The Great Tragedy

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Book Written by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on the breakup of East Pakistan and the role of Military government in it

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The Great Tragedy; Copyright www.bhutto.org1THE GREAT TRAGEDYBYZULFIKAR ALI BHUTTOCHAIRMANPAKISTAN PEOPLE PARTYReproduced by:Sani H. PanhwarMember Sindh Council, PPPThe Great Tragedy; Copyright www.bhutto.org2INTRODUCTIONI am reproducing this book put the record straight, unfortunately many peoplewithout knowing the facts blame Bhutto for breaking up Pakistan. Bhutto wrotethis book in September 1971 and it was first published in the same month. At thattime General Yahya Khan was in power and there was full scale civil war goingon in East Pakistan. In December three months after Bhutto wrote these factsPakistan lost East Pakistan which became an independent country namedBangladesh. There are different reasons including Indian conspiracy with thehelpof SheikhMujibur-Rahmanandplunder of West Pakistani army,businessman, and politicians who took advantage of the resources of EastPakistan for their own prosperity which caused the people of East Pakistan torevolt against West Pakistan.Bengalis opted for Pakistan on 20th June 1946 through vote in the favor ofPakistan in Bengal Legislative Assembly; the Hindu MLAs did not favor theidea and opted for division of Bengal. Later West Bengal became part of Indiaand East Bengal became part of Pakistan. These people who gave half of theircountry for Pakistan were labeled traitors when they spoke against imposition ofUrdu as national language. Here are few examples how the Bengalis werefinancially deprived and taken advantage of.Year West EastEast Pakistan'sShare in TotalExports1960-61 540 1,259 70%1961-62 543 1,301 70%1962-63 998 1,249 55%1963-64 1,070 1,224 54%1964-65 1,140 1,268 53%1965-66 1,204 1,514 55%1966-67 1,297 1,565 55%1967-68 1,645 1,480 47%Total 8,437 10,860(In million rupees)REGION WISE EXPORTSThese are the number of exports for both parts of the country; East Pakistan wascontributing more in terms of export rupees for the center then West Pakistan.The Great Tragedy; Copyright www.bhutto.org3Year West East Total West East1965-66 to1967-68(Total) 3,118 1,113 4,231 74% 26%TotalProvisionin theSchedule 5,861 5,024 109 54% 46%(In million rupees)REGIONAL DISTRIBUTION OF SANCTIONS UNDERCOMPREHENSIVE INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT SCHEDULE% of DistributionThey were only getting 26% from the allocated budget of 46%. Leave alone that theydeserved more then 46%. East Pakistans population was more then combined fourprovinces of West Pakistan.No one individual, person or act can be blamed for the dismemberment of thecountry. It was the tragic result of a cumulative effect of inept leadership andincorrect domestic and external policies over the years which brought the nationto the brink of disaster. A faulty decision in 1971 pushed it over the precipice.Unfortunately the founding fathers did not realize the impact of the uniquenature of Pakistans geography. To a set of wiser men it should have becomeevident that East Pakistan, 1,600 kilometers away with peninsular India inbetween jutting menacingly into the Indian Ocean, required a special politicaland economic dispensation.The inability of the first Constituent Assembly to arrive at a consensus on thesharing of political power between the two wings sowed the seeds of discontentsuspicion and bitterness between the East the West. For nine long years theyquarrelled over the quantum of authority each should wield in the parliament.When they did finally come to an agreement it was torpedoed byunconstitutional means which added to the animosity of the Bengalis against theWest Pakistanis in general and the army in particular.The abolition of the 1956 Constitution removed the only plank on which theweakening edifice was standing. The 1962 Constitution which ushered in an eraof controlled democracy only satisfied psychopaths of the Field Marshal. EastThe Great Tragedy; Copyright www.bhutto.org4Pakistan began to simmer from within as it was being denied its rightful place inthe corridors of power.The replacement of an unrepresentative government by a second martial lawincreased the temperature mounting under the steamy surface of East Pakistan.The expectations of the Bengalis had been aroused. They were looking forwardto handling real power for the first time. Suddenly Yahya pulled the carpet fromunder their feet letting loose a flood of resentment which he could not control.Pakistans foreign policy has been dictated by its security concerns. The presenceof a powerful and unfriendly neighbor forced the Pakistani leadership in the 50sto join the anti-communist military pacts. The military alliance with the UnitedState no doubt strengthened the armed forces but it pushed India into the lap ofthe Soviet Union and turned a superpower next door against Pakistan.East Pakistan crisis, in spite of the US Congress and the US media being totallypro-India. The secret visit of Doctor Henry Kissinger from Islamabad