• Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

Pakistan army leader on the 1971 Bangladesh war: Political Failure, Not Military Failure

ByJosh Taylor

Nov 24, 2022

General Qamar Bajwa stated that Bangladesh, previously East Pakistan, was a “political failure” rather than a “military failure,” adding that the army’s performance and activities in Bangladesh during the 1971 civil war are themes that most people avoid discussing.
In his final public presentation as Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Pakistan’s departing General Qamar Javed Bajwa criticised the country’s anti-military narrative and ‘fixed certain facts’ concerning the 1971 Bangladesh conflict.
He said that the number of soldiers fighting was 34,000 – the others were in other government agencies – and that these 34,000 were vastly outnumbered by an Indian army of 2,50,000 soldiers and a Mukti Bahini of 200,000 members.
“Despite the odds, our troops fought heroically and made exceptional sacrifices, which were recognised by the Indian army head, Field Marshal Manekshaw,” stated General Bajwa.
He called Pakistan’s failure to acknowledge their sacrifices a “grave injustice.”
Taking advantage of this opportunity, I honour and will continue to salute their martyrs. “We should be proud tham they are our heroes,” he added.
General Bajwa will leave his job at the end of November. In 2016, he was appointed as Pakistan’s army chief for a three-year term that was extended for another three years.
Pakistan was formed in 1947 as a result of British India’s split into two parts: West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan) and East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh). Bangladesh gained independence in 1971 after Pakistan’s Western-dominated government started an operation to crush a liberation movement in the area following 1970 elections that provided power to parties from the East that the West found unacceptable. Scholars believe that up to 3 million people died in Bangladesh during ethnic cleansing as part of the Pakistani army’s military effort.
The statement on Wednesday is the latest in a series of attempts by the Pakistani Army to airbrush its history of killing unarmed people in Bangladesh during the events that led to the establishment of an independent Bangladesh in December 1971.
Respect for Pakistani troops killed in 1971: General Bajwa Bajwa of Pakistan stated that the army was recently targeted by some political forces with a “false and made-up narrative,” and that the institution, despite being capable of responding in any way, remained calm, but “patience has a limit.”
Earlier in the month, former Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, and Major General Faisal Naseer were involved in an assassination conspiracy against him.
“I got to the conclusion that it is due of the army’s participation in politics” (that it is criticised so much). So, in February of last year, the institution resolved not to interfere in politics,” he stated.
“Everyone has the right to criticise, but the language (used) should be cautious,” he added.

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