Apologies! For What?
I971 War was the worst calamity that a nation can ever confront. Bangladesh was created out of East Pakistan not by consensuses but through a bloody war. This separation wasn’t solely engineered by RAW, we also have to blame inapt leadership for the debacle. Political mistakes were committed. People were denied their rights and freedom they deserved. Lack of development in than East Pakistan and centralization of control and authority in West Pakistan rightly aggrieved Bengalis. These ills created the environment wherein separatist movement could be launched. To be realistic, though the grievances between the two wings of the country were pretty grave but these could have been bridged if India and her intelligence agency RAW wasn’t out there to accomplish its cherished desire of undoing Pakistan.
It is now an established fact of the history that in 1968, Agartala conspiracy was hatched to divide Pakistan. According to Col (retd) Shawkat Ali a two member delegation of their group went to Agartala, India and actually asked Indians to extend help. Once he was deputy speaker, Shawkat Ali told Bangladeshi parliament that, “The charges against us read out on the first day of hearing in the case were absolutely right.” He further confessed that, “it was not a fake case.” Mukti Bahini were created through the help of RAW to engage, restrict and if possible neutralize Pakistan Army. In the process they created an unprecedented mayhem by killing West Pakistanis and creating law and order situation that was difficult to manage especially once 50,000 troops available were widely dispersed. In spite of these odds Army did a good job by containing Mukti Bahinis to a great extent.
The notion that Bangladesh was created as a result of a popular nationalist movement suits both Bangladesh Government and India. For Bengalis it fosters nationalism and for Indians it conceals the excesses they committed in dismantling Pakistan. This perception has been shattered by Sharmils Bose in her book, “Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bengladesh War.” Authenticity of her work is established by the fact that she conducted field research for years to write this book. Being Bengali from a nationalist family in India it must have been very easy for her to interact with the male and female segments of the society to extract correct information. She has categorically negated the myth of Bangladeshi nationalism. The whole movement was spearheaded by Mukti Bahinis and supported by weapons, ammunition and finances provided by RAW. She has written in an article that the dominant part of narrative on the subject provided by India seems to be untrue, “many facts had been exaggerated, fabricated, distorted or concealed.” This also includes stories of rape and killings associated with Pakistani troops. While deployed on such wide frontages and being engaged in intense combat how it could have been possible for them to commit such heinous crimes and at such a large scale as is ascribed to them.
It is often that history is distorted by the victors to suit its handiness. The same was the case of 1971 war. Ironically situation for Pakistan hasn’t improved much since then. A country that was carved out of Pakistan not due to popular uprising but through deceitful intervention followed by a full fledged invasion demands from Pakistan to extend apology for the excesses committed. For this attitude from the progeny of Mujeed-ur-Rehman we have no one to blame except ourselves. A weak and feeble Pakistan would certainly encourage such demands.
Pakistan is a country with immense potential. It is endowed with enormous amount of natural resources, vast planes of arable land and with industrious, talented and resilient manpower. But unfortunately it is infected by ills like corruption, nepotism, ad hocery etc. Long term interests of the country and its people are often relegated for petty and immediate gains. That has eroded the fiber of the nation from within. Today Pakistan in spite of being a reckonable nuclear power and having one of the most dedicated Armed Forces in the world is considered weak. It is our internal weakness that has encouraged Bangladesh to demand apology. History stands testament that truth has always prevailed. Concocted stories and fabricated claims get exposed sooner or later. The same is true for the conduct of Pakistan Armed Forces during 1971 war. Impartial researchers have vindicated Pak-Army of all charges leveled to tarnish its image. So, there is no question of apology.