979, the US President Jimmy Carter imposed sanctions on Pakistan suspecting that it was secretly developing a nuclear weapon. Sanctions were removed by Ronald Reagan in June 1981 after he decided to support the holy war against the Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan. He doled out a hefty package of $ 3.5 billion to the military regime of Gen Ziaul Haq and also ignored Pakistan’s manufacture of the bomb in the basement. From 1990 till Sept 2001 Pakistan was once again sanctioned by the US on the plea that it was building an Islamic bomb. Another set of sanctions were levied in May 1998 after Pakistan’s tit-for-tat response to India’s nuclear tests.  

Marriage of convenience

After 9/11, the US befriended Pakistan, lifted the sanctions and promised military and economic assistance in order to achieve its short term objective of occupying Afghanistan. In actuality, it was a marriage of convenience since Pakistan was marked as a target by a host of countries – USA, Israel, India, NATO, and the puppet regime in Kabul. Their six intelligence agencies – CIA, Mossad, RAW, MI-6, BND and NDS sat under one roof in Kabul and hatched conspiracies to make Pakistan a compliant state. RAW assisted by the NDS pioneered the proxy war to destabilize Pakistan. A large number of proxies from within Pakistan were cultivated, moles planted, a large number of NGOs and think tanks deployed and Pakistani media purchased to wage a hybrid war.

Appeasement

The predators succeeded in bleeding Pakistan due to defensive policy and apologetic stance of our leaders. They had to extend a hand of friendship to India and the two US installed regimes in Kabul, highly antipathetic to Pakistan, and involved in biggest covert war ever launched against any country.

Pakistan made no change in its external policy even after the evil designs of the enemies disguised as friends were exposed. Our leaders kept doing more till as late as mid-2017.

Pakistan Army & ISI’s accomplishments

Irrespective of the moral failings of our political leaders, the Pak Army and the ISI safeguarded the integrity and sovereignty of the country superbly. Not only were the conspiracies of six hostile agencies blunted effectively by the ISI, tens of hundreds of attacks were thwarted before they could be executed. All the foreign paid proxies were flushed out of former FATA in 2015. Cleansing of their sleeping cells, handlers and facilitators is going on through Raddul Fasad. There was a time when 3 to 6 terror attacks took place in one day, but now the scale has been reduced substantially.

Another feat which Pakistan has achieved is the erection of double-layer fence along the 2611 km western border to checkmate illegal infiltration. The fence has been beefed up with tower watches, fortified posts at regular intervals, patrolling and effective border management. Its usefulness was seen in the current testing times when the possibility of another influx of Afghan refugees had become a probability.   

The USA’s iniquities

After 9/11, the US listed the freedom movements by the Muslims, and the so-called radical groups in the Muslim countries in the loop of new laws on terrorism and abetment to terrorism but excluded non-Muslims without giving any logical reason. In fact the word terrorism coined by the US was never defined, but any country/group/individual not falling in line was blacklisted.

After forcing Pakistan to cut off relations with Mullah Omar led Taliban regime in Sept 2001, and to provide military bases for invading and occupying Afghanistan, Pakistan was deceitfully made a coalition partner of the US-NATO to fight the Global War on Terror as a frontline State. The real motive was to weaken Pakistan so that its nuclear teeth could be extracted.

India didn’t join the club of 48 countries to curb terrorism in Afghanistan, and yet the US chose to make it the central actor in Afghanistan with which it didn’t share boundary, culture or religion. It was given importance since it was willing to undermine Pakistan through terrorism from the Afghan soil.

Pakistan was wrongfully accused, affronted and punished for its uncommitted crimes, but India against whom Pakistan provided tons of concrete evidence of cross border terrorism was never advised or admonished to refrain from immoral practices. Instead, it was richly rewarded for its committed crimes.

Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani (AG) regimes in Kabul, and the NDS were partners in crimes and were also heaped with endowments.

Throughout the 20-year war, the US hypocritically pretended to be a friend, but distrusted Pakistan and branded it as a double-dealer, not realizing that the US couldn’t have waged the longest war without the two NATO supply routes from Torkham and Chaman.   

Washington kept up the pressure on Islamabad by making it ‘Do More’ and never got satisfied, and felt no remorse in levelling unsubstantiated allegations of Pakistan’s complicity with the anti-US terrorist groups.

