The Bangladesh Liberation War[note 1] (Bengali: মুক্তিযুদ্ধ, Muktijuddho), also known as the Bangladesh War of Independence, or simply the Liberation War in Bangladesh, was a revolution and armed conflict sparked by the rise of the Bengali nationalist and self-determination movement in what was then East Pakistan during the 1971 Bangladesh genocide. It resulted in the independence of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. The war began after the Pakistani military junta based in West Pakistan launched Operation Searchlight against the people of East Pakistan on the night of 25 March 1971. It pursued the systematic elimination of nationalist Bengali civilians, students, intelligentsia, religious minorities and armed personnel. The junta annulled the results of the 1970 elections and arrested Prime minister-designate Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The war ended on 16 December 1971 after West Pakistan surrendered.
Rural and urban areas across East Pakistan saw extensive military operations and air strikes to suppress the tide of civil disobedience that formed following the 1970 election stalemate. The Pakistan Army, which had the backing of Islamists, created radical religious militias—the Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams—to assist it during raids on the local populace. Urdu-speaking Biharis in Bangladesh (ethnic minority) were also in support of Pakistani military. Members of the Pakistani military and supporting militias engaged in mass murder, deportation and genocidal rape. The capital Dhaka was the scene of numerous massacres, including Operation Searchlight and the Dhaka University massacre. An estimated 10 million Bengali refugees fled to neighbouring India, while 30 million were internally displaced. Sectarian violence broke out between Bengalis and Urdu-speaking immigrants. An academic consensus prevails that the atrocities committed by the Pakistani military were a genocide.
The Bangladeshi Declaration of Independence was proclaimed from Chittagong by members of the Mukti Bahini—the national liberation army formed by Bengali military, paramilitary and civilians. The East Bengal Regiment and the East Pakistan Rifles played a crucial role in the resistance. Led by General M. A. G. Osmani and eleven sector commanders, the Bangladesh Forces waged a mass guerrilla war against the Pakistani military. They liberated numerous towns and cities in the initial months of the conflict. The Pakistan Army regained momentum in the monsoon. Bengali guerrillas carried out widespread sabotage, including Operation Jackpot against the Pakistan Navy. The nascent Bangladesh Air Force flew sorties against Pakistani military bases. By November, the Bangladesh forces restricted the Pakistani military to its barracks during the night. They secured control of most parts of the countryside.
The Provisional Government of Bangladesh was formed on 17 April 1971 in Mujibnagar and moved to Calcutta as a government in exile. Bengali members of the Pakistani civil, military and diplomatic corps defected to the Bangladeshi provisional government. Thousands of Bengali families were interned in West Pakistan, from where many escaped to Afghanistan. Bengali cultural activists operated the clandestine Free Bengal Radio Station. The plight of millions of war-ravaged Bengali civilians caused worldwide outrage and alarm. India, which was led by Indira Gandhi, provided substantial diplomatic, economic and military support to Bangladeshi nationalists. British, Indian and American musicians organised the world's first benefit concert in New York City to support the Bangladeshi people. Senator Ted Kennedy in the United States led a congressional campaign for an end to Pakistani military persecution; while U.S. diplomats in East Pakistan strongly dissented with the Nixon administration's close ties to the Pakistani military dictator Yahya Khan.
India joined the war on 3 December 1971, after Pakistan launched preemptive air strikes on North India. The subsequent Indo-Pakistani War witnessed engagements on two war fronts. With air supremacy achieved in the eastern theatre and the rapid advance of the Allied Forces of Bangladesh and India, Pakistan surrendered in Dacca on 16 December 1971.
The war changed the geopolitical landscape of South Asia, with the emergence of Bangladesh as the seventh-most populous country in the world. Due to complex regional alliances, the war was a major episode in Cold War tensions involving the United States, the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. The majority of member states in the United Nations recognised Bangladesh as a sovereign nation in 1972.
Prior to the Partition of British India, the Lahore Resolution initially envisaged separate Muslim-majority states in the eastern and northwestern zones of British India. A proposal for an independent United Bengal was mooted by Prime Minister Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy in 1946, but was opposed by the colonial authorities. The East Pakistan Renaissance Society advocated the creation of a sovereign state in eastern British India. Eventually, political negotiations led, in August 1947, to the official birth of two states, Pakistan and India, giving presumably permanent homes for Muslims and Hindus respectively following the departure of the British. The Dominion of Pakistan comprised two geographically and culturally separate areas to the east and the west with India in between. The western zone was popularly (and for a period, also officially) termed West Pakistan and the eastern zone (modern-day Bangladesh) was initially termed East Bengal and later, East Pakistan. Although the population of the two zones was close to equal, political power was concentrated in West Pakistan and it was widely perceived that East Pakistan was being exploited economically, leading to many grievances. Administration of two discontinuous territories was also seen as a challenge. On 25 March 1971, after an election won by an East Pakistani political party (the Awami League) was ignored by the ruling (West Pakistani) establishment, rising political discontent and cultural nationalism in East Pakistan was met by brutal suppressive force from the ruling elite of the West Pakistan establishment, in what came to be termed Operation Searchlight. The violent crackdown by the Pakistan Army led to Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declaring East Pakistan's independence as the state of Bangladesh on 26 March 1971. Most Bengalis threw their support behind this move although Islamists and Biharis opposed this and sided with the Pakistan Army instead. Pakistani President Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan ordered the Pakistani military to restore the Pakistani government's authority, beginning the civil war. The war led to a sea of refugees (estimated at the time to be about 10 million) flooding into the eastern provinces of India. Facing a mounting humanitarian and economic crisis, India started actively aiding and organising the Bangladeshi resistance army known as the Mukti Bahini.
In 1948, Governor-General Muhammad Ali Jinnah declared that "Urdu, and only Urdu" would be the federal language of Pakistan. However, Urdu was historically prevalent only in the north, central, and western region of the subcontinent; whereas in East Bengal, the native language was Bengali, one of the two most easterly branches of the Indo-European languages. The Bengali-speaking people of Pakistan constituted over 30% of the country's population. The government stand was widely viewed as an attempt to suppress the culture of the eastern wing. The people of East Bengal demanded that their language be given federal status alongside Urdu and English. The Language Movement began in 1948, as civil society protested the removal of the Bengali script from currency and stamps, which were in place since the British Raj. The movement reached its climax in 1952, when on 21 February, the police fired on protesting students and civilians, causing several deaths. The day is revered in Bangladesh as the Language Movement Day. Later, in memory of the deaths in 1952, UNESCO declared 21 February as International Mother Language Day in November 1999.
Although East Pakistan had a larger population, West Pakistan dominated the divided country politically and received more money from the common budget.
|Year||Spending on West Pakistan (in millions of Pakistani rupees)||Spending on East Pakistan (in millions of Pakistani rupees)||Amount spent on East as percentage of West|
|Source: Reports of the Advisory Panels for the Fourth Five Year Plan 1970–75, Vol. I,|
published by the planning commission of Pakistan.
East Pakistan was already economically disadvantaged at the time of Pakistan's creation yet this economic disparity only increased under Pakistani rule. Factors included not only the deliberate state discrimination in developmental policies but also the fact that the presence of the country's capital and more immigrant businessmen in the Western wing directed greater government allocations there. Due to low numbers of native businessmen in East Pakistan, substantial labour unrest and a tense political environment, there were also much lower foreign investments in the eastern wing. The Pakistani state's economic outlook was geared towards urban industry, which was not compatible with East Pakistan's mainly agrarian economy.
Bengalis were under-represented in the Pakistan military. Officers of Bengali origin in the different wings of the armed forces made up just 5% of overall force by 1965; of these, only a few were in command positions, with the majority in technical or administrative posts. West Pakistanis believed that Bengalis were not "martially inclined" unlike Pashtuns and Punjabis; the "martial races" notion was dismissed as ridiculous and humiliating by Bengalis. Moreover, despite huge defence spending, East Pakistan received none of the benefits, such as contracts, purchasing and military support jobs. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 over Kashmir also highlighted the sense of military insecurity among Bengalis, as only an under-strength infantry division and 15 combat aircraft without tank support were in East Pakistan to thwart any Indian retaliations during the conflict.
