Days leading upto Victory Day II
15 December - ceasefire
General Aurora became aware of Niazi's ceasefire in the morning of 15 December 1971, i.e. the day before the official surrender. This was confirmed by Sam Manekshaw in the afternoon after he received a message from General Niazi.
Then the search for the stoutest fountain pen, the thickest nib and the blackest of the black inks, was made in the Calcutta market for being used at the time of surrender.
General Manekshaw replied to Niazi saying that the cease fire would be acceptable and guaranteed the safety of Pakistani forces provided the Pakistan Army 'surrenders to my advancing troops'. He confirmed all air action would be postponed so that surrender arrangements could be made. He also gave the radio frequency on which Calcutta, the seat of Indian Eastern Command, could be contacted for co-ordination of details.
Manekshaw's message was sent to Rawalpindi. By the evening, permission for surrendering to the Indian commander was secured from the Pakistani Chief of Staff (COS), General Abdul Hamid Khan.
Suggest you accept the ceasefire on these terms as they meet your requirements... However, it will be a local arrangement between two commanders. If it conflicts with the solution being sought at the United Nations, it will be held null and void.
General Abdul Hamid Khan saying inter alia ,
The temporary ceasefire was agreed from 5 pm on 15 December till 9 am the following day . It was later extended to 3 pm, 16 December, to allow more time to finalize ceasefire arrangements. While General Hamid 'suggested' to Niazi that he accept the ceasefire terms, the latter took it as 'approval' and asked his Chief of Staff, Brigadier Baqar, to issue the necessary orders to the formations. A full-page signal commended the 'heroic fight' by the troops and asked the local commanders to contact their Indian counterparts to arrange the ceasefire. It did not say 'surrender' except in the following sentence, 'Unfortunately, it also involves the laying down of arms'.
United Nations fail in peace treaty
International efforts for a ceasefire between India and Pakistan were undertaken by the United Nations Security Council in New York. However, after three days of intense negotiation they failed to come to a resolution when the Soviet vetoed.
On 15 December 1971 evening - which was the morning of December 16 in Bangladesh - the UN Security Council met at Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s request. Two draft resolutions had been submitted to it on the same day, an (British) Anglo-French resolution that called for cessation of hostilities, the urgent conclusion of a comprehensive political settlement and the appointment by the Secretary General of a Special Representative to "lend its good offices, in particular, for the solution of the humanitarian problems".
The second resolution was introduced by Poland, part of the Soviet bloc. In it, they proposed that power will be "peacefully transferred to the representatives of the people, lawfully elected in December 1970" - namely the Awami League. It also called for immediate start to the power transfer and a halt to military actions in all the areas with an initial ceasefire starting for a period of 72 hours. This was to be followed by the withdrawal of the Pakistani armed forces to "pre-set locations" in East Pakistan "with a view to evacuation from the eastern theatre of conflict". Though it did not make clear where these forces were going to be evacuated to. It also called for the safe return of West Pakistani and East Pakistani civilians to their respected province under the supervision of the United Nations and that nobody would be subjected to repression.
As soon as within the period of 72 hours the withdrawal of the Pakistan troops and their concentration for that purpose will have started, the ceasefire will become permanent. The Indian armed forces will be withdrawn from East Pakistan. Such withdrawal of troops will begin upon consultations with the newly established authorities organised as a result of the transfer of power to the lawfully elected representatives of the people.
Bhutto tore it up in rage, and reacted angrily to what he perceived as favouritism towards Bangladesh and acceptance of India's "aggression". His speech was unforgettable - the top diplomat of a country breaking every rule in the book and delivering the most undiplomatic speech ever heard in the United Nations.
...I have not come here to accept abject surrender. If the Security Council wants me to be a party to the legalization of abject surrender, then I say that under no circumstances shall it be so...I will not take back a document of surrender from the Security Council. I will not be a party to the legalization of aggression.
...The United Nations resembles those fashion houses which hide ugly realities by draping ungainly figures in alluring apparel. The concealment of realities is common to both but the ugly realities cannot remain hidden. You do not need a Secretary-General. You need a chief executioner.