to Pekingin July, 1971, which was a fore-runner of Nixons trip to the Chinese capital,turned USSR further against Pakistan. In retaliation to Pakistans mediatory rolePodgorny willingly signed the indo-Soviet Treaty in August, 1971. This gave thegreen signal to Mrs. Gandhi to go ahead with her plans of a military invasion ofEastPakistan as a possible threatfrom across the Himalayas had beenneutralized.Pakistan governments instructions to its permanent representative at the UnitedNations not to take up the issue of Indias military intervention in East Pakistanin November, 1971 lost the opportunity for the world community to declareIndia as the aggressor. Ironically due to the failure of Islamabad to strike whenthe iron was hot it was Pakistan that was blamed for starting the war.There was genuine feeling of economic deprivation of the people of East Pakistanagainst the economic planners at the Centre. Not examining this issue sincerelygave more than adequate ammunition to the Awami Leaguers to blow the Unityof Pakistan into bits.The demeaning attitude of the West Pakistanis towards their Bengali brethrencannot be glossed over. The misconception that they were lesser Muslimsbecause culturally they were different led to wrong conclusions that they neededpurification. It is unfortunate that the colour of the skin, dress, dietary conditionsand cultural values were equated with loyalty to ones country. This attitudeencouraged patriotic Pakistanis (Bengalis) to look for a separate country wheretheir rights and respect is secure.The Great Tragedy; Copyright www.bhutto.org5Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, while Pakistans foreign minister in 1966, charged India forencouraging secessionist tendencies in East Pakistan. Speaking to the nationalassembly of Pakistan on 3 June, 1966, he stated: India felt that it could liquidate thetruncated Pakistan and that East Pakistan was particularly vulnerable where forces ofdisruption and subversion were let loose. He was not too far wrong.In July, 1966, a Bengali citizen of East Pakistan contacted Lieutenant ColonelMuhammad Amir Khan, head of the counter intelligence section of the interservices intelligence (ISI) directorate of Pakistan, and informed him that anorganization had been created in East Bengal to work for the separation of theirhomeland from Pakistan. He revealed that Mujibur-Rahman and LieutenantCommander Muazzam Hussein (Pakistan Navy) were the key figures in thenewly created set up. Others whom he named, who according to him supportedthe idea was the Bengali speaker of the national assembly Fazalul Haq Choudhryand Major Rauf, of the ISI detachment in Dacca. Colonel Amir continued to makemore trips to East Pakistan and succeeded in taping conversations between thealleged secessionists which showed that there were plans to support a movetowards separation. Frequent meetings with the in Indian high commissionofficials and their crossing over to the Indian town of Agartala, just, across theeastern border between India and East Pakistan, was also noted. Sheikh Mujiband the Indians admitted, after the creation of Bangladesh, that he (Mujib) andother Bengali leaders had contacts with Indian diplomatic and intelligence circles.This scheme of dividing the country was going on from 1966.To examine the facts one should also read the Agartala Conspiracy and Hamood-ur-Ranman Commission report. When Bhutto wrote this book all the actors werealive, some of them were even in power. No one ever contradicted his statements.Read it for yourself and be the judge on who to blame for the breakup ofPakistan.Sani PanhwarMember Sindh Council, PPPThe Great Tragedy; Copyright www.bhutto.org6PREFACEThe year 1971 has witnessed a great tragedy in Pakistan. The crisis which hasengulfed our country did not come without warning. In the Preface to my bookThe Myth of Independence written in November 1967 I said: I confess that thisbook has been written in haste, in circumstances over which I had no control, in arace against time which is dragging Pakistan, with giant strides, to the crossroads whence all ways but one lead to destruction. Less than four years laterhere we are at the crossroads.In this narrative I have tried to record my personal impressions of the crisis intowhich Pakistan has been plunged, and the role of the Pakistan Peoples Party. Ihave touched on the past and the future only in so far as they can help us to abetter understanding of the present.My reflections were set down in early May and were initially intended merely asprivate notes; but as conditions deteriorated I thought it my duty to tell ourpeople how Pakistan became involved in this dreadful situation. In part, mynarrative has already beenovertakenby important events. Many newdevelopments have taken place which affect Pakistan. These are not dealt withhere, although their implications are relevant to the solution of the crisis.However, in the interests of finding this solution, and owing to the limitationsinherentin the presentsituation,I have exercised restraint and reservedcomment on certain matters. Nevertheless, these developments need to be noted:on the 28th