Ideological and cultural differences
In 1947 the Bengali Muslims had identified themselves with Pakistan's Islamic project but by the 1970s the people of East Pakistan had given priority to their Bengali ethnicity over their religious identity, desiring a society in accordance with Western principles such as secularism, democracy and socialism. Many Bengali Muslims strongly objected to the Islamist paradigm imposed by the Pakistani state. Most members of West Pakistan's ruling elite also belonged to a liberal society, yet understood a common faith as the mobilising factor behind Pakistan's creation and the subsuming of Pakistan's multiple identities into one. West Pakistanis were substantially more supportive than East Pakistanis of an Islamic state, a tendency which persisted after 1971.
Cultural and linguistic differences between the two wings outweighed any religious unity. The Bengalis took great pride in their culture and language which, with its Bengali script and vocabulary, was unacceptable to the West Pakistani elite, who believed that it possessed considerable Hindu cultural influences. West Pakistanis, in an attempt to "Islamise" the East, wanted the Bengalis to adopt Urdu. The events of the language movement brought about a sentiment among Bengalis in favour of discarding Pakistan's communalism in favour of secular politics. The Awami League began propagating its secular message through its newspaper to the Bengali readership.
The Awami League's emphasis on secularism differentiated it from the Muslim League. In 1971, the Bangladeshi liberation struggle against Pakistan was led by secular leaders and secularists hailed the Bangladeshi victory as the triumph of secular Bengali nationalism over religion-centred Pakistani nationalism. While Pakistan's government strives for an Islamic state, Bangladesh was established secular. After the liberation victory, the Awami League attempted to build a secular order and the pro-Pakistan Islamist parties were barred from political participation. The majority of East Pakistani ulama had either remained neutral or supported the Pakistani state, since they felt that the break-up of Pakistan would be detrimental for Islam.
Although East Pakistan accounted for a slight majority of the country's population, political power remained in the hands of West Pakistanis. Since a straightforward system of representation based on population would have concentrated political power in East Pakistan, the West Pakistani establishment came up with the "One Unit" scheme, where all of West Pakistan was considered one province. This was solely to counterbalance the East wing's votes.
After the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan's first prime minister, in 1951, political power began to devolve to the new President of Pakistan, which replaced the office of Governor General when Pakistan became a republic, and, eventually, the military. The nominal elected chief executive, the Prime Minister, was frequently sacked by the establishment, acting through the President.
The East Pakistanis observed that the West Pakistani establishment would swiftly depose any East Pakistanis elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, such as Khawaja Nazimuddin, Mohammad Ali Bogra, or Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. Their suspicions were further aggravated by the military dictatorships of Ayub Khan (27 October 1958 – 25 March 1969) and Yahya Khan (25 March 1969 – 20 December 1971), both West Pakistanis. The situation reached a climax in 1970, when the Bangladesh Awami League, the largest East Pakistani political party, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a landslide victory in the national elections. The party won 167 of the 169 seats allotted to East Pakistan, and thus a majority of the 313 seats in the National Assembly. This gave the Awami League the constitutional right to form a government. However, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (a former Foreign Minister), the leader of the Pakistan People's Party, refused to allow Rahman to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Instead, he proposed the idea of having two Prime Ministers, one for each wing. The proposal elicited outrage in the east wing, already chafing under the other constitutional innovation, the "One Unit scheme". Bhutto also refused to accept Rahman's Six Points. On 3 March 1971, the two leaders of the two wings along with the President General Yahya Khan met in Dacca to decide the fate of the country. After their discussions yielded no satisfactory results, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called for a nationwide strike. Bhutto feared a civil war, therefore, he sent his trusted companion, Mubashir Hassan. A message was conveyed, and Rahman decided to meet Bhutto. Upon his arrival, Rahman met with Bhutto and both agreed to form a coalition government with Rahman as Premier and Bhutto as President. However, the military was unaware of these developments, and Bhutto increased his pressure on Rahman to reach a decision.
On 7 March 1971, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (soon to be the prime minister) delivered a speech at the Racecourse Ground (now called the Suhrawardy Udyan). In this speech he mentioned a further four-point condition to consider at the National Assembly Meeting on 25 March:
- The immediate lifting of martial law.
- Immediate withdrawal of all military personnel to their barracks.
- An inquiry into the loss of life.
- Immediate transfer of power to the elected representative of the people before the assembly meeting 25 March.
He urged his people to turn every house into a fort of resistance. He closed his speech saying, "Our struggle is for our freedom. Our struggle is for our independence." This speech is considered[by whom?] the main event that inspired the nation to fight for its independence. General Tikka Khan was flown into Dacca to become Governor of East Bengal. East-Pakistani judges, including Justice Siddique, refused to swear him in.
Between 10 and 13 March, Pakistan International Airlines cancelled all their international routes to urgently fly "government passengers" to Dacca. These "government passengers" were almost all Pakistani soldiers in civilian dress. MV Swat, a ship of the Pakistan Navy carrying ammunition and soldiers, was harboured in Chittagong Port, but the Bengali workers and sailors at the port refused to unload the ship. A unit of East Pakistan Rifles refused to obey commands to fire on the Bengali demonstrators, beginning a mutiny among the Bengali soldiers.
Response to the 1970 cyclone
The 1970 Bhola cyclone made landfall on the East Pakistan coastline during the evening of 12 November, around the same time as a local high tide, killing an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 people. Though the exact death toll is not known, it is considered[by whom?] the deadliest tropical cyclone on record. A week after the landfall, President Khan conceded that his government had made "slips" and "mistakes" in its handling of the relief efforts due to a lack of understanding of the magnitude of the disaster.
A statement released by eleven political leaders in East Pakistan ten days after the cyclone hit charged the government with "gross neglect, callous and utter indifference". They also accused the president of playing down the magnitude of the problem in news coverage. On 19 November, students held a march in Dacca protesting the slowness of the government's response. Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani addressed a rally of 50,000 people on 24 November, where he accused the president of inefficiency and demanded his resignation.
As the conflict between East and West Pakistan developed in March, the Dacca offices of the two government organisations directly involved in relief efforts were closed for at least two weeks, first by a general strike and then by a ban on government work in East Pakistan by the Awami League. With this increase in tension, foreign personnel were evacuated over fears of violence. Relief work continued in the field, but long-term planning was curtailed. This conflict widened into the Bangladesh Liberation War in December and concluded with the creation of Bangladesh. This was one of the first times that a natural event helped trigger a civil war.
A planned military pacification carried out by the Pakistan Army—codenamed Operation Searchlight—started on 25 March 1971 to curb the Bengali independence movement by taking control of the major cities on 26 March, and then eliminating all opposition, political or military, within one month. The Pakistani state claimed to justify starting Operation Searchlight on the basis of anti-Bihari violence by Bengalis in early March.
Before the beginning of the operation, all foreign journalists were systematically deported from East Pakistan.
The main phase of Operation Searchlight ended with the fall of the last major town in Bengali hands in mid-May. The operation also began the 1971 Bangladesh genocide. These systematic killings served only to enrage the Bengalis, which ultimately resulted in the secession of East Pakistan later in the same year. Bangladeshi media and reference books in English have published casualty figures which vary greatly, from 5,000–35,000 in Dacca, and 200,000–3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole, although independent researchers, including the British Medical Journal, have put forward the figure ranging from between 125,000 and 505,000. American political scientist Rudolph Rummel puts total deaths at 1.5 million. The atrocities have been referred to as acts of genocide.
According to the Asia Times,
At a meeting of the military top brass, Yahya Khan declared: "Kill 3 million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands." Accordingly, on the night of 25 March, the Pakistani Army launched Operation Searchlight to "crush" Bengali resistance in which Bengali members of military services were disarmed and killed, students and the intelligentsia systematically liquidated and able-bodied Bengali males just picked up and gunned down.
