Original Articles

Feminist retrospectives 1971: A parting of ways Bangladesh and Pakistan – by Aamir Hussaini

Yesterday there was a regional webinar “Feminist retrospectives 1971: A parting of ways Bangladesh and Pakistan” organized by Women’s Action Forum – WAF on #independenceday of #Bangladesh. Khushi Kabir, Dr. Amena Mohsin, Muktasree Chamka from Bangladesh and Nighat Said Khan, Saba Gul Khattak and Anum Zakaria from Pakistan were guest speakers. Webinar was moderated by Rubina Saigol. So we can say that prominent feminist voices participated in the saud regional webinar. I was late, so i watched Nighat Said Khan and Muktasree Chamka speaking and representing their thoughts on the said topic of the webinar.

Begum Nighat glanced in detail about near to complete silence over military operation, Genocide of Bengali nation, rape of Bengali women from Western Pakistan. She pointed out the easily surrendering the Print media of Western Pakistan in front of dictator Yahya’s censorship and its imposed false propagation campaign. Table stories, fabricated features were being published in the Press.

She described some some persons from Western Pakistan, who had raised their voice against the military operation in Eastern Pakstan: Habib Jalib wrote a poem lamenting the choas and oppression in Eastern Pakistan clearly condemning the ruling elite and Army leadership over their cruelty while shaming the people of Western Pakistan over their Silence. He was arrested and sent to Jail. Few in numbers some student activists from NSF inclined to #USSR organized a protests in #Lahore and #Karachi but heavy majority of student Activists from Progressive camp tightly closed their lips and they remained silent.

National Awami Party – NAP Wali Khan was in support of transferring the power to Awami League but its leadership didn’t mobilized the workers against the delay in Assembly Session, neither they organized public rallies nor they built enough pressure on Military Junta although they made press statements against military action in Dhaka.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his party #PPP after the result of the General Elections 1970, slowly slowly had transformed itself self-styled vanguard party of assumed interests of Western Pakistan. We see Bhutto making efforts to pave the middle way from extreme position of Awami League and ruling elites of Western Pakistan before Assembly Session. It is reality which should be accepted that Bhutto and His Party also didn’t mobilize its supporting masses against delaying tactics of Military Junta and its position was very near to Western Pakistan Nationalism, which was not allowing Mr. Bhutto to oppose Dictator Yahya over his extremely dangerous tactics to frighten and seduce Sheikh Mujib for creating some flexibility over his position on Six Points.

In last week of the March 1971, he accepted to go Dhaka along with a delegation of his party, when Yahya Khan invited him, Yahya and his comrades were going to make final talk to Sheikh Mujib. That talk were failed and Yahya Khan ordered the Eastern Army Command to start stern military operation against Awami League, a decision which proved big disaster. Mr. Bhutto and his party didn’t opposed the military operation and his party didn’t create any trouble for military during the operation. As a whole we didn’t find even any single press conference from 25 March to 16 December 1971 by any political party from Western Pakistan in which it had demanded to stop genocide of Bengali People.

I searched the archives of newspapers and magazines to see whether any Politician or intellectual from Western Pakistan used term “Genocide or ethnic cleansing” for defining the actions of military in Eastern Pakistan, result was “No”. Masses in Pakistan were convinced that it was #India, #Hindus #US #USSR enemies of #Islam and #Pakistan who had hatched the conspiracy and Military was successfully countering the conspiracies. Even before one day of Independence of Bangladesh and Surrender of Pakistan troops in Dhaka, People of Western Pakistan were celebrating the victory of Pakistan and there were no Political Party and its main leadership present to reveal the real story occurring in Eastern Pakistan. State if denial over news being published in international media was prevailed in Western Pakistan during that period which became strong tradition and still it is strong tradition having state of denial about Bengali genocide by Military and ita proxies like Al-Shams and Albadar.

Selective standard of some Liberal Elites in Pakistan over applying the term “Genocide” in some cases of persecution:

” Bengali people faced genocidal campaign from Military of Pakistan, that was genocide of Bengali people, number of killings and rape either they were or not same as claimed by Bangladesh”, said Dr. Nighat Khan, while presenting her papers. His view and usage of term “Genocide” were endorsed in comments section by large numbers of participants in the webinar from such Pakistani Liberal elites (among those who endorsed the view of Nighat Khan was Beena Sarwar also) which never accepted the term “Shia Genocide” or #Shia_Cleansing in case of “Persecution of Shia Muslims” in Pakistan. In case of Persecution of Shia Muslims in Pakistan, these liberal sections rejected the term genocide while making false binaries.

I was surprised to see Beena Sarwar, who was offering tribute to Hamid Mir, while presenting him as example of “Liberal Journalist” who had used the term “Genocide” while condemning the military operation in Eastern Pakistan because this was same Hamid Mir who never admitted “Persecution of Shia Community” in Pakistan, he even had admired Takfiri Jihadist sectarian organizations like #SSP aka #ASWJ as emerging anti-feudal radical and revolutionary force after some victories of #SSP in local bodies elections in Punjab in 90s and he had written long admiring feature published in special color edition of daily Jang Lahore. In his TV program “Capital Talk” he invited banned outfits’ leaders and posed them as “Ambassadors of Peace and sectarian harmonizers”, in fact that leaders were “Perchark of Shia genocide”. I am really surprised over such selective standards of such sections of our liberal camp.

These sections of Liberals on one side obfuscate crimes and blunders of Nawaz Sharif while portraying him as “Che” and only single example of Anti-Establishment, but disproportionately condemn Bhutto when these sections try to seek who was the master-mind of genocidal campaign against Bengali. They put all responsibility on Bhutto in this matter and fabricated fantasies to demonize the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

On one end we see such liberals demonizing the Bhutto and PPP, while convincing the masses that all state machinery including Army was following the orders of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and on other end right-wingers apologists of military establishment like propagandists of #Jamat_i_Islami also declare #Bhutto as prime accused even proved culprit, while they deny that any excess was committed during military action. Recently there were Urdu posters on social pages created by JI’s social media teams in which false and totally bogus lines were dedicated to some renowned writers and researchers on Bengali Question, military operations, genocide etc, those quoted lines we do not found in books of these experts mentioned in the posters. Such posters claims that it was not Pakistan Army and its proxies who had raped the bengali women, committed mass killings during military action in 71 against Awami League. After great search made by apologists, they falsely present the book written by Sarmila Bose and tried to defend the military leadership of that era.

Liberals and Right-winger apologists both agree over one point on Question of tragic reality about Bengali in 71: It was Bhutto who forced dictator Yahya to order the launching of military action against Bengali.

Both camps ignored or obfuscate the fact that neither head of the Awami League declared Bhutto Sahib the culprit nor he said that Bhutto was behind every action committed by Junta. Buton contrary Sheikh Mujib as Head of newly formed Bangladesh revealed that this was bhutto, who had saved his life and sent him safely Dhaka through a chartered Air-Jet despite Yahya in House Arrest was insisting over killing Sheikh Mujib. We never seen any biography of Awami Leagure in which he had declared bhutto sahib responsible for breaking Pakistan but our Buqrati (Platonic) liberal and rightists insist that Bhutto was responsible for break up of Pakistan.

Zahid-e-Tang Nazar Mujhay Kafir Jana
Kafir Yeah Jahay Hai Keh Muslaman Hai Tu