What's new

16th December 1971: From East Pakistan to Bangladesh

Bangladesh intellectuals were rounded up and killed on 15th December 1971 by Indian RAW involvement
They were killed in March, not in December. R&AW had just been set up; is it possible that they had such a hold within Bangladesh?

What happens to you sometimes? A rush of blood to the head?

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman shaking hands with supposed 'Butcher of Bengal' General Tikka Khan with ZA Bhutto by his side. Lahore 1974. Those bent on believing how much the Sheikh "suffered" while on house-arrest in Pakistan in 1971 should note this image and think about the propaganda spread in Bangladesh for past fifty years.​

r/bangladesh - Sheikh Mujiubr Rahamn shaking hands with 'Butcher of Bengal' General Tikka Khan with ZA Bhutto by his side. Lahore 1974.'Butcher of Bengal' General Tikka Khan with ZA Bhutto by his side. Lahore 1974.
That is not Tikka Khan.

Does that figure shaking hands with Banga Bandhu even remotely look like this?

They were killed in March, not in December. R&AW had just been set up; is it possible that they had such a hold within Bangladesh?

What happens to you sometimes? A rush of blood to the head?

You are right to question this Dada. However the research was already completed in Bangladesh. That said - I could be wrong.

And about the image - it is Tikka Khan Dada.

Here are a few more pictures.


The image came from the FLICKR account of Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi, a prominent physician in Islamabad.

Here is the exact post,
The gentleman's agreement between the Sheikh and Bhutto/Pakistan Army is not well known now, but with time, a lot is coming to light. I wish we could have access to the Hamoodur Rahman report but we do not.
Last edited:
You are right to question this Dada. However the research was already completed in Bangladesh. That said - I could be wrong.
I wouldn't say that, but it is contrary to everything I know. Having said that, no one, NO ONE, is omniscient. I could be so horribly wrong.
I wouldn't say that, but it is contrary to everything I know. Having said that, no one, NO ONE, is omniscient. I could be so horribly wrong.

Bangabandhu was a larger-than-life master politician (and of course master rabble rouser), and not electing him as PM of undivided Pakistan in 1970 was I'd say a mistake by the powers-that-be in Islamabad at that time. In the end - he worked out a win-win formula for Intelligent Fauji folks (proxied by Bhutto) in West Pakistan and for East Pakistan.

But this should have not involved the loss of so many lives in East Pakistan. A bloodless division could have been worked out.

However most Bangladeshis aren't complaining about the nation we have today.

Here is more interesting info on how Bhutto helped his friend the Sheikh.


Here is the Sheikh chatting up Bhutto gleefully in the Intercontinental Hotel in Dhaka a few days prior to Operation Searchlight in 25th March 1971 from the album of Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi as mentioned prior. Many East Pakistanis did not live past 1971 to share pleasantries with Bhutto, Yahya Khan had unleashed hell in East Pakistan and they would die (see next picture for Mujib greeting Bhutto who returned to Dhaka in 1974 and read the comments).

March 1971


The fall of Dhaka in the eyes of a Pakistani colonel​

(Translated from the original article to Bengali here - https://www.tbsnews.net/bangla/ফিচার/পাকিস্তানি-কর্নেলের-চোখে-ঢাকার-পতন)

Lt Col Riyaz Jafri (retd) did not make it far in his army career to speak straight. In the mid-1970s, he joined East Pakistan as Major General Rao Farman Ali Khan's Principal Staff Officer (GSO-1), seeing firsthand the dust-kissing of the Pakistani military. Now in his eighties, he lives on a monthly pension of Rs 1,650 and earnings from writing.

The tragedy of December 16 haunts the entire nation every year ⎯ those who witnessed the devastation and are still alive bear the burden of the memory especially. I am one of those unfortunates. On that day, Quaid's Pakistan ⎯ which once thought that ``divided we shall survive'' actually broke all ties of unity between the two parts and became divided. On that day, the largest Muslim army in the world suffered the greatest defeat. This day is the blackest day in our history⎯which shocked everyone. How did it happen? Looking back, I will highlight a few sad events.