Although the violence focused on the provincial capital, Dacca, it also affected all parts of East Pakistan. Residential halls of the University of Dacca were particularly targeted. The only Hindu residential hall—Jagannath Hall—was destroyed by the Pakistani armed forces, and an estimated 600 to 700 of its residents were murdered. The Pakistani army denied any cold blooded killings at the university, though the Hamoodur Rahman Commission in Pakistan concluded that overwhelming force was used at the university. This fact, and the massacre at Jagannath Hall and nearby student dormitories of Dacca University, are corroborated by a videotape secretly filmed by Professor Nurul Ula of the East Pakistan University of Engineering and Technology, whose residence was directly opposite the student dormitories.
The scale of the atrocities was first made clear in the West when Anthony Mascarenhas, a Pakistani journalist who had been sent to the province by the military authorities to write a story favourable to Pakistan's actions, instead fled to the United Kingdom and, on 13 June 1971, published an article in The Sunday Times describing the systematic killings by the military. The BBC wrote: "There is little doubt that Mascarenhas' reportage played its part in ending the war. It helped turn world opinion against Pakistan and encouraged India to play a decisive role", with Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi herself stating that Mascarenhas' article has led her "to prepare the ground for India's armed intervention".
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was arrested by the Pakistani Army. Yahya Khan appointed Brigadier (later General) Rahimuddin Khan to preside over a special tribunal prosecuting Rahman with multiple charges. The tribunal's sentence was never made public, but Yahya caused the verdict to be held in abeyance in any case. Other Awami League leaders were arrested as well, while a few fled Dacca to avoid arrest. The Awami League was banned by General Yahya Khan.
Declaration of independence
The violence unleashed by the Pakistani forces on 25 March 1971 proved the last straw to the efforts to negotiate a settlement. Following these incidents, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman signed an official declaration that read:
Today Bangladesh is a sovereign and independent country. On Thursday night, West Pakistani armed forces suddenly attacked the police barracks at Razarbagh and the EPR headquarters at Pilkhana in Dacca. Many innocent and unarmed have been killed in Dhaka city and other places of Bangladesh. Violent clashes between E.P.R. and Police on the one hand and the armed forces of Pakistan on the other, are going on. The Bengalis are fighting the enemy with great courage for an independent Bangladesh. May Allah aid us in our fight for freedom. Joy Bangla [May Bangladesh be victorious].
Sheikh Mujib also called upon the people to resist the occupation forces through a radio message. Rahman was arrested on the night of 25–26 March 1971 at about 1:30 am (as per Radio Pakistan's news on 29 March 1971).
A telegram containing the text of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's declaration reached some students in Chittagong. The message was translated to Bengali by Dr. Manjula Anwar. The students failed to secure permission from higher authorities to broadcast the message from the nearby Agrabad Station of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation. However, the message was read several times by the independent Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendro Radio established by some rebel Bangali Radio workers in Kalurghat. Major Ziaur Rahman was requested to provide security of the station and he also read the Declaration on 27 March 1971. Major Ziaur Rahman broadcast announcement of the declaration of independence on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
This is Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra. I, Major Ziaur Rahman, at the direction of Bangobondhu Mujibur Rahman, hereby declare that Independent People's Republic of Bangladesh has been established. At his direction, I have taken the command as the temporary Head of the Republic. In the name of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, I call upon all Bengalees to rise against the attack by the West Pakistani Army. We shall fight to the last to free our motherland. Victory is, by the Grace of Allah, ours. Joy Bangla.
The Kalurghat Radio Station's transmission capability was limited, but the message was picked up by a Japanese ship in the Bay of Bengal. It was then re-transmitted by Radio Australia and later by the British Broadcasting Corporation.
26 March 1971 is considered the official Independence Day of Bangladesh, and the name Bangladesh was in effect henceforth. In July 1971, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi openly referred to the former East Pakistan as Bangladesh. Some Pakistani and Indian officials continued to use the name "East Pakistan" until 16 December 1971.
At first, resistance was spontaneous and disorganised, and was not expected to be prolonged. However, when the Pakistani Army cracked down upon the population, resistance grew. The Mukti Bahini became increasingly active. The Pakistani military sought to quell them, but increasing numbers of Bengali soldiers defected to this underground "Bangladesh army". These Bengali units slowly merged into the Mukti Bahini and bolstered their weaponry with supplies from India. Pakistan responded by airlifting in two infantry divisions and reorganising their forces. They also raised paramilitary forces of Razakars, Al-Badrs and Al-Shams (who were mostly members of the Muslim League and other Islamist groups), as well as other Bengalis who opposed independence, and Bihari Muslims who had settled during the time of partition.
On 17 April 1971, a provisional government was formed in Meherpur District in western Bangladesh bordering India with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was in prison in Pakistan, as President, Syed Nazrul Islam as Acting President, Tajuddin Ahmad as Prime Minister, and General Muhammad Ataul Ghani Osmani as Commander-in-Chief, Bangladesh Forces. As fighting grew between the occupation army and the Bengali Mukti Bahini, an estimated 10 million Bengalis sought refuge in the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal.
Bangladesh forces command was set up on 11 July, with Col. M. A. G. Osmani as commander-in-chief (C-in-C) with the status of Cabinet Minister, Lt. Col., Abdur Rabb as chief of Staff (COS), Group Captain A K Khandker as Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS) and Major A R Chowdhury as Assistant Chief of Staff (ACOS).
General Osmani had differences of opinion with the Indian leadership regarding the role of the Mukti Bahini in the conflict. Indian leadership initially envisioned Bengali forces to be trained into a small elite guerrilla force of 8,000 members, led by the surviving East Bengal Regiment soldiers operating in small cells around Bangladesh to facilitate the eventual Indian intervention, but with the Bangladesh government in exile, General Osmani favoured a different strategy:
- Bengali conventional forces would occupy lodgment areas inside Bangladesh and then the Bangladesh government would request international diplomatic recognition and intervention. Initially Mymensingh was picked for this operation, but Gen. Osmani later settled on Sylhet.
- Sending the maximum number to guerrillas inside Bangladesh as soon as possible with the following objectives:
- Increasing Pakistani casualties through raids and ambush.
- Cripple economic activity by hitting power stations, railway lines, storage depots and communication networks.
- Destroy Pakistan army mobility by blowing up bridges/culverts, fuel depots, trains and river crafts.
- The strategic objective was to make the Pakistanis spread their forces inside the province, so attacks could be made on isolated Pakistani detachments.
Bangladesh was divided into eleven sectors in July, each with a commander chosen from defected officers of the Pakistani army who joined the Mukti Bahini to conduct guerrilla operations and train fighters. Most of their training camps were situated near the border area and were operated with assistance from India. The 10th Sector was directly placed under the Commander in Chief (C-in-C) General M. A. G. Osmani and included the Naval Commandos and C-in-C's special force. Three brigades (11 Battalions) were raised for conventional warfare; a large guerrilla force (estimated at 100,000) was trained.
Three brigades (eight infantry battalions and three artillery batteries) were put into action between July and September. During June and July, Mukti Bahini had regrouped across the border with Indian aid through Operation Jackpot and began sending 2000–5000 guerrillas across the border, the so-called Monsoon Offensive, which for various reasons (lack of proper training, supply shortage, lack of a proper support network inside Bangladesh) failed to achieve its objectives. Bengali regular forces also attacked BOPs in Mymensingh, Comilla and Sylhet, but the results were mixed. Pakistani authorities concluded that they had successfully contained the Monsoon Offensive, which proved a near-accurate observation.
Guerrilla operations, which slackened during the training phase, picked up after August. Economic and military targets in Dacca were attacked. The major success story was Operation Jackpot, in which naval commandos mined and blew up berthed ships in Chittagong, Mongla, Narayanganj and Chandpur on 15 August 1971.
Bangladeshi conventional forces attacked border outposts. Kamalpur, Belonia and the Battle of Boyra are a few examples. 90 out of 370 BOPs fell to Bengali forces. Guerrilla attacks intensified, as did Pakistani and Razakar reprisals on civilian populations. Pakistani forces were reinforced by eight battalions from West Pakistan. The Bangladeshi independence fighters even managed to temporarily capture airstrips at Lalmonirhat and Shalutikar. Both of these were used for flying in supplies and arms from India. Pakistan sent another five battalions from West Pakistan as reinforcements.
