Sticking to Anathema of Apology
Bassam Javed


Lately, an unprecedented surge has been observed in the local press and electronic media wherein the state of Pakistan is being pressed to tender an apology over alleged atrocities on Bengalis at the hands of Pakistani armed forces in 1971. The people who support the idea apparently need to dig deeper in the history that recounts numerous clandestine meetings between Indian establishment and intelligence operatives and the front line representatives of Awami League agreeing to secede East Pakistan from the West. The other reason that might have prompted our avowed writers and columnists for generating this apology frenzy could be the refusal of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister to Pakistan to attend D-8 Conference that might have taken place at the behest of her Indian benefactors to lessen the impact of the D-8 summit. For those who need to further delve on the way Bangladesh was carved out here is a leaf from the history that tell all about the conspiracy and events leading to creation of Bangladesh.

It was in December 1967 that President Ayub Khan during his visit to East Pakistan was first apprised of intelligence folders pointing to a conspiracy being hatched then by some Bengali civil and military officials in collaboration with Indian agents to secure secession of the Eastern wing. On 6th of January 1968, twenty-eight people were taken into custody for hatching the conspiracy that later was titled as ‘Agartala Conspiracy”. Conspicuous amongst those arrested were three senior civil servants Shamsur Rahman, Ruhul Quddus and Fazlur Rahman and a navy Lieutenant Commander Muazam Hussain. These secessionists were advised and financially backed by First Secretary of the Indian Deputy High commission in Dhaka, Mr. P.N.Ojha who arranged their initial meetings with Indian army officials Lieutenant Colonel Mishra and Major Menon in Tripura’s capital ‘Agartala’. Later Sheikh Mujeebur Rahman was also taken on board on the secession plans.

General Yahya Khan, the then army chief wanted the case to be tried by a special military tribunal for which a special tribunal was formed under the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court S. A. Rahman with two of Dhaka’s High Court Judges M. R. Khan and Maksumul Hakim to deal with the case. The hearings in the Agartala Case commenced on June 19, 1968. On the first day of the trial Sheikh Mujeebur Rahman declared in the court room that anyone who wants to live in Bangladesh will have to talk to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. This was the first time that the name of ‘Bangladesh’ was used by the Sheikh instead of East Pakistan. The trial gathered an unprecedented public outcry as the case was propagated as farce and a deliberate effort to liquidate Sheikh Mujeebur Rahman and his Bengali nationalistic politics. The political expediencies forced the government to drop the case and release sheikh Mujib. The next day on 23rd February 1969, the Sheikh addressed a million strong crowd in Dacca where he was awarded the title of ‘Bangabandhu’. Over the last four decades the time has eventually proved that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman did aim to make East Pakistan as an independent entity. His commitment for a separate homeland had become obvious when he as a student questioned Prime Minister Husseyn Shaheed Suharwardy on political sovereignty for East Pakistan. However, our agencies failed to fathom the depth of his intriguing question that later revealed his agenda.

Mrs. Hasina Wajid the sitting Prime Minister of now Bangladesh confessed for the first time in 2010 that her father did plan to secede from Pakistan in 1969. He was joined by Hasina Wajid on April 22 in London. According to her, the country’s libration plans detailing the start of the war, training of the secessionists and the consequent settling of refugees in India were prepared in London. The fact was also confirmed by Col ® Shawkat Ali who happens to be the current deputy speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament. He, the only surviving conspirator had confessed to the Bangladesh parliament on a point of order in 2010 that the charges read out to them in connection of ‘Agartala Conspiracy’ by the tribunal constituted by Pakistan were accurate. While speaking to ‘Dhaka Courier’ on 27th February the Colonel again confessed that ‘Agartala Conspiracy’ was indeed a reality. Revealing the facts he said that until recently it was believed this case was a ploy to get rid of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman when in reality it was a case filed on very concrete and true accusations. We did conspire for secession of East Pakistan! The accusations were 100 percent true.

The secession of East Pakistan could not have happened without India’s illegitimate involvement in the internal affairs of Pakistan. The Indian policy makers thought that by separating East Pakistan from the West the political enemy on both sides of its borders would be replaced by a far weaker enemy on one side and a friend on the other and India would be able to establish a subservient government in Bangladesh that would also act as an extension of the Indian market. Whereas Bangladesh did become a subservient state Pakistan turned into a viable and cohesive entity with its armed forces much more capable of not only defending its territory but also taking the war into enemy’s territory.

To acknowledge India’s role in creating Bangladesh, Prime Minister Hasina Wajid decorated Lt Gen (R) Jacobs with Bangladesh honors earlier this year. The General told the ‘Indian Express’, “I feel honored to learn that Bangladesh has recognized the contribution of those (Indians) involved in its libration.” According to ‘The economist’, Awami League traditionally continues to regain power with Indian money and influence in the Bangladesh establishment.

Such are the facts that brought about Bangladesh’s birth. A large number of deaths took place in the process both at the hands of security forces who were mandated to defend their motherland. Thousands of deaths also took place at the hands of Indian mercenaries, a fact also acknowledged by General Manekshaw in his memoirs, and Indian sponsored Mukti Bahinis. Whereas lots of Bengalis were killed in the mayhem it is also a fact that a large number of Pakistani soldiers and civilians were also killed in the same mayhem. Who must apologize to whom is an anathema in our bilateral relationship sticking to which will force our future generations to castigate present day leadership for alienating Bangladeshis from Pakistanis.