Bangladesh Awards at the Cost of Pakistan
By Sajjad Shaukat
With the acceleration of propaganda campaign by the external elements against Pakistan and its army, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid who has pro-Indian tilt has also been maligning Pak Army. Unfortunately, some prominent persons of our country also speak in the tone foreign anti-Pakistan entities.
In this regard, unlike the past years, this time a ceremony was held in Dhaka on March 24, 2013, with full pump and show to honour ‘Foreign Friends of Bangladesh Award,’ in relation to the crisis which led to the separation of East Pakistan. The recipients of awards from Pakistan were mainly those personalities whose deceased fathers had opposed army action in the East Pakistan and had totally ignored the Indian supported secessionist movement led by Mukti Bahini. In this respect, Ms. Salima Hashmi received the award on behalf of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ms. Asma Jahangir on behalf of her father Malik Ghulam Jilani, who was Vice President of West Pakistan Awami League. Tahira Jalib received the reward declared for Habib Jalib. Begum Tahira Mazhar Ali Khan, Ahmed Salim, Dr. Iqbal Ahmed, Sindhi poet Inwar Pirzada and Qazi Faez Isa were also given rewards for opposing military operation in the then East Pakistan, while the late Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo was posthumously given ‘Bangladesh Liberation War Honour Award’ which was received by his son Mir Hasil Bizenjo.
Besides, Hamid Mir, a renowned media anchor and columnist of a top media group also got the award.
It is notable that on the instruction of India, in December, 2012 when the names of participants in the said ceremony were announced, Bandladeshi Prime Minister Hasian Wajid had refused to attend D-8 conference in Islamabad unless Pakistan tendered apology for the alleged genocide of Bengalis. While following her language, Salima Hashmi, said, “The Pakistan government should formally apologise to the people of Bangladesh for the atrocities committed by Pakistan occupation army during the War of Independence in 1971.” And without grasping reality, Asma Jahangir has always expressed her misperceptions against Pak Army and its security agencies.
In this context, a book titled, “Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: The Unfinished Memoirs” written by the Bengali leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as his autobiography has been released in the recent past. While speaking in line of the book, Hamid Mir reproduced its contents in his article, “Mujib’s Memoirs,” published in daily, ‘The News’ on November 24, 2012. He wrote, “One-sided history books tell us that Mujib was a traitor who broke up Pakistan…in fact, the political intrigues and blunders of military dictators broke up Pakistan—Bengalis were massacred and their women were raped.” He added, “It is time now to apologise officially to the people of Bangladesh.”
However, these prominent persons and their fathers, the late including Hamid Mir left no stone unturned in distorting the historical facts about 1971 war and Pakistan’s armed forces. So we must see other side of the coin so as to know reality in this regard.
As regards the debacle of Dhaka, a well-known Bengali journalist Sarmila Bose authored a book, “Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War” after thorough investigation. Her book was published in 2011. While countering exaggeration of the Indian and Bengali Journalists, Bose argues that the number of Bengalis killed in 1971 was not three million, but around 50,000 while Bengalis were equally involved in the bloodshed of non-Bengalis.
In fact, during 1970 election campaign, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the leader of Awami League left no stone unturned in manipulating the situation by creating differences between East and West Pakistan.
Notably, before the 1971 war, Mujibur Rahman, had announced a separate national flag for East Pakistan in his six points which also included that currency of East Pakistan should be different along with a separate military.
His six points created prejudice among Bengali people especially against West Pakistan. The famous slogan, during his addresses and rallies was, “Punjabi dogs go back.” It was due to Mujib’s instigation that besides Punjabis, Bengalis had also tortured and killed Biharis, Pashtoons and Balochis, while their women were raped.
Majib was already in connivance with India for separation of East Pakistan. In this regard, Asoka Raina in his book, ‘Inside RAW: The Story of India’s Secret Service’, discloses, “Indian intelligence agencies were involved in erstwhile East Pakistan…its operatives were in touch with Sheikh Mujib as the possible ‘Father’ of a new nation-Bangladesh, who went to Agartala in 1965. The famous Agartala case was unearthed in 1967. In fact, the main purpose of raising RAW in 1968 was to organise covert operations in Bangladesh. Indian army officers and RAW officials used Bengali refugees to set up Mukti Bahini. Using this outfit as a cover, Indian military sneaked deep into East Pakistan…the story of Mukti Bahini and RAW’s role in its creation and training is now well-known.”
Majibur Rahman was already biased against West Pakistan, and started misguiding the people of East Pakistan by preparing their minds for separation of Bangladesh. In this respect, when in 1948, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah addressed Dhaka University; he declared that Urdu would be national language of the country. Majib stood up and said emotionally that Bengali should also be national language.
In this connection, Manib’s pre-planned conspiracy could be judged from the fact that when East Pakistan was occupied by Indian Army in 1971, he stated with pleasure that his 24 years old dream of an independent Bangladesh had been fulfilled. So, he had earlier developed his contacts with Indian rulers and training camps of Mukti Bahini, established by Indian army and RAW which also funded Mujibur Rehman’s general elections in 1970. Meanwhile, India welcomed the refugees from East Pakistan, and provoked them against West Pakistan.
Nevertheless, Majibur Rahman was just playing a double game by displaying his faithfulness during Pakistan movement. Undoubtedly, all this provides solid evidence about the separation of East Pakistan and the negative role, played by Majib and his Bengali supporters who perpetrated atrocities on the non-Bengalis to fulfill sinister designs of India.
But, it is regrettable that by pursuing the new turn of external propaganda, our on internal entities who received the awards, misinterpreted the facts in this respect, while implicating Pak Army.
Meanwhile, some reliable sources have disclosed that on the direction of New Delhi, Bangladeshi government also wanted to invite some leaders of Indian fundamentalist parties, BJP and RSS at the ceremony, but it changed the decision. These sources also suggest that Indian RSS elements resorted to some sort of bickering as they felt to have been ignored and left out in the awards ceremony, while claiming that they had arranged training camps for Bengali militants, provided them with arms and financial support to fight against their own legitimate government. So finally their awards went to somebody else.
In the recent past, Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde confessed the nexus between BJP and the RSS, disclosing that organised training camps run by these fundamentalist parties were promoting Hindu Terrorism. They also revealed that these parties were behind the Samjhauta Express, Meccca Masjid and Malegaon blasts including Gujarat and Babri Masjid incidents.
Nonetheless, besides other Pakistani persons like Hamid Mir and Asma Jehangir, the crimes committed by Indian backed Mukti Bahini have totally been ignored especially by Saleema Hashmi who was so overwhelmed by the award she was receiving. She obliged her host by resorting to anti-Pakistan rhetoric in the award-ceremony, and pleased India through her ill-conceived thoughts. Virtually within days of her hostile statement in Bangladesh, she was selected as a minister in the interim government of Punjab led by Najam Sethi. In these terms, she got double awards. No doubt, some of our own famous figures received the Bangladesh’s awards at the cost of Pakistan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Affairs