All unprejudiced persons objectively surveying the grim events in Bangladesh since March 25 have recognised the revolt of 75 million people, a people who were forced to the conclusion that neither their life, nor their liberty, to say nothing of the possibility of the pursuit of happiness, was available to them.
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had concluded that instead of taking in millions of refugees, India would be economically better off going to war against Pakistan. As early as 28 April 1971, the Indian Cabinet had asked General Manekshaw (Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee) to "Go into East Pakistan". Hostile relations in the past between India and Pakistan added to India's decision to intervene in Pakistan's civil war. As a result, the Indian government decided to support the creation of a separate state for ethnic Bengalis by supporting the Mukti Bahini. RAW helped to organise, train and arm these insurgents. Consequently, the Mukti Bahini succeeded in harassing Pakistani military in East Pakistan, thus creating conditions conducive for a full-scale Indian military intervention in early December.
The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) launched a pre-emptive strike on Indian Air Force bases on 3 December 1971. The attack was modelled on the Israeli Air Force's Operation Focus during the Six-Day War, and intended to neutralise the Indian Air Force planes on the ground. The strike was seen by India as an open act of unprovoked aggression, which marked the official start of the Indo-Pakistani War. As a response to the attack, both India and Pakistan formally acknowledged the "existence of a state of war between the two countries" even though neither government had formally issued a declaration of war.
Three Indian corps were involved in the liberation of East Pakistan. They were supported by nearly three brigades of Mukti Bahini fighting alongside them, and many more who were fighting irregularly. That was far superior to the Pakistani army of three divisions. The Indians quickly overran the country, selectively engaging or bypassing heavily defended strongholds. Pakistani forces were unable to effectively counter the Indian attack, as they had been deployed in small units around the border to counter the guerrilla attacks by the Mukti Bahini. Unable to defend Dacca, the Pakistanis surrendered on 16 December 1971.
The Indian Air Force carried out several sorties against Pakistan, and within a week, IAF aircraft dominated the skies of East Pakistan. It achieved near-total air supremacy by the end of the first week, as the entire Pakistani air contingent in the east, PAF No.14 Squadron, was grounded because of Indian and Bangladesh airstrikes at Tejgaon, Kurmitolla, Lal Munir Hat and Shamsher Nagar. Sea Hawks from the carrier INS Vikrant also struck Chittagong, Barisal and Cox's Bazar, destroying the eastern wing of the Pakistan Navy and effectively blockading the East Pakistan ports, thereby cutting off any escape routes for the stranded Pakistani soldiers. The nascent Bangladesh Navy (comprising officers and sailors who defected from the Pakistani Navy) aided the Indians in the marine warfare, carrying out attacks, most notably Operation Jackpot.
Surrender and aftermath
On 16 December 1971, Lt. Gen Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, Chief Martial Law Administrator of East Pakistan and Commander of Pakistan Army forces located in East Pakistan signed the Instrument of Surrender. At the time of surrender only a few countries had provided diplomatic recognition to the new nation. Over 93,000 Pakistani troops surrendered to the Indian forces and Bangladesh Liberation forces, making it the largest surrender since World War II, although the Pakistani Army had fought gallantly according to Indian Army Chief Sam Manekshaw. Bangladesh sought admission in the UN with most voting in its favour, but China vetoed this as Pakistan was its key ally. The United States, also a key ally of Pakistan, was one of the last nations to accord Bangladesh recognition. To ensure a smooth transition, in 1972 the Simla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan. The treaty ensured that Pakistan recognised the independence of Bangladesh in exchange for the return of the Pakistani PoWs. India treated all the PoWs in strict accordance with the Geneva Convention, rule 1925. It released more than 93,000 Pakistani PoWs in five months. Further, as a gesture of goodwill, nearly 200 soldiers who were sought for war crimes by Bengalis were also pardoned by India. The accord also gave back 13,000 km2 (5,019 sq mi) of land that Indian troops had seized in West Pakistan during the war, though India retained a few strategic areas; most notably Kargil (which would in turn again be the focal point for a war between the two nations in 1999). This was done as a measure of promoting "lasting peace" and was acknowledged by many observers as a sign of maturity by India. However, some in India felt that the treaty had been too lenient to Bhutto, who had pleaded for leniency, arguing that the fragile democracy in Pakistan would crumble if the accord was perceived as being overly harsh by Pakistanis.
Reaction in West Pakistan to the war
Reaction to the defeat and dismemberment of half the nation was a shocking loss to top military and civilians alike. Few had expected that they would lose the formal war in under a fortnight, and there was also unsettlement over what was perceived as a meek surrender of the army in East Pakistan. Yahya Khan's dictatorship collapsed and gave way to Bhutto, who took the opportunity to rise to power. General Niazi, who surrendered along with 93,000 troops, was viewed with suspicion and contempt upon his return to Pakistan. He was shunned and branded a traitor. The war also exposed the shortcomings of Pakistan's declared strategic doctrine that the "defence of East Pakistan lay in West Pakistan".
During the war there were widespread killings and other atrocities—including the displacement of civilians in Bangladesh (East Pakistan at the time) and widespread violations of human rights began with the start of Operation Searchlight on 25 March 1971. Members of the Pakistani military and supporting Islamist militias from Jamaat e Islami killed an estimated 300,000 to 3,000,000 people and raped between 200,000 and 400,000 Bangladeshi women in a systematic campaign of genocidal rape. During the war, a fatwa in Pakistan declared that the Bengali freedom fighters were Hindus and that their women could be taken as "the booty of war".
A large section of the intellectual community of Bangladesh were murdered, mostly by the Al-Shams and Al-Badr forces, at the instruction of the Pakistani Army. Just two days before the surrender, on 14 December 1971, Pakistan Army and Razakar militia (local collaborators) picked up at least 100 physicians, professors, writers and engineers in Dacca, and murdered them, leaving the dead bodies in a mass grave.
Many mass graves have been discovered in Bangladesh. The first night of war on Bengalis, which is documented in telegrams from the American Consulate in Dacca to the United States State Department, saw indiscriminate killings of students of Dacca University and other civilians. Numerous women were tortured, raped and killed during the war; the exact numbers are not known and are a subject of debate. The widespread rape of Bangladeshi women led to birth of thousands of war babies. The Pakistan Army also kept numerous Bengali women as sex-slaves inside the Dacca Cantonment. Most of the girls were captured from Dacca University and private homes. There was significant sectarian violence not only perpetrated and encouraged by the Pakistani army, but also by Bengali nationalists against non-Bengali minorities, especially Biharis. In June 1971, Bihari representatives stated that 500,000 Biharis were killed by Bengalis. R. J. Rummel gives a prudent estimate of 150,000 killed.
On 16 December 2002, the George Washington University's National Security Archive published a collection of declassified documents, consisting mostly of communications between US embassy officials and United States Information Service centres in Dacca and India, and officials in Washington, D.C. These documents show that US officials working in diplomatic institutions within Bangladesh used the terms "selective genocide" and "genocide" (see The Blood Telegram) for information on events they had knowledge of at the time. Genocide is the term that is still used to describe the event in almost every major publication and newspaper in Bangladesh, although in Pakistan, the accusations against Pakistani forces continue to be disputed.
Following Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's declaration of independence in March 1971, a worldwide campaign was undertaken by the Provisional Government of Bangladesh to drum up political support for the independence of East Pakistan as well as humanitarian support for the Bengali people.
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi provided extensive diplomatic and political support to the Bangladesh movement. She toured many countries in a bid to create awareness of the Pakistani atrocities against Bengalis. This effort was to prove vital later during the war, in framing the world's context of the war and to justify military action by India. Also, following Pakistan's defeat, it ensured prompt recognition of the newly independent state of Bangladesh.
Though the United Nations condemned the human rights violations during and following Operation Searchlight, it failed to defuse the situation politically before the start of the war.
Following India's entry into the war, Pakistan, fearing certain defeat, made urgent appeals to the United Nations to intervene and force India to agree to a ceasefire. The UN Security Council assembled on 4 December 1971 to discuss the hostilities in South Asia. After lengthy discussions on 7 December, the United States made a resolution for "immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of troops". While supported by the majority, the USSR vetoed the resolution twice. In light of the Pakistani atrocities against Bengalis, the United Kingdom and France abstained on the resolution.
