Aftermath II

Justice Hamoodur Rahman hand delivering his report into Bangladesh Liberation War failure to President Bhutto, 1974

Hamoodur Rahman Commission

The East Pakistan debacle prompted Pakistan Government, now led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, to investigate the Bangladesh atrocities and the military and political causes of the defeat. The result was the 'Hamoodur Rahman Commission' headed by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Hamoodur Rahman, ironically a Bengali. He was supported by Chief Justice Sheikh Anwarul Haq and Chief Justice Tufail Ali Abdul Rehman.

  • # Justice Hamoodur Rahman ()
  • # Justice Sheikh Anwarul Haq ()
  • # Justice Tufail Ali Abdul Rehman ()

The first report in July 1972 was regarded as 'provisional' as they were not able to interview many key people who were at that time prisoners of war in India. The inquiry was reopened in 1974 and a final report was submitted on the 23 October 1974.

Key finding of the Hamoodur Rahman Commission report were:

  • Bengali civilian casualties were 26,000 and not 3 million as claimed by Bangladesh.
  • Pakistani Army carried out senseless and wanton arson, killings in the countryside, killing of intellectuals and professionals and burying them in mass graves, killing of Bengali Officers and soldiers on the pretence of quelling their rebellion, killing East Pakistani civilian officers, businessmen and industrialists, raping a large number of East Pakistani women as a deliberate act of revenge, retaliation and torture, and deliberate killing of members of the Hindu minority.
  • Awami League 'militants' had butchered large number of West Pakistanis and Biharis.
  • Military's continued involvement in running the government after 1958 was one reason for the corruption and ineffectiveness of senior officers.
  • Because of corruption resulting from military government involvement, the lust for wine and women and greed for lands and houses, a large number of senior responsible army officers, particularly those occupying the highest positions, had lost not only their will to fight but also their professional competence.
  • General Yahya Khan permitted and even instigated the premature surrender. He should be publicly tried along with other senior military colleagues, including General A. A. K. Niazi.
  • General Yahya Khan was a womanizer and alcoholic.

Firm and proper action would not only satisfy the nation's demand for punishment where it is deserved, but would also ensure against any future recurrence of the kind of shameful conduct displayed during the 1971 war.

Conclusion of the Hamoodur Rahman Commission report

President Bhutto classified the report and later claimed it was 'lost'.

Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report was carried out under the post-1971 Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto regime, who had every stake in presenting the March negotiation breakdown (which he largely engineered) as the fault of the Bengalis.

Naeem Mohaiemen, Writer & visual artist

But in 2000, Pakistan Media aired the news that the report was actually stored at the Generals Headquarter (GHQ), the Combatant headquarter of Pakistan Army. Part of the report were leaked and published in Indian magazine India Today in August 2000 prompting Bangladesh government to request full copy of the report - 29 years after the original one was written. However, the report was finally declassified in Pakistan by President Musharraf's Military government in December 2000.

We do not plan to take action on the basis of events that took place nearly 30 years ago.

Ex-Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf (2000)

OIC summit in Lahore, Pakistan, 1974

1974 Pakistan officially recognises Bangladesh

On 22 February 1974 Pakistan formally recognised independent Bangladesh during the 2nd summit of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held in Lahore between 22-24 February 1974.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

The OIC was established on 25 September 1969 by the leaders of Muslim nations in Rabat, Morocco. The organisation attempts to be the collective voice of the Muslim world (Ummah) and attempts to safeguard the interests and ensure the progress and well-being of Muslim. It's the second largest international body after the UN and consists of 57 member states.

The 1971 OIC summit was convened to discuss the environment in the Middle East following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Arab oil embargo. Attendees included Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, Syria’s Hafez al-Asad, and the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Yasser Arafat. At the meeting, Bhutto announced Pakistan’s official recognition of Bangladesh, criticised Israeli seizure of Arab lands, and strengthened his ties with important Middle Eastern leaders.