Joined late Major General Rao Farman Ali Khan in charge of Martial Law (Civil Affairs) in East Pakistan as Principal Staff Officer (GSO-1) in early July 1970. By virtue of the position I had the privilege of observing the governor's house from a vantage point. Governor's House is the main base of all operations in East Pakistan. I also had the opportunity to look at old documents, many old documents were peeking out in daily work. I got a clear picture of what was happening and why.

If I am asked, who is responsible for this disaster? I would say all of us; From the common man on the street to the highest seat of the land, all are equally responsible. Common people, because when Quaid Azam raised his finger of discipline at the convocation of Dhaka University on March 19, 1948, when he said that Urdu would be the only official language of Pakistan, it was a crime to remain ignorant of the fire of anger that had been burning ever since ⎯no one tried to measure the depth of the anger and the initiative for reconciliation. did not take The highest authority is responsible, because of his greed, power-hunger and selfishness.

Unfortunately - we all considered East-Pakistan as a colony of ours. Accepting that East Pakistan is the main part of Pakistan with 54 percent manpower, we had not given it the status it deserves. The 'power barons' in the federal government of Pakistan came mainly from West-Pakistan. They did not willingly and happily share power with their Bengali brothers. Just think when Suhrawardy brought 'parity' equality for Bengalis in 1956, their joy could not be contained anymore. Ever heard the majority thanking the minority for giving 'parity'?


Colonel Riaz Jaffrey

We did it again in 1971. The minority declared the majority to be unpatriotic traitors and separatists. The majority of the people who founded the country in 1906 were forced to leave the country. Not only were the Bengalis treated unequally, they were the main earners of the country by exporting golden fiber jute to the jute mills of Manchester and Dundee in the UK. They have borne the main responsibility of Pakistan's economy. For 15 consecutive years until 1962 funds flowed from East Pakistan to West; Then after an equilibrium of two years an attempt was made to reverse this process, that too to a very small extent. So the Bengalis had good reason to be upset and upset with the 'Shala' Punjabis (to them all West-Pakistan was Punjabi).

Although there is no doubt that the Bengalis showed equal patriotism in the 1965 war with India, if not more - then the fear of the West Pakistanis, mutual trust between the two parts was not as expected. By the 1970s the relationship had deteriorated beyond repair. The last straw, too, broke with Bhutto's rejection of the election results ⎯ the election gave Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Awami League a clear majority to form the government at the centre. Another announcement by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto ⎯ "Whomever goes to Dhaka to attend the session of the National Assembly will have his legs broken."

"Udhar tum, idhar hum."

"Instead of being the 'underdog' of the whole of Pakistan, I will be the 'top dog' of half of Pakistan."

This clarified the suspicions of Mujib and his party. They took the path of disobeying the law. Demands for provincial autonomy grew stronger as days progressed, and compromise talks with West Pakistani leaders and Federal Prime Minister Yahya Khan failed.

Army attack on 25th March 1971 night to cool the civil disobedience movement commenced. Then 8 months of continuous guerrilla warfare continued between the army and the Mukti Bahini. On 21 November 1971, on the day of Eid, India launched a full-scale attack on East Pakistan, the war lasted for 26 days in a totally adverse situation.

1. With Pakistan lagging behind India in troops and logistics ⎯ only one against three Indian cores, that too poorly-equipped ⎯ no tanks, little artillery, only infantry and a battalion of engineers.

2. No occupying army can fight a war with the enmity of the local people, without the support of the local citizens. In this case, the people thought of them as enemies and provided all kinds of help to India, starting from providing secret information.

3. Poor communication and logistics conditions ⎯Stopped arrival of arms and ammunition from West-Pakistan; Since February 1970, aircraft over India have been suspended and India has secretly begun the 'Ganges Episode', with no air cover in the air war, only one squadron of F-86s; It too could not take off as the runway of the Kurmitola Military Air Base was rendered useless by Indian bombing.