On 12 December, with Pakistan facing imminent defeat, the United States requested that the Security Council be reconvened. Pakistan's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was rushed to New York City to make the case for a resolution on the cease fire. The council continued deliberations for four days. By the time proposals were finalised, Pakistan's forces in the East had surrendered and the war had ended, making the measures merely academic. Bhutto, frustrated by the failure of the resolution and the inaction of the United Nations, ripped up his speech and left the council.
Most UN member nations were quick to recognise Bangladesh within months of its independence.
As the Bangladesh Liberation War approached the defeat of the Pakistan Army, the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan became the first state in the world to recognise the newly independent country on 6 December 1971. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first President of Bangladesh visited Bhutan to attend the coronation of Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth King of Bhutan in June 1974.
US and USSR
The US government stood by its old ally Pakistan in terms of diplomacy and military threats. US President Richard Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger feared Soviet expansion into South and Southeast Asia. Pakistan was a close ally of the People's Republic of China, with whom Nixon had been negotiating a rapprochement and which he intended to visit in February 1972. Nixon feared that an Indian invasion of West Pakistan would mean total Soviet domination of the region, and that it would seriously undermine the global position of the United States and the regional position of America's new tacit ally, China. To demonstrate to China the bona fides of the United States as an ally, and in direct violation of the US Congress-imposed sanctions on Pakistan, Nixon sent military supplies to Pakistan and routed them through Jordan and Iran, while also encouraging China to increase its arms supplies to Pakistan. The Nixon administration also ignored reports it received of the genocidal activities of the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan, most notably the Blood telegram.
Nixon denied getting involved in the situation, saying that it was an internal matter of Pakistan, but when Pakistan's defeat seemed certain, Nixon sent the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal, a move deemed by the Indians as a nuclear threat. Enterprise arrived on station on 11 December 1971. On 6 and 13 December, the Soviet Navy dispatched two groups of ships, armed with nuclear missiles, from Vladivostok; they trailed US Task Force 74 in the Indian Ocean from 18 December until 7 January 1972.
The Soviet Union supported Bangladesh and Indian armies, as well as the Mukti Bahini during the war, recognising that the independence of Bangladesh would weaken the position of its rivals—the United States and the People's Republic of China. It gave assurances to India that if a confrontation with the United States or China developed, the USSR would take countermeasures. This was enshrined in the Indo-Soviet friendship treaty signed in August 1971. The Soviets also sent a nuclear submarine to ward off the threat posed by USS Enterprise in the Indian Ocean.
At the end of the war, the Warsaw Pact countries were among the first to recognise Bangladesh. The Soviet Union accorded recognition to Bangladesh on 25 January 1972. The United States delayed recognition for some months, before according it on 8 April 1972.
As a long-standing ally of Pakistan, the People's Republic of China reacted with alarm to the evolving situation in East Pakistan and the prospect of India invading West Pakistan and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. On December 10, 1971, US President Nixon instructed Henry Kissinger to ask the Chinese to move some forces toward the frontier with India. Nixon said, "Threaten to move forces or move them, Henry, that's what they must do now." Kissinger met with Huang Hua, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, later that evening. The Chinese did not, however, respond to this encouragement, because unlike the 1962 Sino-Indian War when India was caught entirely unaware, this time the Indian Army was prepared and had deployed eight mountain divisions to the Sino-Indian border to guard against such an eventuality. China instead threw its weight behind demands for an immediate ceasefire.
When Bangladesh applied for membership to the United Nations in 1972, China vetoed their application because two United Nations resolutions regarding the repatriation of Pakistani prisoners of war and civilians had not yet been implemented. China was also among the last countries to recognise independent Bangladesh, refusing to do so until 31 August 1975.
Sri Lanka saw the partition of Pakistan as an example for themselves and feared India might use its enhanced power against them in the future.:7 Despite the left wing government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike following a neutral non-aligned foreign policy, Sri Lanka decided to help Pakistan in the war. As Pakistani aircraft could not fly over Indian territory, they would have to take a longer route around India and so they stopped at Bandaranaike Airport in Sri Lanka where they were refuelled before flying to East Pakistan.
As many Arab countries were allied with both the United States and Pakistan, it was easy for Kissinger to encourage them to participate. He sent letters to both, the King of Jordan and the King of Saudi Arabia. President Nixon gave permission for Jordan to send ten F-104s and promised to provide replacements. According to author Martin Bowman, "Libyan F-5s were reportedly deployed to Sargodha AFB, perhaps as a potential training unit to prepare Pakistani pilots for an influx of more F-5s from Saudi Arabia." Libyan dictator Gaddafi also personally directed a strongly worded letter to Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi accusing her of aggression against Pakistan, which endeared him to all Pakistanis. In addition to these three countries, an unidentified Middle Eastern ally also supplied Pakistan with Mirage IIIs. However, other countries such as Syria and Tunisia were against interfering describing it as an internal matter of Pakistan.
During the course of the conflict, Iran also stood with Pakistan politically and diplomatically.:78–79 It was concerned with the imminent break-up of Pakistan which, it feared, would have caused the state to fractionalise into small pieces, ultimately resulting in Iran's encirclement by rivals. At the beginning of the conflict, Iran had helped Pakistan by sheltering PAF's fighter jets and providing it with free fuel to take part in the conflict, in an attempt to keep Pakistan's regional integrity united.:80[verification needed] When Pakistan called for unilateral ceasefire and the surrender was announced, the Shah of Iran hastily responded by preparing the Iranian military to come up with contingency plans to forcefully invade Pakistan and annex its Balochistan province into its side of Balochistan, by any means necessary, before anybody else did it.:79[verification needed]
In popular culture
- Timeline of the Bangladesh Liberation War
- Mukti Bahini
- Awards and decorations of the Bangladesh Liberation War
- Movement demanding trial of war criminals (Bangladesh)
- Liberation War Museum
- The Concert for Bangladesh
- http://www.mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents.htm?dtl/5312/Instrument+of+Surrender+of+Pakistan+forces+in+Dacca "The Pakistan Eastern Command agree to surrender all Pakistan Armed Forces in Bangladesh to Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, General Officer Commanding-in –chief of the Indian and Bangladesh forces in the eastern theatre."
- Mansingh, Surjit. Historical Dictionary of India. Scarecrow Press. p. 225. ISBN 9780810865020.
A rapid and complete Indian victory brought about the liberation of Bangladesh in December
- V.K. Nayar (2005). Crossing the Frontiers of Conflict in the North East and Jammu and Kashmir: From Real Politik to Ideal Politik. Shipra Publications. p. 198. ISBN 9788175412187.
Though Indian victory in the India- Pakistan War 1971 and the liberation of Bangladesh refurbished India's image
- M. Maroof Raza (1996). Wars and No Peace Over Kashmir. Lancer. p. 51. ISBN 9781897829165.
key aspect for the Indian Army with its successful liberation of Bangladesh.... Indian victory in 1971, was in the words of M. J. Akbar
- "India – Pakistan War, 1971; Introduction By Tom Cooper, with Khan Syed Shaiz Ali". Acig.org. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- Pakistan & the Karakoram Highway By Owen Bennett-Jones, Lindsay Brown, John Mock, Sarina Singh, Pg 30
- p. 442 Indian Army after Independence by KC Pravel: Lancer 1987 ISBN 81-7062-014-7
- Thiranagama, Sharika; Kelly, Tobias, eds. (2012). Traitors : suspicion, intimacy, and the ethics of state-building. Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0812222371.
- "Bangladesh Islamist leader Ghulam Azam charged". BBC. 13 May 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Figures from The Fall of Dacca by Jagjit Singh Aurora in The Illustrated Weekly of India dated 23 December 1973 quoted in Indian Army after Independence by KC Pravel: Lancer 1987 ISBN 81-7062-014-7
- Khan, Shahnawaz (19 January 2005). "54 Indian PoWs of 1971 war still in Pakistan". Daily Times. Lahore. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- Figure from Pakistani Prisoners of War in India by Col S. P. Salunke p. 10 quoted in Indian Army after Independence by KC Pravel: Lancer 1987 (ISBN 81-7062-014-7)
- Orton, Anna (2010). India's Borderland Disputes: China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Epitome Books. p. 117. ISBN 9789380297156.