The Islamic Summit proved to be a considerable success for Pakistan. It demonstrated to the world that Pakistan was not isolated but in fact enjoyed the friendship of many wealthy and powerful countries. This had strategic implications for Pakistan’s relationship with India and also significantly enhanced Pakistan’s prestige

,

Global recognition of Bangladesh

Initially, Bangladesh, then the second largest Muslim state in terms of population, was not invited to attend. As the group gathered in Lahore, several heads of state from the Arab world, especially King Hussain of Jordan, put pressure on the Pakistani prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, to invite Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to attend. Bhutto yielded, and Bangladesh was invited.

A seven member delegation from OIC visited Dhaka on 21 February 1974 to formally invite Sheikh Mujib to take part in the OIC at Lahore, Pakistan, on 27 February 1974. They also brought a message from Bhutto that he would formally declare Pakistan's recognition of Bangladesh at the summit. Sheikh Mujib was flown by a special aircraft from Dhaka to Lahore. He was accompanied in the summit by Kamal Hussain. During the summit Sheikh Mujib made policy statements emphasising Bangladesh’s Islamic identity and its commitment to be an active member of the OIC.

Pakistan recognised the independence of Bangladesh on 22 February 1974. Iran and Turkey, which had held back, along with Pakistan, recognised Bangladesh on the same day. After that China recognised Bangladesh.

Table: Official recognition of Bangladesh by other countries in 1972
Date Country Note
(6 Dec 1971)IndiaFirst country to recognise Bangladesh
(7 Dec 1971)BhutanSecond country to recognise Bangladesh
12 JanPoland & BulgariaFirst European countries
13 JanBurma (aka Myanmar)Bangladesh's only other neighbour (along with India)
16 JanNepal
20 JanBarbados
26 JanUSSR (now Russia) & Australia
1 FebSenegalFirst African nation
4 FebUK, West Germany & Sweden
12 FebItaly
14 FebFrance & Canada
24 FebIndonesia & MalaysiaTwo neighbouring Muslim countries in Southeast Asia
8 FebJapan
4 AprUSA
10 MayMexico, Spain & South Korea
15 MayBrazil
25 MayArgentina
8 JulyIraqFirst Arab country to recognise Bangladesh
25 SeptVatican City
(22 Feb 1974)Pakistan
(16 Aug 1975)Saudi ArabiaA day after Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's assassination
(31 Aug 1975)ChinaThe last nation to recognise Bangladesh

Source: Various

India had recognised the Bangladesh government on 6 December 1971, as the Indian army began its campaign against the Pakistan army in East Pakistan. This was significant as it made it clear to the emerging Bangladeshis and to the world that India had entered the conflict to help Bangladesh gain independence from Pakistan. Bhutan, following as it must the foreign policy actions of India, gave its recognition the following day.

A number of smaller countries, most of them within the Soviet bloc, followed suit during the month of January. The Soviet Union, which had signed a security treaty with India in 1971, recognised Bangladesh on 25 January 1972.

As Bangladesh desired to enter the Commonwealth of Nations, recognition by the United Kingdom on 2 February 1972 set that process in motion; however, Pakistan, at that time a Commonwealth member, would greatly delay Bangladesh’s recognition. Muslim states, as Pakistan’s fellow members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), delayed recognition. The ranks were broken when both Malaysia and Indonesia granted recognition on 25 February 1972, but the Arab states acted much more slowly. Iraq was the first to act on 8 July 1972.

,

After giving recognition to Bangladesh, Bhutto visited Dhaka in July 1974.

This visit was remarkable in the sense that it provided a severe blow to the worsening Indo-Bangladesh relations. Posters appeared on both sides on the way to airport resounding with slogans like 'Bangladesh-Pakistan Maitri Zindabad' and 'Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Zindabad'. Curiously many people shouted slogans against Awami League and Mujib regime. People threw garlands of shoes at Mujib’s car on his journey back to Presidents house and the car used by the Head of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka, J.N. Dixit, was vandalised and the Indian flag tampered with by the crowds as it slowed down near the road. Abusive slogans were shouted against Indian High Commission and the Government.

,

United Nations

UN (United Nations) membership

On 17 September 1974 Bangladesh became a member of the United Nations.

