Pakistan was vulnerable right from the day one due to distant wings and a hostile territory in between. Of course, there were some contradictions between East and the West Pakistan. For one, the declaration of one national language Urdu had sowed the seeds of discord. Secondly, no constitution could be framed for the first nine years; and when the one was framed in 1956 it did not reflect the aspirations of the people. Indeed, Bengalis were the majority, but formation of One Unit by merging provinces of West Pakistan due to leadership’s obsession with ‘parity’ between the two wings had further alienated the people of Bangladesh. Thirdly, in 1970 elections, Awami League had emerged as single majority party, but due to Sheikh Mujib’s affinity with India and his intransigence on Six Points, power was not transferred to him. Such problems and contradictions existed in many countries, and resolved through dialogue.
But that was not to be, because India through its agents had added fuel to the fire by fabricating stories and exaggerated them for political gains. Even today, India does not want Bangladesh to forget about 1971, and continues to remind it. Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League (AL) unlike her father always played this card, while Pakistan has been somewhat apologetic. So-called war crimes, trials and executions of opponents by Hasina Wajid government have more to do with settling political scores and demonizing Pakistan. Jamaat-e-lslami remains the prime target, though it participated in elections and was Hasina Wajid’s political ally during 80s/90s. The party had proved its legitimacy; it entered electoral politics in the 1980s. It had tactical alliance with each major political actor in the country in the decades since. It participated in the parliamentary election of 1986 held under martial law in alliance with the AL.
In 1971, India had been behind the inflexible and stubborn attitude of Awami League, which led to dismemberment of Pakistan. Indira Gandhi had claimed to have drowned the Two Nation Theory’ in Bay of Bengal, whereas, Bangladesh’s existence as a sovereign Muslim nation is a confirmation of this theory; however, two States concept was replaced with Three States reality. Anyhow, the drama of Ganga hijacking on 30th January 1971 was orchestrated to ban Pakistan’s over flights. Indira Gandhi was on record having openly claimed to have taken revenge for 700 years of Muslim rule; and now Narendra Modi’s open confession of Indian role during his visit confirms India’s devious plans. It has to be mentioned that a joint struggle of Muslims of British India was an important factor in achieving independence from Hindu-British nexus. Had there been no Pakistan, there would not have been Bangladesh.
Sheikh Mujeeb had been taken into protective custody before start of operation on 25 March 1971 without any commotion. He rather waited patiently for military to arrive and was treated with dignity all through the incarceration in the then West Pakistan. Later on, he was repatriated honorably to Bangladesh in January 1972. However, when soldiers of the Bangladesh army came for Sheikh Mujib on 15 August 1975 he went to meet them, who killed him and all his extended family present, including his wife, two daughters-in-law, and three sons. It has to be acknowledged that Sheikh Mujeeb had accorded rousing welcome to Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1974. Later, he himself also visited Pakistan to attend Islamic Summit and stated “Bengalis know how to forget and forgive”. Pakistan has approximately 2 Million illegal Bengalis on its soil but has never made them scapegoat for turmoil in Karachi.
Later, use of Pak Army in operation “Search Light” was a last option for stabilizing the law & order situation. If Pakistan was to militarily control the Bengalis, it would not have kept so less army (less than two divisions). That point besides, Armed Forces of Pakistan have always kept national interest at fore whether it was operation Search Light or Operation Zarb-e-Azb today. Pakistan Army was present in East Pakistan as it was in West Pakistan with Bengali officers and men; some of whom continued to serve and defend Pakistan throughout Civil War and War with India. There was only one ‘Invading Force’ in 1971 and that was India, which had earlier organized and fully controlled the Bengali secessionist force called Mukti Bahini. Indians initiated war in East Pakistan on 21st November on the pretext of refugees.
If this principle was to be applied today by other states as well; should Pakistan invade Afghanistan or Europe overrun Syria? Memoirs of Field Marshal Manekshaw indicate his meeting with Indra Gandhi in April 1971 when she asked Manekshaw for the impending invasion of East Pakistan. Field Marshal Manekshaw asked 7-9 months preparation time, which was granted by PM Indira Gandhi. By the way, Indian and even some Pakistani analysts paint Pakistan army in poor light. But in a BBC interview, former Indian COAS General Sam Manekshaw had praised the Pakistan Army stating that he had an overwhelming superior strength of 16 to 1, and the Pakistan Army was fighting under adverse conditions. In his book also Manekshaw had all the praise for Pakistan Army for having fought valiantly. It has also been acknowledged that in former East Pakistan, it was not military defeat but political.
Having said that, the Indian mindset which doesn’t tolerate a Muslim in their country or Dalit who is a follower of their own faith; how can it tolerate Bangladesh as a Muslim country? India is still engaged in fomenting trouble through her proxies like using BLA, TTP in Pakistan and LTTE in Sri Lanka etc. Moreover, military interventions in Maldives, Sri Lanka and Myanmar etc., vividly indicate that sole threat to the peaceful co-existence in South Asia is the hegemonic design and ambitions of India. India is denying basic rights to its own population in IoK, Punjab, Mezoram, Manipur’s, Nagaland etc., and so many other troubled areas within the country. Bangladesh status is not more than a client state with India, which minutely controls and dictates her policies. Discriminatory policies of Awami League are aimed at pleasing Indian masters in contravention to international covenants, which have been condemned by human rights organizations and international community.