- Historical Dictionary of Bangladesh, Page 289
- Moss, Peter (2005). Secondary Social Studies For Pakistan. Karachi: Oxford University Press. p. 93. ISBN 9780195977042. OCLC 651126824.
- Schneider, B.; Post, J.; Kindt, M. (2009). The World's Most Threatening Terrorist Networks and Criminal Gangs. Springer. p. 57. ISBN 9780230623293.
- Kalia, Ravi (2012). Pakistan: From the Rhetoric of Democracy to the Rise of Militancy. Routledge. p. 168. ISBN 9781136516412.
- Pg 600. Schmid, Alex, ed. (2011). The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism Research. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-41157-8.
- Pg. 240 Tomsen, Peter (2011). The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers. Public Affairs. ISBN 978-1-58648-763-8.
- Roy, Dr Kaushik; Gates, Professor Scott (2014). Unconventional Warfare in South Asia: Shadow Warriors and Counterinsurgency. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 9781472405791.
- Totten, Samuel; Bartrop, Paul Robert (2008). Dictionary of Genocide: A-L. ABC-CLIO. p. 34. ISBN 9780313346422.
- Jamal, Ahmed (5–17 October 2008). "Mukti Bahini and the liberation war of Bangladesh: A review of conflicting views" (PDF). Asian Affairs. 30. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 January 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
- "Britain Proposes Indian Partition". The Leader-Post. 2 June 1947. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- "India Partition with Present Many Problems". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 8 June 1947. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- "Problems of Partition". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 June 1947. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- "Gendercide Watch: Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971". gendercide.org. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- "Bangladesh – The Zia Regime and Its Aftermath, 1977–82". countrystudies.us. Archived from the original on 13 November 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- Bose, Sarmila (8 October 2005). "Anatomy of Violence, Analysis of Civil War in East Pakistan in 1971". Economic and Political Weekly. 40 (41). Archived from the original on 1 March 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- Bass, Gary J. (29 September 2013). "Nixon and Kissinger's Forgotten Shame". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- "Civil War Rocks East Pakistan". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. 27 March 1971. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- Bose, Sarmila (8 October 2005). "Anatomy of Violence: Analysis of Civil War in East Pakistan in 1971" (PDF). Economic and Political Weekly: 4463.
- "World Refugee Day: Five human influxes that have shaped India". The Indian Express. 20 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- "The World: India and Pakistan: Over the Edge". Time. 13 December 1971. ISSN 0040-781X. Archived from the original on 23 May 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- Crisis in South Asia – A report by Senator Edward Kennedy to the Subcommittee investigating the Problem of Refugees and Their Settlement, Submitted to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, 1 November 1971, U.S. Govt. Press.pp6-7
- "Language Movement". en.banglapedia.org. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- Hornberger, Nancy H.; McKay, Sandra Lee (2010). Sociolinguistics and Language Education. Multilingual Matters. p. 158. ISBN 9781847694010.
- "SOAS Language Centre – Bengali Language Courses". soas.ac.uk.
- "International Mother Language Day". United Nations. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
- Willem van Schendel (2009). A History of Bangladesh. Cambridge University Press. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-511-99741-9.
- "Library of Congress studies". Memory.loc.gov. 1 July 1947. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- "Demons of December – Road from East Pakistan to Bangladesh". Defencejournal.com. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- Rounaq Jahan (1972). Pakistan: Failure in National Integration. Columbia University Press. pp. 166–167. ISBN 978-0-231-03625-2.
- Willem van Schendel (2009). A History of Bangladesh. Cambridge University Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-511-99741-9.
- Husain Haqqani (2010). Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military. Carnegie Endowment. pp. 19–. ISBN 978-0-87003-285-1.
- Baxter, Craig (1997). Bangladesh: From A Nation To A State. Westview Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-813-33632-9.
- Anne Noronha dos Santos (2007). Military Intervention and Secession in South Asia: The Cases of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, and Punjab. p. 24. ISBN 9780275999490.
- Willem van Schendel (2009). A History of Bangladesh. Cambridge University Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-511-99741-9.
- Willem van Schendel (2009). A History of Bangladesh. Cambridge University Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-511-99741-9.
- Craig Baxter (2018). Bangladesh: From A Nation To A State. Taylor & Francis. p. 88–. ISBN 978-0-813-33632-9.
- Pakistan: From the Rhetoric of Democracy to the Rise of Militancy. Routledge. 2012. p. 168. ISBN 9781136516412.
- Ali Riaz; Mohammad Sajjadur Rahman (2016). Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Bangladesh. Routledge. pp. 46–. ISBN 978-1-317-30877-5.
- Craig Baxter (2018). Bangladesh: From A Nation To A State. Taylor & Francis. p. xiii. ISBN 978-0-813-33632-9.
- Willem van Schendel (2009). A History of Bangladesh. Cambridge University Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-511-99741-9.
- Ishtiaq Ahmed (1998). State, Nation and Ethnicity in Contemporary South Asia. A&C Black. pp. 223–. ISBN 978-1-85567-578-0.
- Sayeed, Khalid B. (1967). The Political System of Pakistan. Houghton Mifflin. p. 61.
- Hassan, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Dr. Professor Mubashir (2000). "§Zulfikar Ali Bhutto: All Power to People! Democracy and Socialism to People!". The Mirage of Power. Oxford University, United Kingdom: Dr. Professor Mubashir Hassan, professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Engineering and Technology and the Oxford University Press. pp. 50–90. ISBN 978-0-19-579300-0.
- India Meteorological Department (1970). "Annual Summary – Storms & Depressions" (PDF). India Weather Review 1970. pp. 10–11. Retrieved 15 April 2007.
- Fritz, Hermann M.; Blount, Chris. "Thematic paper: Role of forests and trees in protecting coastal areas against cyclones". Coastal protection in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami: What role for forests and trees?. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- Schanberg, Sydney (22 November 1970). "Yahya Condedes 'Slips' In Relief". The New York Times.
- "East Pakistani Leaders Assail Yahya on Cyclone Relief". The New York Times. Reuters. 23 November 1970.
- "Copter Shortage Balks Cyclone Aid". The New York Times. 18 November 1970.
- Durdin, Tillman (11 March 1971). "Pakistanis Crisis Virtually Halts Rehabilitation Work in Cyclone Region". The New York Times. p. 2.
- Olson, Richard (21 February 2005). "A Critical Juncture Analysis, 1964–2003" (PDF). USAID. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 April 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2007.
- Salik, Siddiq, Witness To Surrender, pp 63, 228–9 ISBN 984-05-1373-7
- D' Costa, Bina (2011). Nationbuilding, Gender and War Crimes in South Asia. Routledge. p. 103. ISBN 9780415565660.
- Siddiqui, Asif (December 1997). "From Deterrence and Coercive Diplomacy to War: The 1971 Crisis in South Asia". Journal of International and Area Studies. 4 (1): 73–92. JSTOR 43106996.
- "Twentieth Century Atlas – Death Tolls". necrometrics.com. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- Bergman, David (24 April 2014). "Questioning an iconic number". The Hindu. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
- Rummel, Rudolph (1998). "Chapter 8: Statistics of Pakistan's Democide Estimates, Calculations, And Sources". Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900. p. 544. ISBN 978-3-8258-4010-5.
"...They also planned to indiscriminately murder hundreds of thousands of its Hindus and drive the rest into India. ... This despicable and cutthroat plan was outright genocide'.
- Zunaid Kazi. "History : The Bangali Genocide, 1971". Virtual Bangladesh. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- Debasish Roy Chowdhury (23 June 2005). "Indians are bastards anyway". Asia Times.
- Malik, Amita (1972). The Year of the Vulture. New Delhi: Orient Longmans. pp. 79–83. ISBN 978-0-8046-8817-8.
- "Bangladesh war: The article that changed history – Asia". BBC. 16 December 2011.