Pakistan was the only country which defeated terrorism on its soil but suffered the most at the hands of proxies funded, trained and equipped by RAW-NDS and mothered by CIA.

In 2017, when Pakistan said it will not do any more and it was time for others to do more, the swords of the IMF and the FATF were hung over its head and it was once again forced to do more.

India has been violating the FATF rules regarding money laundering, financial terrorism, state terrorism against own minorities as well as against Pakistan at a huge scale. It should have been blacklisted, but it remains white while Pakistan remains in the grey list since 2018 despite meeting 26 of its 27 demands.

India’s defence minister Jaishankar unashamedly disclosed that India was instrumental in keeping Pakistan in the grey list of the FATF. His disclosure proved that the FATF is a politically motivated compromised outfit misused by India and the US.   

India is among the top three countries including the US and Brazil with heaviest Corona infected and death cases while Pakistan’s efforts in keeping the 1st and 2nd waves of Covid-19 in check was praised by the world bodies. Yet the UK put Pakistan in the ‘Red’ list and India was excluded.

The US dismal failures

It was owing to the wicked designs and duplicitous standards of morality practiced by the USA that it lost respect, prestige and honor and suffered a financial loss of $ 2.3 trillion dollars without achieving any of its objectives in Afghanistan. $85 billion worth sophisticated weapons & defence equipment was left behind for use by the Taliban, while five top US defence contractors made huge profits and are the winners.

Except for cosmetic improvements, Afghanistan today is worse than what it was in 2001. Had there been an improvement, the Taliban couldn’t have made a comeback.   

The US couldn’t stop the Afghan Taliban from entering Kabul on August 15, 2021 and its forces had to exit in haste by Aug 31 since the Taliban had the support of the people.

Al-Qaeda was one entity in 2001, and now it has six factions and has a global agenda of change.

The US couldn’t contain the phenomenal economic growth of China, now well-poised to fill the power vacuum in Afghanistan.  

The US failed to checkmate the resurgence of Russia, or to tame Iran.

In concert with India, the US intended to denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan into four parts, but couldn’t and today Pakistan is militarily much stronger and vibrant.

In violation of the Doha agreement, the US air force provided air support to the beleaguered ANA after the deadline of May 1. When nothing could be achieved, the US tried to stir chaos at the Kabul airport which remained under its control till Aug 31. 

The Taliban on the other hand abided by the Doha agreement, and didn’t strike any target of the foreign troops. Even then, the US slyly held them responsible for the violence and the western media demonized them by circulating fake stories.

Instead of pulling the ears of string-puppet AG to resign and pave the way for an interim setup, the US pressured Pakistan to force the victorious Taliban to accept the unpopular AG as the president and share power.

Rather than being thankful to the Taliban for letting the bulk of the troops exit safely, the US tried to deny the fruits of victory to them.

Liabilities

India proved to be a liability for the USA since it could neither contain China’s growth as an economic power, nor it could face its military power in the clash in the Himalayas, or could suppress freedom movement in J&K.

Likewise, it couldn’t destabilize Pakistan, or help the US and the ANA in combating the surging Taliban. It hastily dismantled its terror infrastructure and consulates in Afghanistan where it has now become an outcast and it’s over $20 billion projects are in jeopardy.

The 300,000 strong well-trained, well-equipped, well-paid and well-fed ANDSF on whom the US had spent $ 1.3 trillion proved to be a big liability for the US. The huge force opposing rag-tag 70,000 foot soldiers collapsed like a house of cards in the face of the lightning offensive of the Taliban.

After Kabul was surrounded by the Taliban fighters on Aug 14, AG fled to UAE on the afternoon of Aug 15 and the ANA bolted. The Taliban fighters had to step in peacefully to fill up the administrative and security vacuums.

Amrullah Saleh and Ahmed Zia Massoud based in the tiny enclave of Panjsher claiming to lead the resistance movement, are possibly backed by external powers. The so-called movement would soon fizzle out due to unfavorable circumstances.    

Inconsistent stances

The whole world including Pakistan had stood behind the US in Oct 2001 to decimate Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. No stone was left unturned to implement the military strategy based on brute force. No eyebrow was raised over the massive use of tomahawk cruise missiles, B-52 stealth bombers, daisy cutters killing mostly the civilians.

No objections were made on granting immunity to the invaders and opening of torture dens including ghastly Guantanamo Bay or the savagery of Northern Alliance warlords inflicted upon the captives.