...For four days we have been deliberating here. For four days the Security Council has procrastinated. Why? Because the object was for Dacca to fall. That was the object. It was quite clear to me from the beginning. All right, so what if Dacca falls? ... So what if the whole of East Pakistan falls? So what if the whole of West Pakistan falls? So what if our state is obliterated? We will build a new Pakistan. We will build a better Pakistan. We will build a greater Pakistan.
...The Security Council has acted short-sightedly by acquiescing in these dilatory tactics. You have reached a point when we shall say, "Do what you like". If this point had not been reached we could have made a commitment. We could have said, "All right, we are prepared to do some things". Now why should we? You want us to be silenced by guns. Why should we say that we shall agree to anything? Now you decide what you like. Your decision will not be binding on us. You can decide what you like. If you had left us a margin of hope, we might have been a party to some settlement.
...But the Indians are so short-sighted. Mr. President, you referred to the "distinguished" Foreign Minister of India. What may I ask is so "distinguished" about a policy of aggression he is trying to justify. How is he distinguished when his hands are full of blood, when his heart is full of venom? But you know they do not have vision.
...I am talking as the authentic leader of the people of West Pakistan who elected me at the polls in a more impressive victory than the victory that Mujibur Rahman received in East Pakistan, and he should have taken cognizance of that. But he did not take cognizance of it. We could have opened a new page, a new chapter in our relations.
... The Pakistani nation is a brave nation. One of the greatest British generals said that the best infantry fighters in the world are the Pakistanis. We will fight. We will fight for a thousand years, if it comes to that. So do not go by momentary military victories.
...If India talks about the will of the people of East Pakistan and claims that it had to attack Pakistan in order to impose the will of the people of East Pakistan, then what has it done about Kashmir? East Pakistan is an integral part of Pakistan. Kashmir is a disputed territory. Why does India then not permit it to exercise its will?...Is that going to be the conclusion of the Security Council if it legalizes Indian aggression on the soil of Pakistan?...This is gunboat diplomacy in its worst form. In a sense, it makes the Hitlerite aggression pale into insignificance because Hitlerite aggression was not accepted by the world. If the world is going to endorse this aggression, it will mean a new and most unfortunate chapter in international relations. A new chapter may have begun in India and Pakistan, but please do not start a new dreadful chapter in international relations...
Is India going to do better for East Pakistan, for Muslim Bengal, than it has done for West Bengal? Thousands of West Bengali people sleep in the streets of Calcutta. The people of West Bengal are the poorest. India goes hat in hand to the United States for six million tons of food. If they are going to impose presidential-rule in West Bengal, in their Bengal, how can they do any better in our Bengal? They will not. And time will show that they will not...
And now in the Security Council we have been frustrated by a veto... Let us build a monument to the impotence and incapacity of the Security Council and the General Assembly. As you sow, so shall you reap. Remember that Biblical saying. Today, it is Pakistan...
...I find it disgraceful to my person and to my country to remain here a moment longer than is necessary. I am not boycotting. Impose any decision, have a treaty worse than the Treaty of Versailles, legalize aggression, legalize occupation, legalize everything that has been illegal upto 15 December 1971. I will not be a party to it. We will fight; we will go back and fight. My country beckons me. Why should I waste my time here in the Security Council? I will not be a party to the ignominious surrender of a part of my country. You can take your Security Council. Here you are. I am going.
A grim Bhutto defies UN Security Council in New York on 15 December 1971 ,
Zulfiqar Bhutto had felt from the start, leaving aside his respect for Sheikh Mujib as a compatriot, that the Awami League's 6 Dafa (Six Point) programme would divide the new and fragile country. Now, disgusted with the proceedings at the Security Council, Bhutto ripped up his papers and walked out, angry and frustrated.
UN Security Council then passed this task onto the General Assembly who's call for a ceasefire and withdrawal of Indian and Pakistan forces behind their own borders was swiftly passed by an overwhelming vote of 104 to 11.
ZAB’s move was brilliant. It was the only way for a defeated and humiliated Pakistan to retrieve what it could of its national honour.
With the war reaching it's climax, there was one last tragedy which was to scar the Bengali populace permanently - the killing of intellectuals, the 'Brain Drain'.