- "Encyclopædia Britannica Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- Afreen Mallick, Sadya (25 December 2009). "'Potua' and freedom's colours". The Daily Star. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
- সংযোজনস্বাধীনতার ঘোষণা: বেলাল মোহাম্মদের সাক্ষাৎকার [Declaration of Independence: Bilal Mohammad interview]. bdnews24.com (in Bengali).
- Sen Gupta, Jyoti (1974). History of freedom movement in Bangladesh, 1943–1973: some involvement. Calcutta: Naya Prokash. pp. 325–326. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- Gupta, Jyoti Sen (1974). History of freedom movement in Bangladesh, 1943–1973: some involvement. Naya Prokash. pp. 325–326.
- "History : The Declaration of Independence". Virtual Bangladesh. Archived from the original on 1 September 2014.
- M1 India, Pakistan, and the United States: Breaking with the Past By Shirin R. Tahir-Kheli ISBN 0-87609-199-0, 1997, Council on Foreign Relations. pp 37
- Pakistan Defence Journal, 1977, Vol 2, pp. 2–3
- "Bangladesh". State.gov. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- Jacob, Lt. Gen. JFR, Surrender at Dacca, pp 90–91
- Jacob, Lt. Gen. JFR, Surrender at Dacca, pp 42–44, pp 90–91
- Hassan, Moyeedul, Muldhara' 71, pp 45–46
- Islam, Major Rafiqul, A Tale of Millions, pp. 227, 235
- Shafiullah, Maj. Gen. K.M., Bangladesh at War, pp 161–163
- Islam, Major Rafiqul, A Tale of Millions, pp. 226–231
- "Bangladesh Liberation Armed Force". Liberation War Museum, Bangladesh.
- Raja, Dewan Mohammad Tasawwar, O GENERAL MY GENERAL (Life and Works of General M. A. G. Osmani), pp. 35–109, ISBN 978-984-8866-18-4
- Jacob, Lt. Gen. JFR, Surrender at Dacca, pp 44
- Hassan, Moyeedul, Muldhara 71, pp 44
- Ali, Maj. Gen. Rao Farman, How Pakistan Got Divided, pp 100
- Hassan, Moyeedul, Muldhara 71, pp 64–65
- Khan, Maj. Gen. Fazal Mukeem, Pakistan's Crisis in Leadership, p 125
- Ali, Rao Farman, When Pakistan Got Divided, p 100
- Niazi, Lt. Gen. A.A.K, The Betrayal of East Pakistan, p 96
- Roy, Mihir, K (1995). War in the Indian Ocean. 56, Gautaum Nagar, New-Delhi, 110049, India: Lancer Publisher & Distributor. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-897829-11-0.CS1 maint: location (link)
- Robi, Mir Mustak Ahmed (2008). Chetonai Ekattor. 38, Bangla Bazar (2nd Floor), Dacca-1100, Bangladesh: Zonaki Publisher. p. 69.CS1 maint: location (link)
- "Indo-Pakistani Wars". MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 1 November 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
- "1971: Making Bangladesh a reality – I". Indian Defence Review. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- "India and Pakistan: Over the Edge". Time. 13 December 1971. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- "Bangladesh: Out of War, a Nation Is Born". Time. 20 December 1971. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- Indian Army after Independence by Maj KC Praval 1993 Lancer, p. 317 ISBN 1-897829-45-0
- "Naval Commandos in Operation Jackpot". The Daily Star. 26 March 2015.
- "The 1971 war". BBC News. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- Ahmad Faruqui (2003). Rethinking the National Security of Pakistan: The Price of Strategic Myopia. Ashgate. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-7546-1497-5.
Field Marshal Manekshaw, Chief of Staff of the Indian Army in 1971, paid them the ultimate compliment when he stated that: The Pakistan Army in East Pakistan fought very gallantly. But they had no chance. They were a thousand miles away from their base. And I had eight or nine months to make my preparations [while they were being worn out in a counter insurgency war against the secessionist forces of the Mukti Bahini]. I had a superiority of almost five-to-one.
- "Situation in the Indian Subcontinent". mofa.go.jp.
- Guess who's coming to dinner Archived 24 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine Naeem Bangali
- "Bangladesh: Unfinished Justice for the crimes of 1971 – South Asia Citizens Web". Sacw.net. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- "The Simla Agreement 1972 – Story of Pakistan". Story of Pakistan. 1 June 2003. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- "India's Strategic Blunders in the 1971 War". Rediff.com. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- "Defencejournal". Defencejournal. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- "General Niazi's Failure in High Command". Ghazali.net. 21 August 2000. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- Sharlach 2000, pp. 92–93.
- Sajjad 2012, p. 225.
- White, Matthew, Death Tolls for the Major Wars and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century
- Siddiqi, Dina M. (1998). "Taslima Nasreen and Others: The Contest over Gender in Bangladesh". In Bodman, Herbert L.; Tohidi, Nayereh Esfahlani (eds.). Women in Muslim Societies: Diversity Within Unity. Lynne Rienner. pp. 208–209. ISBN 978-1-55587-578-7.
Sometime during the war, a fatwa originating in West Pakistan labeled Bengali freedom fighters 'Hindus' and declared that 'the wealth and women' to be secured by warfare with them could be treated as the booty of war. [Footnote, on p. 225:] S. A. Hossain, "Fatwa in Islam: Bangladesh Perspective," Daily Star (Dhaka), 28 December 1994, 7.
- Many of the eyewitness accounts of relations that were picked up by "Al Badr" forces describe them as Bengali men. The only survivor of the Rayerbazar killings describes the captors and killers of Bengali professionals as fellow Bengalis. See 57 Dilawar Hossain, account reproduced in Ekattorer Ghatok-dalalera ke Kothay (Muktijuddha Chetona Bikash Kendro, Dacca, 1989)
- Khan, Md. Asadullah (14 December 2005). "The loss continues to haunt us". The Daily Star (Editorial). Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- Times, Special to the New York (19 December 1971). "125 Slain in Dacca Area Believed Elite of Bengal". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
At least 125 persons, believed to be physicians, professors, writers and teachers, were found murdered today in a field outside Dacca. All the victims' hands were tied behind their backs and they had been bayoneted, garroted or shot. They were among an estimated 300 Bengali intellectuals who had been seized by West Pakistani soldiers and locally recruited supporters.
- "tribuneindia... World". The Tribune. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- Evans, Michael. "The Tilt: The U.S. and the South Asian Crisis of 1971". nsarchive.gwu.edu. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- "Bengali Wives Raped in War Are Said to Face Ostracism" (PDF). The New York Times. 8 January 1972. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
- Menen, Aubrey (23 July 1972). "The Rapes of Bangladesh" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
- Astrachan, Anthony (22 March 1972). "U.N. Asked to Aid Bengali Abortions" (PDF). The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
- "East Pakistan: Even the Skies Weep". Time. 25 October 1971. p. 43.
Refugees are still trekking into India ... telling of villages burned, residents shot, and prominent figures carried off and never heard from again. One of the more horrible revelations concerns 563 young Bengali women, some only 18, who have been held captive inside Dacca's dingy military cantonment since the first days of the fighting. Seized from Dacca University and private homes and forced into military brothels, the girls are all three to five months pregnant. The army is reported to have enlisted Bengali gynecologists to abort girls held at military installations. But for those at the Dacca cantonment it is too late for abortion.
- U.S. Consulate (Dacca) Cable, Sitrep: Army Terror Campaign Continues in Dacca; Evidence Military Faces Some Difficulties Elsewhere, 31 March 1971, Confidential, 3 pp
- Sen, Sumit (1999). "Stateless Refugees and the Right to Return: the Bihari Refugees of South Asia, Part 1" (PDF). International Journal of Refugee Law. 11 (4): 625–645. doi:10.1093/ijrl/11.4.625. Retrieved 20 October 2006.
- Gerlach, Christian (2010). Extremely Violent Societies: Mass Violence in the Twentieth-Century World. Cambridge University Press. p. 148. ISBN 9781139493512 – via Google Books.
- Rummel, R. J. (1997). Death by Government. Transaction Publishers. p. 334. ISBN 9781560009276 – via Google Book.
- U.S. Consulate in Dacca (27 March 1971), Selective genocide, Cable (PDF)
- "The Jamaat Talks Back". The Bangladesh Observer (Editorial). 30 December 2005. Archived from the original on 23 January 2007.