Kurmitola (Dhaka Shahjalal Airport currently) hit by runway bomb damage (squares shown)

If anyone should be given credit in this situation, it is the army. Because they survived by fighting for nine months. In the second half of 1971, both the people and the military seemed to have lost consciousness. In desperation, both sides are waiting for the cataclysm. I distinctly remember: Major General Rahim Khan, later Secretary General Defence, addressed the newly commissioned lieutenant colonels and majors in East Pakistan on or about July 11, 1971, saying, 'Gentlemen, the entire administration of East Pakistan Province has been dissolved. I have only brought the administration back to action. Now it is your responsibility to set it right.' Then he added, I have promised the Army Chief (General Yahya Khan), give me three months, if I can't do it in that time (I said to myself, then hang me!) he will remove me. I was very surprised, The general mixed up the whole affair with his replacement within three months. In three months he can't do anything.

And once General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, GOC of the Eastern Command, alias Tiger Niazi, while briefing senior officers from headquarters in October 1971, instructed that no one should paint a grim picture of East Pakistan or discourage them from asking for more troops. He himself said it would be nice if they sent more troops, if not, the less the better.

The operational military map on the board is covered with green pins. A red pin in a few areas means that the Mukti Bahini is in possession, but then the map is supposed to be marked with a red pin. Very satisfied, the General Headquarters team returned with the idea that there was no problem anywhere in East Pakistan, everyone was happy. 'All right' reports from various sectors of East Pakistan have been sent to West Pakistan.

But by then it is too late, there is no chance of a political solution. Although General Farman had been talking about political solutions from the beginning, but being much junior in the ranks of the army, his words were not given due importance. Some felt that this 'brave courage' was misplaced ⎯ they did not want to be called 'brave as a chicken' in army parlance. The common people of West-Pakistan have been alienated from the true news, even those who were at the helm of the country.


Attempts to bring the issue of East Pakistan to the international level have failed in our time. Far from establishing international opinion for us, we have alienated almost all of them. In October 1971, Indira Gandhi went on a tour of 19 countries to talk about the imagined Pakistani attacks on Bengalis, especially the Hindus of East Pakistan ⎯ everywhere she assured that India had no plans to attack Pakistan. While she was canvassing and canvassing, her army was putting the finishing touches on the Eastern Command attack plan at Fort William on the east bank of the Hooghly River in Calcutta.

And in our time, although President Nixon ordered Kissinger to do something, the Seventh Fleet did not give the customary radio salute or blow the three courtesy horns as it passed through the Bay of Bengal. After we established an emergency radio link with China, China sent many messages about how they could help us, which I witnessed myself. But there was no response from the president's secretariat, who was drunk in Rawalpindi. The message we get is 'Please wait.' We had so much faith in our friendship with China that when Indian soldiers were parachuting into Narayanganj, many thought that the Chinese had arrived. The fear of our Eastern Command was that India would occupy the land of East Pakistan and give it to Mukti Bahini and Mukti Bahini would hoist a flag there and declare that Bangladesh and India would immediately recognize it. Thus Bangladesh will be born.

Small contingents of our army were deployed along the border, gradually weakened ⎯ because there was no stockpile of logistics, no second line of defense, no depth. Enemy in front (Indian Army), enemy behind (Mukti Bahini). The Pakistan Army commanders never realized that protecting the capital, not the land, was the most important thing. It is supposed to be Warsaw, Paris, Moscow, Berlin ⎯ Dacca in our time until the enemy falls, the country will not fall. If they had brought all the troops to Dacca, built defense forts for Dacca, they could have fought for three months ⎯ the East-Pakistan story would have been different.

We still could not have prevented the rise of Bangladesh, but it would have happened with the intervention of world powers and possibly the United Nations.

Pakistan would not have to suffer through the ignominy of this defeat.
Last edited:

Top Bottom