The world and the UN vehemently opposed the Iraqi adventure in March 2003, but the US paid no heed and destroyed Iraq and that too on fake charges. No complaints were made over the instigation of sectarian war in Iraq and later stretching the war to Libya, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan. None has been made accountable for destroying eight Muslim countries and killing 11 million Muslims and displacing millions.      

Once the Taliban encircled Kabul on Aug 14 after capturing all the provincial capitals, the victorious Taliban paid heed to the counsels and neither captured Kabul forcibly, nor they showed inclinations to form an exclusive regime in disregard of the sentiments of the international community and multiple Afghan ethnic minorities. They pardoned all and sundry and there is no talk of trial and punishment.

Despite their changed outlook and humane demeanor, they were repeatedly counselled to refrain from violence, opt for peaceful transfer of power, and not to violate human and women rights. Urban Afghans who had served the occupiers loyally were invited to reach Kabul airport for their safe passage to the USA. Cloak of a saint was worn by the Satan to minimize the negative impact of disgrace it suffered, but this drama also boomeranged on account of a suicide attack by Daesh-K on Aug 25 causing deaths to 175 Afghans and 13 US  Marines.  

Tongue-in-cheek

Finding that the whirlwind offensive of the Taliban was unstoppable and soon they would reach the gates of Kabul, the US with tongue-in-cheek warned them to resolve the tangle politically and not through use of force, and that forcible capture of Kabul or takeover of power will be unacceptable to the international community. The latter (less Russia, China and Iran), hastened to join the rock band of hypocrites.   

While counselling them not to resort to violent practices, and not to re-establish Islamic Emirate by force, the US forgot that the Taliban regime was forcibly toppled in 2001, a puppet regime installed through sham election, an alien constitution imposed, the occupied country was ruled with an iron hand under the barrel of the gun and human rights, international laws were grossly violated and the ISAF soldiers given a license to kill, maim and torture without accountability. They also ignored that whichever region captured by the Taliban was free from reprisals and crimes, and on Aug 16 general amnesty was announced. 

In the backdrop of differing responses of the USA and the Taliban at the height of their glory, the US led west is still branded as civilized and champions of human rights, and the Taliban uncivilized, uncouth and barbarians. In spite of their positive soundbites, Taliban haters say it is too early to draw conclusions.

End of longest war

America’s longest war was officially terminated by the US CentCom Commander Gen Mckenzie on Aug 30. Since Aug 14, 2021, 123,000 people including 6000 Americans were airlifted from Kabul airport. After the departure of the last batch of occupation forces, the Afghans enthusiastically celebrated the independence of their country.

Ironically, the last group of the 8000 US-NATO troops and American nationals airlifted on Aug 30 had to seek a night transit in Islamabad, the most distrusted and abhorred country, instead of the most favored India or any of its airbases in the Arab Gulf States.

The Taliban took control of the security of Kabul airport on the night of Aug 31 and in the next 2-3 days they are expected to set up an inclusive government.  

Takeover of power by the Taliban in Kabul will augur well for the Af-Pak region. Pakistan is looking forward to a safe western border.     

Will lessons be learnt?

Will the USA learn lessons after the great debacle, or its Military Industrial Complex would continue to resort to military adventures in search of greater profits? In my reckoning, until and unless the ones involved in war crimes are put on trial before the ICC and punished, imperialism will not die down in the USA; nor its habit of retributions and interventionism. The Taliban’s $ 9.5 billion in the US central bank remains frozen; amounts required to be released by the World Bank and the IMF for various projects are suspended; hints of sanctions given if the Taliban refuse to cooperate. Daesh-K created in 2015 will possibly be supported by CIA-RAW as can be deciphered from Gen McKenzie statement: “I believe the Taliban are going to have their hands full with Daesh-K”.   

Will the Taliban learn lessons from their mistakes committed during their first tenure from 1996 to 2001 during which they were isolated by the international community and put under sanctions due to their obscurantism and radical behavior, and then toppled, chased and persecuted for two decades? Chances are that they will stand by their commitments by presenting themselves as reformed Taliban, wishing to make the war torn country peaceful and prosperous.

Unlike the past, this time both the Taliban and Iran are moving on the path of conciliation, accommodation and cooperation.  

India will neither learn lessons nor will change its deceitful and injurious posture towards Pakistan and will find new ways to harm its archrival.         

The writer is retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS & Think Tank. asifharoonraja@gmail.com    

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