- "Remembering a Martyr". Star Weekend Magazine. The Daily Star. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- Lévy, Bernard-Henri (28 April 2014). "Bernard-Henri Levy: Andre Malraux's Bangladesh, Before the Radicals". The Daily Beast.
- "André Malraux: A true friend of Bangladesh". The Independent. Dhaka. 25 April 2014. Archived from the original on 11 April 2015.
- "The Recognition Story". Bangladesh Strategic and Development Forum. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
- Bhutto, Zulfiqar Ali. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's farewell speech to the United Nations Security Council.
- "Bhutan recognised Bangladesh first". Dhaka Tribune. 8 December 2014.
- Jarrod Hayes (2012). "Securitization, social identity, and democratic security: Nixon, India, and the ties that bind". International Organization. 66 (1): 63–93. doi:10.1017/S0020818311000324. JSTOR 41428946.
- Shalom, Stephen R., The Men Behind Yahya in the Indo-Pak War of 1971
- "The triumvirate of the Diplomat, the Journalist and the Artist". The Daily Star. 17 December 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
- Scott, Paul (21 December 1971). "Naval 'Show of Force' By Nixon Meant as Blunt Warning to India". Bangor Daily News.
- Anna Orton (2010). India's Borderland Disputes: China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Epitome Books. p. 116. ISBN 978-93-80297-15-6.
- Matthew White (2011). Atrocitology: Humanity's 100 Deadliest Achievements. Canongate Books. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-85786-125-2.
- Dexter Filkins (27 September 2013). "Collateral Damage:'The Blood Telegram,' by Gary J. Bass". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
- "That same fleet but new face". The Telegraph. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
- "USSR, Czechoslovakia Recognize Bangladesh". Sumter, South Carolina, US. Associated Press. 25 January 1972.
- "Nixon Hopes for Subcontinent Peace". Spartanburg, South Carolina, US. Associated Press. 9 April 1972.
- "Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XI, South Asia Crisis, 1971". US Department of State. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
- Srinath Raghavan. 1971. Harvard University Press. pp. 101–105.
- Noah Berlatsky. East Pakistan. Greenhaven Publishing. pp. 52–53.
- "China Recognizes Bangladesh". Oxnard, California, US. Associated Press. 1 September 1975.
- "China Veto Downs Bangladesh UN Entry". Montreal, Quebec, Canada. United Press International. 26 August 1972.
- "The Island". www.island.lk.
- "You are being redirected..." www.mfa.gov.lk.
- "Pak thanks Lanka for help in 1971 war". Hindustan Times. 11 June 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- Bowman, Martin (2016). Cold War Jet Combat: Air-to-Air Jet Fighter Operations 1950–1972. Pen and Sword. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-4738-7463-3.
- Nazar Abbas (26 August 2011). "Gaddafi is gone, long live Libya". THe News International. Archived from the original on 9 August 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- Ward, Richard Edmund (1992). India's Pro-Arab Policy: A Study in Continuity. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 80. ISBN 9780275940867. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- Mudiam, Prithvi Ram (1994). India and the Middle East. British Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-85043-703-1.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/.
- Sajjad, Tazreena (2012). "The Post-Genocidal Period and its Impact on Women". In Samuel Totten (ed.). Plight and Fate of Women During and Following Genocide (Reprint ed.). Transaction. pp. 219–248. ISBN 978-1412847599.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Sharlach, Lisa (2000). "Rape as Genocide: Bangladesh, the Former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda". New Political Science. 1 (22): 89–102. doi:10.1080/713687893.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Ayoob, Mohammed and Subrahmanyam, K., The Liberation War, S. Chand and Co. pvt Ltd. New Delhi, 1972.
- Ayub, Muhammad (2005). An Army, its Role and Rule: A History of the Pakistan Army from Independence to Kargil 1947–1999. Pittsburgh: RoseDog Books. ISBN 0-8059-9594-3.
- Bass, Gary J. The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide. Vintage, 2014. ISBN 0307744620
- Bhargava, G.S., Crush India or Pakistan's Death Wish, ISSD, New Delhi, 1972.
- Bhattacharyya, S. K., Genocide in East Pakistan/Bangladesh: A Horror Story, A. Ghosh Publishers, 1988.
- Blood, A. K. (2005). The cruel birth of Bangladesh: Memoirs of an American diplomat. Dhaka: University Press.
- Brownmiller, Susan: Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, Ballantine Books, 1993.
- Choudhury, G. W. (April 1972). "Bangladesh: Why It Happened". International Affairs. Royal Institute of International Affairs. 48 (2): 242–249. doi:10.2307/2613440. ISSN 0020-5850. JSTOR 2613440.
- Choudhury, G. W. (1994) [First published 1974]. The Last Days of United Pakistan. Dhaka: University Press. ISBN 978-984-05-1242-3.
- Govt. of Bangladesh, Documents of the war of Independence, Vol 01-16, Ministry of Information.
- Hitchens, Christopher, The Trials of Henry Kissinger, Verso (2001). ISBN 1-85984-631-9
- Kanjilal, Kalidas, The Perishing Humanity, Sahitya Loke, Calcutta, 1976
- Johnson, Rob, 'A Region in Turmoil' (New York and London, 2005)
- Malik, Amita, The Year of the Vulture, Orient Longmans, New Delhi, 1972.
- Matinuddin, General Kamal, Tragedy of Errors: East Pakistan Crisis, 1968–1971, Wajidalis, Lahore, Pakistan, 1994.
- Mookherjee, Nayanika, A Lot of History: Sexual Violence, Public Memories and the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, D. Phil thesis in Social Anthropology, SOAS, University of London, 2002.
- National Security Archive, The Tilt: the U.S. and the South Asian Crisis of 1971
- Quereshi, Major General Hakeem Arshad, The 1971 Indo-Pak War, A Soldiers Narrative, Oxford University Press, 2002.
- Raghavan, Srinath, 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh, Harvard Univ. Press, 2013.
- Rummel, R. J., Death By Government, Transaction Publishers, 1997.
- Salik, Siddiq, Witness to Surrender, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 1977.
- Sisson, Richard & Rose, Leo, War and secession: Pakistan, India, and the creation of Bangladesh, University of California Press (Berkeley), 1990.
- Stephen, Pierre, and Payne, Robert, Massacre, Macmillan, New York, (1973). ISBN 0-02-595240-4
- Totten, Samuel et al., eds., Century of Genocide: Eyewitness Accounts and Critical Views, Garland Reference Library, 1997
- US Department of State Office of the Historian, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XI, South Asia Crisis, 1971
- Zaheer, Hasan: The separation of East Pakistan: The rise and realisation of Bengali Muslim nationalism, Oxford University Press, 1994.
- Raja, Dewan Mohammad Tasawwar (2010). O GENERAL MY GENERAL (Life and Works of General M. A. G. Osmani). The Osmani Memorial Trust, Dacca, Bangladesh. ISBN 978-984-8866-18-4.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bangladesh Liberation War.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Bangladesh Liberation War|
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- The Liberation war of Bangladesh
- 1971 Bangladesh Genocide Archive
- Freedom In the Air
- Video, audio footage, news reports, pictures and resources from Mukto-mona
- Eyewitness Accounts: Genocide in Bangladesh
- The women of 1971. Tales of abuse and rape by the Pakistan Army
- 1971 Massacre in Bangladesh and the Fallacy in the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report, Dr. M.A. Hasan
- Women of Pakistan Apologize for War Crimes, 1996
- Study finds no cases of rape by Pakistan Army in 1971
- Sheikh Mujib wanted a confederation: US papers, by Anwar Iqbal, Dawn, 7 July 2005
- Page containing copies of the surrender documents
- Bangladesh Liberation War Picture Gallery Graphic images, viewer discretion advised
- Rashid Askari:Liberation War facts
- 1971 War: How Russia sank Nixon's gunboat diplomacy
- PM reiterated her vow to declare March 25 as Genocide Day
- Call for international recognition and observance of genocide day
- Genocide Day: As it was in March 1971
- The case for UN recognition of Bangladesh genocide