United Nations (UN)

The UN is an international organisation which tries to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. It's primary role is to facilitate cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace. It was established after the Second World War (1939 - 1945), on 24 October 1945, and contains 193 member states, including every internationally recognised sovereign state in the world except the Vatican City. It's main headquarter is in New York City, USA, but they also have offices in Geneva (Switzerland), Nairobi (Kenya), and Vienna (Austria).

China's first veto ever prevents Bangladesh from joining UN

With a popular democratic government installed in Bangladesh, international recognitions were quickly pouring in. However, China and Saudi Arabia, at the urging of Pakistan, did not recognize Bangladesh.

On 25 August 1972, exactly ten months after China's admission to the United Nations, the Chinese government wielded its first veto as a permanent member of the Security Council, Draft Resolution S/10771 , by preventing the admission of Bangladesh, another independent state.

The issue was particularly embarrassing for a country [China] that had itself been excluded for 22 years

,

Since it's victory over its western wing on 16 December 1971, Bangladesh had been recognised by 85 nations. But China, speaking for Pakistan, strenuously opposed Bangladesh's admission until its key ally Pakistan recognised Bangladesh on 22 February 1974. The United States, also a key ally of Pakistan, was one of the last nations to accord Bangladesh recognition.

No permanent members of the UN Security Council, except China, opposed recognition of its independence. In fact, it was only the conflict between the two Communist states - the USSR and China - that delayed the admission of Bangladesh to the UN. In order to counter the USSR's alliance with India, China, under Mao Zedong, supported Pakistan and effectively vetoed Bangladesh's admission to the UN until Pakistan agreed to recognise its independence in 1974.

Aleksandar Pavković & Peter Radan, Authors ,

United Nations in Bangladesh

The United Nations has 12 agencies in Bangladesh which are collectively referred to as 'UN country team' (UNCT). They are tasked with overseeing the implementation of UN procedures and acting as a support mechanism. UN funds and programmes are convened under the administration of a Resident Coordinator.

Their contact details are:
Address: UN Bangladesh, UN Offices, 19th Floor, IDB Bhaban, Agargaon, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka 1207, Bangladesh
Tel: 0088 02 8150088
Fax: 0088 02 8117811
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Office opening hours: 08:00 - 16:30 Sunday - Thursday

Website: http://www.un-bd.org

Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of Bangladesh to the United Nations

Bangladesh has representatives in the headquarter of the United Nations in New York, USA. They cover a wide range of the objectives of the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs - from the peaceful settlement of disputes, promotion of human rights, protection of environment, sustainable development.

The Permanent Mission, with support from other government ministries, represents Bangladesh in every negotiation that takes place at the United Nations in New York, ensuring that Bangladesh's interests and views are taken into account by UN bodies and the other member states.

At the same time the Permanent Mission tries to improve the way the UN works by strengthening the UN's capacity to deal with economic and social issues, peacekeeping and conflict prevention.

Bangladesh has been at the forefront of efforts to develop practical proposals for reform. Permanent Mission is working with the Secretary-General to promote these reforms and to ensure that the UN is a leaner and more effective organisation, to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.

,

The team is headed by an Ambassador and Permanent Representative. Their role is to engage in a constant round of meetings, promoting Bangladesh's interests and persuading others to accept the Bangladesh's stance. Sayyid Anwarul Karim, one of the high profile diplomat who defected from the Pakistani government during the Shadinota Juddho, became the first ambassador on 18 September 1974.

Their contact details are:
Address: 820 East 2nd Avenue, Diplomat Centre, Between 43rd and 44th street, 4th Floor, New York, NY-10017
Tel: 001 212 867 3434
Fax: 001 212 972 4038
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: http://www.un.int/wcm/content/site/bangladesh/

The contact details of their Geneva, Switzerland, office are::
Address: Rue de Lausanne 65, 1202 Geneva
Tel: 0041 22 906 80 20
Fax: 0041 22 738 46 16
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: http://www.bangladeshmissiongeneva.ch